“There’s a simple reason birds are a great entry into understanding climate change,” Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen’s founder and chief executive, says: “’Birds are beautiful.” But they also reveal the geographic specificity of climate impacts. “My whole fascination is with traces left in the world by other parts of the world,” he told me. “A bird is like a vector you can trace.” They are, like climate change itself, physical instruction in the fact that we live on a planet. After all, the migratory birds chirping in your yard right now may have seen more of the Earth than you have. And so climate change, a malady of the entire planet, will harm birds as well.
“Climate change is notoriously hard to communicate, since it will alter the Earth in a million different ways all at once. “Survival by Degrees” does an unusually good job of revealing how one category of those changes will look in every place in North America. There’s nothing else like it online.”