A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland

Mar 29, 2016

Ecologist Cornelia F. Mutel of rural Iowa City has written a string of insightful books about the Iowa environment, beginning with "Fragile Giants: a Natural History of the Loess Hills" back in 1989.   At that time, grandchildren were in her distant future.  Now that she's a grandmother, she wants to do everything she can to make sure there will be a healthy earth for her grandkids' lives.

Mutel's new book from the University of Iowa Press is "A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from Midwestern Woodland."  The woodland, it turns out, is her and husband Robert's fabulous acreage in the Coralville Reservoir area.  She told Charity: "I realized that climate change is the elephant in the bathtub--if we don't get ahead of it everything is lost." 

Mutel spends lots of time with her grandchildren in her lovely woods, teaching them plant names and explaining climate change isn't just about melting arctic ice and starving polar bears, but it's the weakening of the web of life in our own backyards. 

Why another book on climate change"?  Mutel told Charity:  "What I wanted to do was to write a book that would appeal to the lay reader.  I wanted something that would hit you on the head, but also in the belly...and take you to a point to where we are not just thinking but also ACTING on climate change."  Is she optimistic that there will be a healthy planet for her grandkids?  Yes, she says, "Nature is always ready to come back if we give it half a chance."