Leslie Davenport, All We Can Save Under the Sun

Leslie Davenport. All We can Save Under the Sun. Washington DV: Magination Press (American Psychological Association), 2021

All We Can Save Under the Sun is for children and young adults who are curious about the causes and effects of climate change. It is also concerned with the emotional wellbeing of this vulnerable group. Each of the chapters is accompanied by practical suggestions to help readers understand what is happening to the planet and how to deal with the associated stress. The aim of the book is to ‘look back to the origins of the Earth and the evolution of life up to the present day’ (1) with the goal of building up inner resiliency / emotional strength.

Davenport emphasises that everything is connected: a theme which also runs through my own forthcoming trilogy, ‘Katja’s World Game’. The knowledge we need to help the planet survive is old knowledge – not new, Davenport emphasises. To demonstrate the power and wisdom of old knowledge, she discusses the eco-wise traditions of indigenous people, who believe that ‘Humanity has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect’ (75).

The five chapters, and their detailed illustrations, follow five main themes: how we know what we know; the Earth is heating up; everything is connected; practising eco-justice; and making a healthier world together.

The chapters are designed to reduce rather psychological stress about climate change. Davenport describes in detail ways in which young people can learn to be critical of social media and the climate messages sometimes posted there. The guidelines are simple but clear. The illustration that accompanies the final chapter, ‘Making a Healthier World Together’, for example, is replete with challenging practical activities, including writing a ‘time-travel’ entry envisaging what life will be like in twenty years’ time, and ‘making a mindfulness jar’. Like all the activities in All We Can Save Under the Sun, the goal is to help young people keep their ‘mind and emotions clear and strong for the challenges ahead’ (129). Davenport recommends that the reader practices the exercises regularly, and is always kind and compassionate to herself.

All We Can Save Under the Sun is a new and powerful way of helping people to understand the causes and effects of climate change, demonstrating how to protect oneself while at the same time working together for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable planet.

I recommend this book for junior- and secondary-school pupils, and for teachers who are looking for practical activities and / or research on climate change. Each chapter is accompanied by a comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography providing additional information and advice.

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