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Guggenheim Fellow Selected as 2020 Shared Read Author

LSU's Ogden Honors College Chooses 'The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized' World by Jeff Goodell for the 2020 Summer Shared Read

Each year the LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College selects a shared read for incoming and current students, faculty, and staff to enjoy. The goal of the Shared Read Program is to introduce incoming students to the academic and intellectual culture of the Honors College. 

This year, the faculty have selected Jeff Goodell’s The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World as the 2020 Summer Shared Read.

Goodell paints a grim picture of what the reality of sea-level rise could be. In the book, he notes that many climate reports grossly underestimated sea-level rise, often reporting a maximum of three feet, two inches by 2100. However, newer predictions are calling for as much as six feet. He writes, “The difference between three feet of sea level rise by 2100 and six feet is the difference between a wet but livable city and a submerged city.” 

This book was selected with hopes that it will compel faculty and students to discuss issues of special concern to residents of Louisiana, particularly questions of environmental justice. Goodell has been writing about climate change for over a decade and was recently awarded a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship for his exceptional work.

Goodell has devoted much of his career to energy and environmental issues. He is an author, contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, and a senior fellow at Atlantic Council. The book was inspired by his previous stories and the real tragedies and devastation of coastal cities around the world. 

In 2017, The Water Will Come was selected as a New York Times Critics’ Top Book and one of Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction. 

“I am excited that Jeff Goodell is our Shared Read author. The Water Will Come is an important and informative contribution to our understanding of global sea-level rise and its impacts, not only in Louisiana but worldwide,” said LSU Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. 

For incoming students taking HNRS 2000—a critical analysis seminar for first-year honors students—they will discuss the issues of sea-level rise and climate change presented in the book.  They will be thinking about how climate change and sea level rise are affecting the state. They will also compare Louisiana to other states and other parts of the world in terms of those challenges and efforts to cope with them.  

The entire honors community is invited to participate in this shared learning experience, including current students, faculty, and staff. All incoming Honors College students are required to read The Water Will Come by August 24, 2020. 

Our academic year begins in the fall with Honors Convocation and an address by the author of the Shared Read text. Details regarding this year’s convocation will be announced at a later date.