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Rob Verchick at Harvard Book Store

April 21, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


April 21, 2023
7:00 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515


Octopus in the Parking Garage:
A Call for Climate Resilience

in conversation with ALAN JENKINS

The Octopus in the Parking Garage

Harvard Book Store welcomes climate law scholar ROBERT VERCHICK for a discussion of his new book Octopus in the Parking Garage: A Call for Climate Resilience. He will be joined in conversation by ALAN JENKINS—Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Octopus in the Parking Garage

One morning in Miami Beach, an unexpected guest showed up in a luxury condominium complex’s parking garage: an octopus. The image quickly went viral. But the octopus―and the combination of infrastructure quirks and climate impacts that left it stranded―is more than a funny meme. It’s a potent symbol of the disruptions that a changing climate has already brought to our doorsteps and the ways we will have to adjust.

Rob Verchick examines how we can manage the risks that we can no longer avoid, laying out our options as we face climate breakdown. Although reducing carbon dioxide emissions is essential, we need to adapt to address the damage we have already caused. Verchick explores what resilience looks like on the ground, from early humans on the savannas to today’s shop owners and city planners. He takes the reader on a journey into the field: paddling through Louisiana’s bayous, hiking in one of the last refuges of Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert, and diving off Key Largo with citizen scientists working to restore coral reefs. The book emphasizes disadvantaged communities, which bear the brunt of environmental risk, arguing that building climate resilience is a necessary step toward justice.

Engaging and accessible for nonexpert concerned citizens, The Octopus in the Parking Garage empowers readers to face the climate crisis and shows what we can do to adapt and thrive.

Praise for Octopus in the Parking Garage

“Even as we battle to lower emissions, we have already emitted so much planet-warming carbon pollution that there’s no avoiding significant climate-related damage. That means we must step up and invest to protect ourselves from rising seas, worsening storms, more frequent floods, more intense wildfires, and all the other effects of climate upheaval―all while fighting fossil fuel emissions and disinformation. Rob Verchick has created a smart roadmap for planning for the future on a changing planet.” —U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

“We are past the point where anything we do will stop climate change cold. It’s coming and it’s bringing with it everything from sea level rise to more instances of animal viruses infecting humans. We need to focus on how we prepare for the change, minimize the damage, and recover from extreme events. Rob Verchick has given us both a tour of and a tour de force on the subject. Ranging from comparative anatomy to anthropology, history, philosophy, engineering, and politics, this is a fascinating, provocative―and important―book.” —John M. Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

“The Octopus in the Parking Garage is a very important addition to the canon of climate literature―thinking ahead even further out, investigating the colossal mess we’ll have on our hands even after we’ve stopped the rise in atmospheric CO2.” —Po Bronson, coauthor of Decoding the World and NurtureShock