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Scripps Prof Describes US At An Environmental Breaking Point

Scripps Prof Describes U.S. At An Environmental Breaking Point


Jeremy Jackson, co-author, "Breakpoint"


Photo credit: Yale University Press

The cover of "Breakpoint" by Jeremy Jackson and Steve Chapple.

Climate scientists often need to get out of their labs and into the world to collect data on everything from carbon dioxide levels to ocean temperatures. Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor emeritus Jeremy Jackson went a step further by taking a road trip to get first-hand accounts of how people from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico were coping with a changing climate.

Jackson wrote about the journey in the new book, "Breakpoint: Reckoning with America's Environmental Crises," co-authored by journalist Steve Chapple.

"Pollution from excess nutrients was threatening the (Midwest's) drinking water and creating dead zones in Lake Erie even more threatening than the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico," they wrote, referring to areas in the ocean with so little oxygen that marine life either suffocates or moves away. "The entire Mississippi Delta seemed on the verge of disappearing beneath our feet and with it the great mashes' centuries-old buffering protection for New Orleans and the entire Louisiana coast."

Jackson and Chapple were finishing the book last year as three major hurricanes hit the U.S. and destructive wildfires consumed parts of California. Those natural disasters were exacerbated by climate change, they wrote, and underscored the need for more solutions to contain future crises.

Jackson joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on his research.

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