On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America (Paperback)

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"On the Move explains how we got here and where we're headed. It's crucial guide to the world we are creating." —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky and The Sixth Extinction


A vivid, journalistic account of how climate change will make American life as we know it unfeasible.

Humanity is on the precipice of a great climate migration, and Americans will not be spared. Tens of millions of people are likely to be driven from the places they call home. Poorer communities will be left behind, while growth will surge in the cities and regions most attractive to climate refugees. America will be changed utterly.

Abrahm Lustgarten’s On the Move is the definitive account of what this massive population shift might look like. As he shows, the United States will be rendered unrecognizable by four unstoppable forces: wildfires in the West; frequent flooding in coastal regions; extreme heat and humidity in the South; and droughts that will make farming all but impossible across much of the nation.

Reporting from the front lines of climate migration, Lustgarten explains how a pattern of shortsighted policies encouraged millions to settle in vulnerable parts of the country, and introduces us to homeowners in California, insurance customers in Florida, and ranchers in Colorado who are being forced to make the agonizing choice of when, not whether, to leave. Employing the most current climate data and predictive models, he shows how America’s population will be squeezed northward into a shrinking triangle of land stretching from Tennessee to Maine to the Great Lakes. The places many of us now call home are at risk, and On the Move reveals how we’ll deal with the consequences.

About the Author


Abrahm Lustgarten in an investigative reporter writing about climate change at ProPublica and for The New York Times. His writing also appears in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Scientific American. His ProPublica series on drought in the American West was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and his investigation into the oil industry was the subject of the Emmy-nominated Frontline documentary The Spill. His other books include Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster and China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet.

Praise For…


"[A] fascinating new look at the population changes wrought by climate crisis . . . What consistently enlivens the book are the author’s eloquent personal insights. His visits to Guatemala, especially, are astonishing as well as gripping . . . This book should fill readers’ minds with possibilities." —Jon Gertner, The New York Times Book Review

“Poignant and meticulously researched . . . A compelling call to understand, prepare for, and act on the climate crisis . . . Combining rigorous research and engaging storytelling . . . A crucial examination of the impacts—realized and projected—in our own backyards and how these changes are remaking society . . . Both a call to action and a blueprint for how to weather the coming storm.” —Miriam R. Aczel and Michàlle E. Mor Barak, Science

“An urgent examination of how the U.S. will be affected by migrations driven by global warming . . . a nuanced account of how myriad factors intertwine to fuel migration . . . [with] poignant portraits . . . Readers will be unnerved.” Publishers Weekly

"Abrahm Lustgarten has written a thoughtful, heartfelt account of how Americans will be—and, in fact, already are being—displaced by climate change. On the Move explains how we got here and where we're headed. It's crucial guide to the world we are creating." —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky and The Sixth Extinction

“The best way to understand how the climate crisis is changing America – culturally, economically, politically – is to read On the Move. It’s a brilliant, deeply researched look at the transformation that’s already underway in places like California and Michigan as people flee wildfires and extreme heat and flooding and imagine new lives in a less risky place. Along the way, Lustgarten grapples with some of the most important questions of our time: As climate impacts accelerate, who will benefit? Who will lose? Will climate-driven migration increase injustice and violence, or will it bring economic growth and a more stable democracy? On the Move captures the tumult of all this—think of it as a guidebook to the coming chaos of life in a rapidly warming world.” —Jeff Goodell, New York Times–bestselling author of The Heat Will Kill You First

"Abrahm Lustgarten has written the best account of one of the least examined but most immediate consequences of climate change. On the Move is an unflinching guidebook to our near future, aggressively reported, rigorously quantified, as terrifying as it is revelatory. Duluth, here we come." —Nathaniel Rich, author of Second Nature and Losing Earth

“Around one third of global migration is already driven by climate change. How much more will it be in the future? A lot more, as Abrahm Lustgarten carefully forecasts in this important book. Can we both relocate and future-proof ourselves at the same time? That is the great challenge humanity faces in an over-heating world.” —Parag Khanna, author of Move: Where People are Going for a Better Future



Product Details
ISBN: 9781250371836
ISBN-10: 125037183X
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: March 25th, 2025
Pages: 336
Language: English