An insightful look at the American environmental crisis and emerging solutions from the heartland to the coasts in the era of global climate change
Eminent ecologist Jeremy B. C. Jackson and award-winning journalist Steve Chapple traveled the length of the Mississippi River interviewing farmers, fishermen, scientists, and policymakers to better understand the mounting environmental problems ravaging the United States. Along their journey, which quickly expands to California, Florida, and New York, the pair uncovered surprising and profound connections between ecological systems and environmental crises across the country. Artfully weaving together independent research and engaging storytelling, Jackson and Chapple examine the looming threats from recent hurricanes and fires, industrial agriculture, river mismanagement, extreme weather events, drought, and rising sea levels that are pushing the country toward the breaking point of ecological and economic collapse.
Yet, despite these challenges, the authors provide optimistic and practical solutions for addressing these multidimensional issues to achieve greater environmental stability, human well‑being, and future economic prosperity. With a passionate call to action, they look hopefully toward emerging and achievable solutions to preserve the country’s future.
About the Author
Jeremy B. C. Jackson is an emeritus professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. Steve Chapple is an award‑winning author and writer of the national newspaper column Intellectual Capital. His previous books include Kayaking the Full Moon and, with David Brower, Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run.
"Using the latest science . . . [Jackson and Chapple] chart a practical outline of achievable solutions."—San Diego Union-Tribune
“Thought-provoking, informative, and, ultimately, hopeful.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
“Moving, poignant, and timely, Breakpoint is both a stark reminder of the urgent environmental challenges facing the planet and a hopeful call to action to those in power. This is boots-on-the-ground science at its finest."—Leonardo DiCaprio
“Breakpoint is a stunning book of ecological anthropology from consummate storytellers. The human narratives they bring to light allow us to understand and appreciate how America farmed, drilled, degraded, and overheated the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is fair, compelling, and heartbreaking, as good as anything written by Margaret Mead or Claude Levi Strauss."—Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
“Breakpoint contains important data for today’s policy-makers. Those who have heard Jeremy Jackson discuss his research at the Naval War College will understand the need to adapt quickly to the multitude of conditions changing all around us. Those who use the science to adapt will be the winners.”—Vice Admiral, USN (ret) James P. Wisecup, former director, CNO Strategic Studies Group
“In a firsthand tour de force, the Jackson and Chapple tag team reveals how America’s environmental challenges and solutions are deeply enmeshed with our daily lives. Breakpoint transforms required reading into a page turner.”—Thomas E. Lovejoy, George Mason University