Climate bundle

£20.00

LIMITED TIME ONLY

For the duration of COP26, you can purchase our climate bundle at a discounted price of £20.

Contains Tomorrow Is Too Late by Grace Maddrell and The Best of Times, The Worst of Timesby Paul Behrens.

 

SKU: 9781911648321-BUNDLE Category:

COP26 is finally upon us. The world’s eyes are on Glasgow and those of us not present can only read the runes and hope that collective sense will prevail.

We can also read brilliant writers and their take on the crisis in which we find ourselves. From our list, Paul Behrens alternates chapters of optimism and pessimism in his popular science book The Best of Times, The Worst of Times; he is speaking at COP under the aegis of We Don’t Have Time on Sunday 6th November at 1720 GMT.

Grace Maddrell has collected together more than 40 voices from young international climate activists, including Vanessa Nakate who appears on the front of this week’s Time magazine. In addition to the book Tomorrow is Too Late we have collected together a range of resources on a dedicated microsite

Vanessa herself, Ayisha Siddiqa and Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti are all at COP and are proving themselves exceptional young ambassadors for climate justice.

Tomorrow Is Too Late
Demy paperback with flaps
30 September 2021
192 pages
ISBN 9781911648321
Cover design © House of Thought

In Tomorrow Is Too Late, Grace Maddrell collects testimonies of activism and hope from young climate strikers, from Brazil and Burundi to Pakistan and Palestine. These youth activists are experiencing the reality of the climate crisis, including typhoons, drought, flood, fire, crop failure and ecological degradation, and are all engaged in the struggle to bring these issues to the centre of the world stage. Their strength and determination show the urgency of their cause, and their understanding that the generations above them have failed to safeguard their environment.  

With contributors aged between eight and twenty-five, this is an inspiring collection of essays from the most vital generation of voices in the global struggle for climate justice, and offers a manifesto for how you can engage, educate, and inspire change for a more hopeful future. 

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
Demy paperback with flaps
352 pages
17 September 2020
ISBN 9781911648093
Cover design © House of Thought

The environmental emergency is the greatest threat we face. Preventing it will require an unprecedented political and social response. And yet, there is still hope.

Academic, physicist, environmental expert and award-winning science communicator Paul Behrens presents a radical dual analysis of a civilisation on the brink of catastrophe.

Setting out the pressing existential threats we face, he writes, in alternating chapters, of what the future could look like, at its most optimistic and pessimistic, and details the steps we can take to ensure our survival. In lucid and clear-sighted prose, Behrens argues that structural problems need structural solutions, and examines critical areas in which political will is necessary, including women’s education, food and energy security, biodiversity and economics.

Isn’t this Dangerous – Kids Abseiling down a Bridge? No, the Climate Crisis Is Dangerous

Zozo and Kiwi (born 2011 and 2008 respectively), known in this book only by their nick-names, are sister and brother.

They come from Germany. And they’re known as the ‘Kletterkinder’ or ‘climbing kids’.

When we abseil down a bridge or climb a lamppost to hang up a banner, people ask us: ‘But isn’t this totally dangerous?’ Of course, this question is not completely unexpected. We actually want people to ask themselves where the dangers are.

Climbing, however, is not dangerous. The climate crisis is.

OKAY, we have to say this here: dear adults, please don’t try this at home. Of course you have to know what you are doing. You have to know about redundancy and abseil devices, about knots and breaking loads. We are lucky to have rescue climbers as parents. That’s why we cannot even remember when we started climbing. The technique we use is called ‘industrial climbing’. You always use two separate systems (e.g. ropes). If one breaks or you mess up with one, the other one will still hold you. That’s why climbing can be done safely.

What we don’t understand is why everyone else feels safe, even though we are heading with full speed into the biggest crisis of humankind.

The climate crisis is already here. People are starving because of droughts, people are dying in floods, and the forests are burning everywhere on the planet. Even in our safe and protected home in Germany, we can see it. We live in a small village and go climbing in the trees pretty often (who would have thought it?). But last summer, a whole spruce forest just died in the drought. On one day, all the trees lost their needles. A couple of days later, the bark of whole trees fell off. We talked to the local forest warden. He said that even the beech trees are starting to get sick. For millennia, our region was covered in primeval beech forest. Beeches are what define our forests. And now the forest warden doesn’t know what to plant any more.

