Ponce de Leon Alejandro

By Christina Gerhardt. University of California Press, 2023.

Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean is a groundbreaking work that invites readers to rethink the challenges faced by low-lying islands amid the devastating impacts of climate change. Christina Gerhardt, a distinguished professor and scholar, masterfully weaves environmental studies, environmental humanities, geography, cartography, and creative nonfiction to reveal the rich histories and cultures of frontline communities, while highlighting diverse actions undertaken to protect and preserve their islands.

Attending to the voices of Indigenous and Black communities, Gerhardt underscores the environmental injustices disproportionately affecting those least responsible for global warming. The book examines a range of strategies in the fight against climate change, from hard engineering solutions such as sea walls and raising islands to soft engineering approaches like restoring coral and oyster reefs and safeguarding mangrove forests and wetlands. Embodying a spirit of hope and resilience, the book asserts, “We are not drowning! We are fighting!”

Named “One of the Best Science Books of 2023” by the New Scientist, Christina Gerhardt’s Sea Change is an essential read that challenges our perspectives on climate change and inspires us to acknowledge the urgency of addressing the environmental challenges faced by island nations.

Christina Gerhardt is Associate Professor and founder of the Environmental Humanities initiative at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and permanent Senior Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught previously. She has been Senior Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany; Barron Professor of Environment and the Humanities at the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University; and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and Harvard University. She is Editor-in-Chief of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE)’s quarterly journal published by Oxford University Press. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of the PMLA: Publication of the Modern Languages Association, the Journal of Environmental Media and Media and the Environment. Professor Gerhardt has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Newberry Library, and held visiting appointments at institutions such as Harvard University, the Free University Berlin, and Columbia University.