I would probablly call this book a manifesto for Extinction Rebellion. In short, it’s a series of essays relating the effects of climate change, followed by a series of essays regarding what we can do about it. Rather than pointing out the changes needed on an individual level – like most of the other environmental books I’ve read – this one speaks about system change.
The first point I would like to make about the book is how full of love it is. Whilst it covers some absolutely heartbreaking topics, the underlying feeling is one of hope, of optimism, and a genuine desire to create a world that is powered by arts and education and in which care is valued as it should be.
That said, my favourite quote from the book comes from the essay titled ‘We are not prepared to die’, by Mohamed Nasheed:
Let us not forget what we owe to decent, working people such as coalminers. The tremendous wealth the world enjoys today, the technological progress, the huge increase in living standars is due to the work of these people. We should not blame coalminers, or loggers, or oil-rig workers for causing the climate crisis.
As someone who grew up near the so-called ‘Oil-capital of Europe’ – indeed, as someone who directly benefited from the oil-industry throughout my childhood – I feel like this is a really vital distinction to make. People working in the industry are not the issue – the industry itself is the issue.
But back to the book – it’s a quick read at just under 200 pages and the essay format really lends itself to dipping in and out of. Language-wise, it’s also written in an incredibly accessible style.
My one ‘complaint’ is, however, to do with exactly that – the accessibility. I presume that academic-style citations were excluded to aid ‘readability’, however, as someone who likes to enjoy a factual book and then jump down the rabbit-hole of quoted works, I found the lack of citations… irritating. I know it’s a personal thing – citations do often exclude a lot of people, but for a group intent on telling us to ‘listen to the scientists’, XR are making it very hard to read the scientific papers they’re quoting.
Anyway, as I say, it’s a small complaint, and a personal one, and it definitely shouldn’t put you off reading this book.
Have you read This Is Not A Drill? I would love to hear your thoughts if you have.