The Flood: Writing about rising seas from the London Review of Books

The world has always been ending. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to the dire warnings of the latest IPCC report, the prospect of our annihilation has always been with us, and the warning signs are often written in water. The ocean has always reminded us of unfathomable deeps and forces beyond our control, but in the past few decades, the prospect of apocalypse has taken a strange new turn. Myth has collided with science and left us reeling. In the forty-year span since the LRB was founded, we have lost half of the ocean’s vertebrates. Fisheries will fail. Coral reefs will disappear. Huge swaths of ocean will become ‘dead zones’. This is not doomsday ranting; this future has arrived. How are we to think about all this? What are we to do? The pieces collected in The Flood sketch a chronology of our dawning awareness of this ongoing catastrophe.