Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health -- and how we can save ourselves

Overview

Beyond images of emaciated polar bears and drought-cracked lakes, there remains a major part of climate change?s impact that the media has neglected: how our health will suffer from higher temperatures and extreme weather. From spiraling rates of asthma and allergies and spikes in heatstroke-related deaths to swarms of invasive insects carrying diseases like dengue or West Nile and increases in heart and lung disease and cancer, the effect of rising temperatures on human health will be far-reaching, and is more ...

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Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health--and How We Can Save Ourselves

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Overview

Beyond images of emaciated polar bears and drought-cracked lakes, there remains a major part of climate change’s impact that the media has neglected: how our health will suffer from higher temperatures and extreme weather. From spiraling rates of asthma and allergies and spikes in heatstroke-related deaths to swarms of invasive insects carrying diseases like dengue or West Nile and increases in heart and lung disease and cancer, the effect of rising temperatures on human health will be far-reaching, and is more imminent than we think.

Award-winning journalist Linda Marsa blends compelling narrative with cutting-edge science to explore the changes in Earth’s increasingly fragile support system and provide a blueprint—a “medical Manhattan Project”—detailing what we need to do to protect ourselves from this imminent medical meltdown. In the tradition of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Marsa sounds the alarm on a subject that has largely been ignored by governments and policy makers, and persuasively argues why preparedness for the health effects of climate change is the most critical issue affecting our survival in the coming century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thus far, most nations don’t appear to have hit the threshold of alarm about climate change needed to convince policymakers to offer more than platitudes and empty promises. In her latest book, investigative journalist Marsa (Prescription for Profits: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Bankrolled the Unholy Marriage Between Science and Business), a contributing editor at Discover, drives home the personal implications of global warming, hoping to inspire change by showing how global warming affects health, resulting in rising rates of asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease, and cancer. Marsa focuses on the primary dangers connected to warming: the poleward creep of tropical disease ranges, declining air quality, heat stroke, increased frequency of extreme weather, and the risk of agricultural collapse. The author draws from real-world examples, including the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and more recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, to illustrate the hazardous world we are headed toward. All is not doom and gloom, however, as the author also supplies suggestions for mitigating actions that governments could take. Although at times Marsa seems to sail too close to the wind in her drive to inspire action, the rigor of the anthropogenic climate-change model seems unassailable to those in the reality-based community and the need for concrete action undeniable. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"When temperatures rise, diseases thrive. Marsa, a contributing editor at Discover magazine, warns that global warming is ushering in a new era of medical crises for which we’re ill-prepared....Crammed with statistics, interviews and gruesome but fun facts, 'Fevered' make its case with plenty of hard evidence."—The New York Times Book Review

"Linda Marsa’s Fevered is a brilliant look at where we’re headed with climate change, and how we might lessen the damage, with changes that are well within the bounds of the possible. By examining disasters like the Dust Bowl, and building upon successes, like Vancouver and other livable communities, she makes the case that our fate is not sealed. We can make a change, if we act today."—Ed Begley, Jr.

"There's nothing abstract about climate change: As Linda Marsa makes clear, it's already reshaping the world in which each of us lives, and not in healthy ways!"—Bill McKibben, author of Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist and founder of 350.org, an international climate campaign

"As we’ve seen in communities across the nation, climate disruption is costing us our homes, our health, and our lives. In her book, Linda Marsa rightfully acknowledges the critical need to set limits on pollution and invest in greener infrastructure. But she also presciently envisions what a resilient public health system could look like—offering a hopeful vision of preparedness for the future."—Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council

"Linda Marsa uncovers what may be the most important, but largely overlooked, impact of climate disruption—the potential for profound effects on our health and that of our children."—Dr. James Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

"By turns disturbing and inspiring, Marsa tells two compelling stories in Fevered. She shows us that climate disruption has already begun to damage our health. She also makes clear that it's not too late to reshape our future by adopting clean energy and embracing smart conservation practices that are already bearing fruit in unlikely places."—Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club

"A must-read for anyone who cares about the future and environmental justice, Fevered combines riveting real-life stories with cutting-edge science to paint an alarming picture of the disastrous toll climate change is already taking on the average American. Doing nothing is not an option, and Marsa draws our attention to innovative solutions that can put our country on a path to sustainability for both our health and environment."—Maxine Waters, US Congresswoman  

"Another well-written and persuasive wake-up call for serious action to be taken against the consequences of global warming."—Kirkus

"Fevered is a timely reminder that society appears largely to be failing to prepare our health and public health systems for the risks associated with continuing climate change. In it, Marsa calls for American leadership to establish a worldwide “medical Marshall plan” against rising temperatures she finds will have a devastating effect on human health. Marsa’s engaging style and her liking for meticulous research help build a well-written, compelling narrative."—Lisa Palmer, The Yale Forum on Climate Change

"Linda Marsa lays out one of the most under-appreciated consequences of climate change — the real and present  threat to public health — with a powerful combination of vivid narrative and sound science that's unlike anything I've ever read. She makes it scarily clear that climate change is harming real people, in real places, right now."—Michael D. Lemonick, Writer at Large, Climate Central and lead author of Global Weirdness.

"Marsa nimbly navigates the topic of global warming and confirms the connection between climate change and disease. A megadose of preventive medicine for our planet is needed. Sobering, informative, and essential reading"—Booklist

"For decades, the science on climate change has been compelling and urgent. This book is a clarion call to stop the distractions of disputing the science when the personal and ecological consequences are so devastating.  Marsa calls for immediate action and I hope it galvanizes good old American know how."—Dr. David Susuki

Kirkus Reviews
Discover contributing editor Marsa (Prescription for Profits: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Bankrolled the Unholy Alliance Between Science and Business, 1997) calls for "swift and decisive action" under American leadership to launch a worldwide "medical Marshall Plan." The author pulls together evidence to support her proposal to create a medical and public health infrastructure adequate to blunt the impact of global warming. She has consulted in-depth with experts in the areas of epidemiology, public health and disease control from the Centers for Disease Control, the British Medical Association publication The Lancet, and the Emerging Infectious Disease Program organized by Duke University and the National University of Singapore, among others. Marsa pays special attention to the re-emergence of diseases thought to have been eradicated or controlled within the U.S. and the emergence of new virus-borne diseases arising especially from Asia. The comeback of Dengue fever in the Brownsville/Matamoros area of Texas and the persistence of diseases like fungus-borne Arizona Valley Fever and the rodent-transmitted hantavirus also indicate regression. In Asia, supplies of clean drinking water, sewer and sanitation services, trash removal and electricity supplies are inadequate or not available, situations similar to that in many of the colonias in the border areas of Texas. The modern speed of worldwide transmission compounds the problem. Marsa also examines earlier models of New Deal civil engineering programs in the West and Southwest to control and supply water and power and the Dutch record in successfully organizing the construction of facilities to resist encroachment from the oceans. These complement her concern with the availability of medical and health infrastructures. Another well-written and persuasive wake-up call for serious action to be taken against the consequences of global warming.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605292014
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 703,315
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Marsa is an investigative journalist and contributing editor at Discover who has covered medicine, health and science for more than two decades. A former Los Angeles Times reporter and author of Prescription for Profits: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Bankrolled the Unholy Marriage Between Science and Industry, her work was selected for the anthology The Best American Science Writing, 2012. She lives in Los Angeles.

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