Share your thoughts on books or articles on climate change, and how they have impacted you.
All We Can Save: Truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis, 2020. (Johnson, A.E. & Wilkinson, K.K., eds.). One World: New York.
All We Can Save is a diverse collection of contributions about the climate crisis, written by women for everyone. All of these contributors embody a sense of courage to meaningfully address the challenges of a warming world, despite political inertia, corporate malfeasance, and personal fear. Mary Heglar writes: “But the community that prides itself on its scientific nuance can learn to embrace emotional nuance. It is absolutely possible to prepare for the disasters already, terrifyingly, upon us while also doing our damnedest to quit baking more in. We can acknowledge the storm of emotions that comes with watching our world burn. We can process those emotions and pick ourselves up to put the blaze out as best we can” (p.282).
One of the strengths of these writings is the sensitivity to intersectional issues relating to environmental degradation, best articulated by the aspirations of the Green New Deal which not only demands ‘secure clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment’ but relates it to the need to ‘to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities, including Indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth.’
In this vein, Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasse observes that the “overall lack of diversity within the patriarchal colonial paradigm has had a suffocating impact on creative intelligence and a divisive impact on society” (p.23). This monoculture of imagination tends to have a preponderance of techno-solutionism, like uploading our brains into The Singularity or establishing life afresh on another planet. But Mika McKinnon says, Earth is easy mode: “If we can’t maintain habitability here, we’re utterly f**ked trying to pull off long-term survival anywhere else” (p.141). In other words, we have to show a greater commitment to preserving a stable climate on our own planet.
There is also a general consensus in this collection that the climate crisis has not been caused by ‘mankind’, but by a small and identifiable group of individuals often referred to as the 1%. Rhiana Gunn-Wright argues that “fighting against a warming world depends on the ability to reroute power away from the 1 percent and back to the 99 percent and the political and economic institutions designed to serve them. If we are going to become an economy that serves people and the planet, then the people - all of the people - need power, and we need it now” (p.98).
But the main message for me was that people must get engaged – any way they can. Abigail Dillen writes: “We underestimate the power of contribution - of acting within our own sphere of influence to tackle the piece of the problem that is right in front of us” (p.58). Emily N. Johnston similarly says that “In any moment, we can choose to show up” (p.260).
Indeed, everyone is invited, it is a matter of showing up. No effort is too small.