Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua is an anthology of essays, stories, articles, and lists assembled to pivot the climate story away from despair and towards hope. It’s aimed towards people who are first dipping their toes into the movement, but I think all people can enjoy or benefit from this book.
I was pleasantly impressed by the quality of writing in this anthology. Most books authored by multiple people have a wide variety of writing talent and experience. And although there was a range of styles, some clinical, some lyrical, each chapter was well written. We have authors of IPCC reports, climate layers, scientists, water defenders, all sorts.
I found myself in tears multiple times while reading. Tears of joy, and tears of despair. This anthology clearly states that it isn’t about optimism, which can lead to inaction, but is about hope. And hope has its flip sides, you cannot fully separate it from grief. There is room for both in this movement, and there has to be if we are going to get anything meaningful done.
To me, the most meaningful pieces were towards the end of the book, and are two works of speculative fiction showing us what our future could be. One of my favorite books of all time, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety, tells us that imagining a future that has been changed by the climate crisis, but that is still livable is one of the best things we can do to inspire ourselves into action. And reading other people’s visions of the future is equally powerful. It inspired me to put on paper the thoughts that have been circling through my head: what could our future actually look like? This prompt coincidentally is shared by the Flash Futures zine project being run by 350 PDX, with a week left to submit entries.
Not Too Late is inspiring, it is hopeful, it is devastating. It is a quick read, and I recommend it to all of us in the climate movement, but especially to those who are just getting started and those of us feeling burned out. You can find it at the library here, or at Powells here.