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Stephen Robert Miller with Marcus Harrison Green

Climate Chronicles — The Delusion of Controlling Nature

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Thursday, April 11
7:30 pm PDT
$5 – $25 Sliding Scale
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The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Note: Town Hall events are approximately 75 minutes long.

Book cover: A circular cutout of a wall shows a tsunami wave with lighting and storm clouds. Title above the cutout says "Over the Seawll: Tsunamis, Cyclones, Drought, and the Delusion of Controlling Nature."
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Over the Seawall: Tsunamis, Cyclones, Drought, and the Delusion of Controlling Nature

Ada’s Technical Books

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This event is part of the Town Green Series, engaging Seattle on environmental issues — local and global.

View this season’s Town Green events below.

Headshots of Stephen Robert Miller (with fair skin and brown facial hair) and Marcus Harrison Green (with dark skin and buzz-cut hair)

Erratic weather, blistering drought, rising seas, and ecosystem collapse now affect every inch of the globe. Increasingly, we no longer look to stop climate change, choosing instead to adapt to it.

Academics call it maladaptation; simply, it’s about solutions that backfire. In his new book, Over the Seawall, Stephen Robert Miller tells us the stories behind these unintended consequences and the fixes that can do more harm than good. From seawalls in coastal Japan to the reengineered waters in the Ganges River Delta, to the artificial ribbon of water supporting both farms and urban centers in arid Arizona, Miller traces the histories of engineering marvels that were once deemed too smart and too big to fail.

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In each story, Miller takes us into the land and culture, seeking out locals and experts to better understand how complicated, grandiose schemes led instead to failure, and to find answers to the technological holes we’ve dug ourselves into; urging us to take a hard look at the fortifications we build and how they’ve fared in the past. Miller embraces humanity’s penchant for problem-solving but argues that if we are to adapt successfully to climate change, we must recognize that working with nature is not surrender but the only way to assure a secure future.

Stephen Robert Miller is an award-winning independent journalist, author, and editor who covers climate change, environmental conservation and agriculture from his home in rural Colorado. His work appears in National GeographicDiscover MagazineAudubonThe Guardian, and many others. Stephen was a 2018-2019 Ted Scripps Fellow. His new book, Over the Seawall, takes a global perspective on natural hazards and the challenges of adaptation to climate change. He has reported from across the U.S. and Canada, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic. He graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Arizona and was previously senior editor of environmental justice for YES! Magazine, as well as editor of a Seattle-based weekly newspaper.

Marcus Harrison Green is a columnist for The Seattle Times. A long-time Seattle native, he is the founder of the South Seattle Emerald, which focuses on telling the stories of South Seattle and its residents.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

This is part of the Town Green Series

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