Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson, All We Can Save

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson (eds.). All We Can Save. Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. New York: One World, 2020

All We Can Save features chapters, poems and art by dozens of American women engaged in the climate movement. They come from all works of life: scientists, activists, innovators, journalists, teachers, farmers and lawyers and they represent different generations and races. All, nonetheless, have a common goal: to reshape society before it is too late. All We Can Save is dedicated to ‘our mothers, our sisters, and Earth’.

The volume emphasises that we must listen to the voices of the natural world and understand its own unique wisdom. Our goal must be to live harmoniously with Mother Earth. To do so, we must understand and respect the connectedness of all aspects of life on Earth. We must be prepared to learn from the past, respect ancient wisdom, and stand up for the Earth when it is under attack.

The title of the collection is highly significant: ‘All’ refers to ‘the whole – each and every, nothing left out’. ‘All’ also refers to the level of commitment necessary to save the Earth. As the editors write, ‘every increasingly unnatural disaster, every species, every life – all of it matters.

‘Can’ is all about dogged determination. ‘Our task and our opportunity is to face a seemingly impossible challenge and act in the service of what is possible.’ There has been too much written about what cannot be done. The editors wish instead to focus on those ‘who refuse to give in to destruction’: it is they who must and will rise again.

‘We’ refers both to the collective and to collaboration. Everyone must care and everyone must take action. ‘We’ also refers to justice. It is essential that the community acts together.

‘Save’ relates both to the possibility of protecting ‘nature, ecosystems, species and one another’ and to our duty to do so. This is a massive project, the editors admit, requiring us to remove barriers to solutions and ensure that they are implemented. At the same time, we must work against the sources of the present crisis: fossil fuels, ‘subsidies and loopholes, as well as the destruction of ecosystems.’ All these measures result in the creation of what the editors call ‘ferocious love – for one another, for Earth, for all beings, for justice, for a life-giving future.’

All We Can Save is a must for all those who care about the environment and coming generations.

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