Jeff Goodell

Investigative journalist and Rolling Stone contributor Jeff Goodell, author of “The Waters Will Rise: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Reshaping of the Civilized World,” spoke in Des Moines July 20 at the State Historical Building of Iowa.

Goodell has written hundreds of articles for Rolling Stone since becoming a contributing editor for the magazine in 1995. While his bylines have topped stories about technology, politics, culture and more, Goodell has most often turned his attention to energy and the environment. He won the Grantham Prize in 2011 for his book “How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate.” Goodell’s knack for explaining complicated science with compelling stories has made him a frequent commentator on NPR, CNN, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and many other outlets.

His latest book, about rising sea levels, was inspired by his reporting on Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and a Rolling Stone article called “Goodbye, Miami,” about the Florida city’s struggle to stay above water. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times included the book in their 2017 lists of top nonfiction titles, and Goodell plans to sign paperback copies for purchase at the July 20 lecture, courtesy of Beaverdale Books.

Prior to his talk, State Historian Laura Sadowsky of the State Historical Society of Iowa shared a few stories about how Des Moines has grown up on the banks of two occasionally unruly rivers. As with most Tomorrow Plan Speakers Series events, the brief historical preview offered context for the present and future.

The Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series is an implementation strategy of The Tomorrow Plan, a plan for the sustainable development of Greater Des Moines, as a resource to community leaders to learn best practices from some of the country’s leading thinkers. The Speaker Series touches on a wide range of topics related to creating a high quality of life in metropolitan areas, including the sharing economy, the effects of transportation and housing on public health, walkability, water quality, public transit and more.

For more information, including the presentations from past speakers, please visit