Sea is Rising and So Are We: A Climate Justice Handbook is an invitation to get involved in the movement to build a just and sustainable world in the face of the most urgent challenge our species has ever faced. By explaining the entrenched forces that are preventing rapid action, it helps you understand the nature of the political reality we are facing and arms you with the tools you need to overcome them. The book offers background information on the roots of the crisis and the many rapidly expanding solutions that are being implemented all around the world. It explains how to engage in productive messaging that will pull others into the climate justice movement, what you need to know to help build a successful movement, and the policy changes needed to build a world with climate justice. It also explores the personal side, including how engaging in the movement can be good for your mental health. It ends with advice on how you can find the place where you can be the most effective and where you can build climate action into your life in ways that are deeply rewarding.
Cynthia Kaufman is the director of the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action at De Anza College, where she runs and teaches in a community organizer training program. She is the author of three books on social change: Challenging Power: Democracy and Accountability in a Fractured World (Bloomsbury, 2020); Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change (2nd ed. PM Press, 2016); and Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope (Lexington Books, 2012). She has been active in a wide variety of social justice movements including Central American solidarity, union organizing, police accountability, and most recently tenants’ right and climate change. She publishes on social justice in Common Dreams.
Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change and has appeared in twenty-four languages. He’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. He is the author of Falter, Oil and Honey, Eaarth, Deep Economy, and numerous others.
"The Sea Is Rising and So Are We is a rare kind of book, at once a primer for activists and an astute commentary on a set of critical topics that even a seasoned climate stalwart could benefit from. It takes on some really tough questions – transformational change, how to talk about the emergency, the need for a specifically global politics of climate justice – and it does in a manner that is both simple and sophisticated. It's not an easy balance, but Kaufman pulls it off."
– Tom Athanasiou, author of Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming
"Cynthia Kaufman's The Sea Is Rising and So Are We is a valuable overview of where we as a species are in the existential fight to prevent catastrophic climate disruption. It covers a lot, from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment of our situation to the need for a personally supportive movement culture to sustain our climate activism. It is an accessible, up-to-date resource both for those who have been in the climate fight for decades and those who know they need to do so but haven't yet figured out how."
– Ted Glick, longtime climate organizer and author of Burglar for Peace
"In The Sea Is Rising and So Are We Cynthia Kaufman has provided us with a vital manual for confronting the climate crisis and its root causes. Kaufman offers compelling analysis, a comprehensive mapping of the political landscape, and practical guidance for action – all in a straightforward and accessible manner. Most importantly, she offers hope."
– Tony Roshan Samara, Program Director of Land Use and Housing at Urban Habitat