We cannot understand why people still feel safe with this. Do we really need more forests burning or more people dying before we realize that we have to change things big time?

Another question that people ask us is this: ‘How old are you? Eight and eleven? Did anyone tell you to do this? Did your parents tell you to do this?’ It’s strange. For some people it seems impossible that children can think for themselves. Of course, we ask for help where we need it. And of course, we bring our rescue-climbing par-ents with us when we climb. That is what professionals do: always have a rescue scenario.

We guess that there are three possible reasons to ask that question. Maybe they actually haven’t understood the urgency of the climate crisis. OKAY, we can help there, it’s not really hard: there is a certain amount of CO2 that the world may produce and still have a 67 per cent chance of staying below 1.5°C. This amount has been calculated by the IPCC. If we don’t make really, really big changes in how we live, this budget will be used up in eight years, or at least this was true at the time of writing, in December 2019. Most scientific studies since 2015 show that we’ll reach many tipping points between 1.5°C and 2°C. One example of a tipping point is the permafrost soil. If that thaws, huge amounts of methane will be released. With these tipping points, we might quickly end up in a 3, 4 or 5°C world. And in that world, the question will be if there are millions of people dying or billions. That’s terrible, but not hard to understand.

But maybe people take their anger out on children who speak their minds, because it would be too hard for them to accept the consequences. Maybe they just want to go on driving their SUVs?

Or maybe they are like the German minister for environment, Svenja Schulze. We had the chance to ask her about the CO2 budget for 1.5°C. Of course, she didn’t answer. She explained, in many words, how wonderful the German and European plans to reduce CO2 are. She certainly must know the IPCC numbers, right? If she does, she must know that her plans are by far not enough for the 2°C goal, let alone the 1.5°C goal, right? So she must know that her plans will cause hunger, death and war in the future. So anyone who reminds them of what they should already know must be very annoying. Or maybe some people want to distract the attention from the fact that they are the ones telling others what to do?

Did you know that Fridays For Future activists were thrown out of COP25 because they went up to the stage and chanted together with Indigenous people? And did you know that the climate summits, hosted by the United Nations, are sponsored by fossil fuel companies? Sponsored like a soccer match. And guess who was not thrown out of COP. Guess who could still tell the politicians what to do.That’s why we are the Climbing Kids. That’s why we won’t stop speaking up. That’s why we won’t stop annoying them.

Our parents call it non-violent direct action (NVDA). What it means is: don’t let them stroke your hair, and tell you how sweet you are, and don’t let them lie to you with a smile on their face about what they pretend to do against the climate crisis. But be better than them. Know the science and confront them with it. Be angry, but don’t be rude. And if you have to break the rules a little bit for a greater good, remember: you are responsible for it, responsible that no one is harmed.

Interestingly, though, we have found out that there is no law that explicitly forbids children from climbing up lampposts or abseiling down bridges.

The Big Issue, 27 October 2021: It’s easy to set climate targets for a distant 2050 – but even tomorrow is too late

It’s freezing in LA!, 14 October 2021: Kicked out of School for Being a Freethinker

The Observer, 17 October 2021: Gen Z on how to save the world: young climate activists speak out

Ibrahim Sawal for the New Scientist, 30 September 2021: Tomorrow Is Too Late review: Young activists speak out on the climate

Grace Maddrell for the Independent, 29 September 2021: How it feels to watch world leaders make catastrophic climate decisions

Jeremy Williams for The Earthbound Report, 6 September 2021: Book review: Tomorrow is too Late, ed Grace Maddrell

The London Magazine, 31 August 2021: Essay by Nasratullah Elham [Extract from Tomorrow Is Too Late]

Jessica Murray for the Guardian, 13 February 2021: ‘I’ve lost friends’: the young climate strikers forced to go it alone

Guardian, 15 January 2021: Bringing the Climate Crisis Home: How young people can educate their parents

