The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move
A prize-winning journalist upends our centuries-long assumptions about migration through science, history, and reporting--predicting its lifesaving power in the face of climate change.The news today is full of stories of dislocated people on the move. Wild species, too, are escaping warming seas and desiccated lands, creeping, swimming, and flying in a mass exodus from their past habitats. News media presents this scrambling of the planet's migration patterns as unprecedented, provoking fears of the spread of disease and conflict and waves of anxiety across the Western world. On both sides of the Atlantic, experts issue alarmed predictions of millions of invading aliens, unstoppable as an advancing tsunami, and countries respond by electing anti-immigration leaders who slam closed borders that were historically porous. But the science and history of migration in animals, plants, and humans tell a different story. Far from being a disruptive behavior to be quelled at any cost, migration is an ancient and lifesaving response to environmental change, a biological imperative as necessary as breathing. Climate changes triggered the first human migrations out of Africa. Falling sea levels allowed our passage across the Bering Sea. Unhampered by barbed wire, migration allowed our ancestors to people the planet, catapulting us into the highest reaches of the Himalayan mountains and the most remote islands of the Pacific, creating and disseminating the biological, cultural, and social diversity that ecosystems and societies depend upon. In other words, migration is not the crisis--it is the solution. Conclusively tracking the history of misinformation from the 18th century through today's anti-immigration policies, The Next Great Migration makes the case for a future in which migration is not a source of fear, but of hope.
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About the Author
"Rich with eclectic research and on-the-ground reporting, Sonia Shah's book presents us with a dazzlingly original picture of our relentlessly mobile species. At a moment when migrants face walls of hatred, this is a story threaded with joy and inspiration." --Naomi Klein, author of ON FIRE: THE BURNING CASE FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL"Humans have always been a migratory species, and so are most other animals. In this striking look at a planet on the move, Sonia Shah provides a bold new way of looking at the ecological and political turbulence of our time--a vision that is as full of hope as it is of understanding." --Charles Mann, New York Times bestselling author of 1491 "In vivid detail, The Next Great Migration unfolds a conception of the relationship between life and place characterized by dynamic, almost continuous, processes of change. At once stunning in scope and intimate in its narrative unfolding, The Next Great Migration is a beacon for all those who strive to envision a future affected by climate change--a future in which migration is not a crisis but a solution." --Anna J. Secor, Durham University Professor of Geography and editor, CULTURAL GEOGRAPHIES "An incisive examination of migration, which she considers a phenomenon both biological and cultural...A scientifically sophisticated, well-considered contribution to the literature of movement and environmental change." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Science journalist Sonia Shah . . . describes the obstacles faced by migrants throughout the world-Africans fleeing famine and crossing the Mediterranean into Europe; Tibetans navigating the Himalayas to escape Chinese persecution-and imagines how continued migration will shape the future." --Publishers Weekly, Earth Day Feature "Meticulously researched, yet highly readable, this work presents a nuanced counterargument to the idea of a static world where each being belongs to a certain place . . . An interesting read that deals with a topic that is current and important to all. It will present a thoughtful challenge to many readers." --Library Journal "Chilling . . . the most provocative--and sci-fi--part of Ms. Shah's book is not about the ways humans have altered the evolution of pandemics. It's about the ways pandemics have altered the evolution of humans." --New York Times on PANDEMIC "Could hardly be more timely . . . a lively, rigorously researched and highly informative read." --Wall Street Journal on PANDEMIC "Grounded, bracingly intelligent . . . lucidly layers history into a tour of transmission hotspots, from incubators of 'spillover' animal-borne illnesses such as China's wild-animal markets to globalized transport and hyperdense cities." --Nature on PANDEMIC