A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States
© 2017 David Goodrich
A Hole in the Wind features a retired climate scientist touring from Delaware to to Oregon, speaking with people along the way about how climate change is impacting their lives. Having studied climate and ocean dynamics for decades, Goodrich was disappointed at how politicized the subject became, and hoped to communicate the reality better from his informal, two-wheeled vantage point. Goodrich also connects some of his prior bike tours across parts of the US to the narrative, particularly when they’re relevant to his mission, as when he compares two fire seasons across the same stretch of road. Moving from Delaware to Oregon, Goodrich observes highly specific expressions of environmental impact: eroding barrier islands in the east, poisoned groundwater in the midwest, dying trees from beetles that short winters do not kill, declining aquifers, and the longer, more severe fire seasons in the west. Although this train of disasters might make the book sound gloomy, most of its content is based on Goodrich’s bicycle journey, particularly the friendly people he meets along the way, and the challenges inherent in biking thousands of miles, through rain and hail and fire season. (Only wind deters Goodrich: the flatlands of the American interior proved more challenging than Pennsylvania hill country, as headwinds stopped him in his tracks.) I think Goodrich is on the right track on communicating science; stories of how ordinary people’s lives are being challenged and stressed — not from potential threats but from a visibly deteriorating environment — work better to drive the point home.