Emily Chan for Vogue, 16 January 2021: 7 Young Planet-Saving Activists To Follow, Stat [featuring contributor Vanessa Nakate]

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

In the past, when I was asked what my profession was, I’d say: physicist. This might have prompted a host of fun questions: Does a person running in the rain get equally wet as someone walking in the rain? Do sinks really drain anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere? If I mentioned that my master’s degree was in astronomy, aliens would likely enter the conversation, or I might be asked why the solar system is flat, or if Libras are compatible with Capricorns. Communicating science has been a true joy: making complex concepts accessible to people (since the laws of physics aren’t exclusive – everyone obeys them!), exploring the implications for science and society, hopefully fostering and sharing some awe for the world we live in. Now that my work is focused on environmental science, however, I tend to be asked a far more daunting question: ‘Do you think we’re going to be okay?’

It’s a good question. But words always fail me. Should I assume the question relates to climate change, when they might mean another crisis, like species loss or microplastics? There is no straightforward answer to any of these problems. I could reframe the initial question: ‘How long have we got?’ I find the question so troubling that when others are arguing about it at the bar or over dinner, I sometimes try not to get involved. I overhear the all-too-familiar existential monsters: insect disappearances, plastic soups, massive wildfires, catastrophic floods, disappearing glaciers, tarmac-melting temperatures, antibiotic resistance. As we live with intensifying environmental crises, these issues are inching towards the front of the newspapers. They are starting to become standard fare around the dinner table and in the media. Perhaps not every dinner table or inside every newspaper, but give it time . . . We gloss over how unique this is. At what other point in human history would two strangers on a blind date, within five minutes of first meeting, seriously be discussing how humanity is walking, eyes wide open, into global civilizational collapse?

At the dinner table, this First World conversation plays out quite predictably, advancing to the what-can-be-done phase, unconsciously imitating the structure and flow of reports from various international institutions like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Solutions are contested: we all have to learn to consume less; corporations need to be regulated, as they don’t have the next generation’s interests at heart; we need to stop having babies; nuclear war could render this whole discussion moot. The conversation spirals, becoming either melancholic or histrionic until someone suggests that we’re living in the best time in human history: that the average global life expectancy is now seventy; that child mortality rates are at an all-time low; that food, energy and commodities are more plentiful than ever. Perhaps, a little relieved, people concede that things are changing – that, yes, it will be a difficult few decades – but we’ll figure it out. Look how far we’ve come in only a few hundred years. Solutions will be discovered. We are a resourceful species. The conversation lurches back and forth from pessimism to hope, winner to loser.

When people look to me for information, I’m painfully aware that giving misleading assurances is dangerous – and potentially catastrophic. So too is sending people to their cars and bikes in a state of despair. I face two big challenges in delivering this information. The first is that the problems humanity faces are systems problems: complex, vast and distributed (rather than the complicated but more linear problem-solving of, say, going to the moon). This means that conversations that start with environmental issues quickly veer off into tangents on economics, politics and society. The second challenge is that the reality of the situation can be overwhelming. It’s hard to grasp and communicate the speed and scale of the changes humanity needs to make. The same is true for the speed and scale of the destruction and suffering if action is delayed. Although T.S. Eliot said, ‘Humankind cannot bear very much reality,’ it’s important we do face up to this reality.

Cheddar News, 4 May 2021: ‘Cheddar Climate: Global Warming Claims, Making Space for Renewables, and Sustainable Sparkles’

United Ireland Podcast, 12 August 2021: ‘Episode 108: Climate Revolution NOW’

Ros Taylor for LSE Review of Books, 17 December 2020: ‘8 of the best books of 2020 recommended by LSE blog editors’

Thin Lei Win for Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 November 2020: ‘Climate primer: How to debunk myths about climate change’

Kelly McCaughrain for An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, 10 November 2020: ‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times’

Tom Bromley for The Salisbury Journal, 17 September 2020: ‘OPINION: ‘The best of Times, The Worst of Times”

Accidental Gods Podcast, 9 December 2020: ‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: Responding to Climate Change with Dr Paul Behrens’

The Bunker Podcast, 24 November 2020: ‘Will we be OK? Facing the Climate Emergency’

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