Tag Archive for: climate crisis

 

In May 2016, Fort McMurray, Alberta, the hub of Canada’s oil industry, was overrun by wildfire. The multi-billion-dollar disaster turned entire neighbourhoods into firebombs and drove 90,000 people from their homes in a single afternoon. Through the story of this apocalyptic conflagration, John Vaillant explores the past and the future of our ever-hotter, more flammable world.

For hundreds of millennia, fire has been a partner in our evolution, shaping culture and civilization. Yet in our age of intensifying climate change, we are seeing its destructive power unleashed in ways never before witnessed. Vaillant delves into the intertwined histories of the oil industry and climate science, the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern wildfires, and the lives forever changed by these disasters. 

 ‘Astounding on every page. John Vaillant is one of the great poetic chroniclers of the natural world’ David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth.



 

This is the story of Britain’s oil-soaked past, present and future. Speaking to oil company executives and traders, as well as refinery workers, filmmakers and musicians, activists and politicians, the authors put real people at the heart of a compelling story of how financial power and political muscle built an empire, extracting the wealth of the world from Iran to Nigeria and Alaska.

Today, the tide seems to be going out – Britain’s refineries have been quietly closed, the North Sea oilfields are declining and wind farms are being built in their place. As the country painfully shifts into its new post-industrial role in the shadow of Covid, Brexit and the climate crisis, many believe the age of oil to be over. But is it?

 

Eleanor Oliphant meets Killing Eve in this funny and gloriously unhinged New Zealand sensation, longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2023. The climate is in crisis and wealthy immigrants are flocking to New Zealand for shelter, stealing land and taking over. A darkly comic novel about a slacker called Alice who is drawn into action of the most radical – and dangerous – kind. Bold and brilliantly bizarre, She’s a Killer is a satirical dystopian cli-fi thriller.

 

With every degree of temperature rise, a billion people will be displaced from the habitable zones in which they have lived for many thousands of years. With drought, heat, wildfires and flooding reshaping Earth’s human geography, Gaia Vince explores how we can best manage mass-scale climate migration and restore the planet to a fully habitable state. Emphasising that migration is not the problem, but the solution, Vince illustrates how migration brings benefits not only to migrants but also to host countries, many of which face demographic crises and labour shortages.

In this collection of essays, interspersed with Greta Thunberg’s own speeches, writings and commentaries, the legendary Swedish environmentalist showcases some of the leading voices in climate and ecological science and activism.

Thunberg and her collaborators do more than simply bear witness to the planet’s profound ecological challenges: they outline some of the solutions that are available to forge a more just, healthy and liveable global society that respects its limitations and thrives within them.

Read more of our Climate Classics: timeless works exploring themes of climate change and biodiversity loss.

What do you do when you are a god – but powerless and unable to prevent one of your favourite species from their insatiable, accelerating death wish? Do you try to shout louder and more insistently, or instead reinvent yourself as a troubadour of romantic ruin? Such are the dilemmas posed by Rishi Dastidar in his third poetry collection Neptune’s Projects, a reshaping of mythology for the climate crisis era which gives bold consideration to the stark choices we face. A post-apocalyptic jig and reel, these poems are compelling, deadpan yarns of the sea, full of both fury and fun. In Neptune’s Projects the end of humanity is made wry, thrilling – and alive.

‘Rishi Dastidar is a ludic myth-maker, a satirist of keen eye and big heart. These poems of the sea and shores of this ‘tight little island’ bite back with verve and gallows wit.’ ~ Karen McCarthy Woolf

‘There has always been an intersection between poetry and the natural world. Now here comes Rishi Dastidar’s Neptune to add wit, postmodern panache and mythic irony to the tradition of the open sea. A richly rewarding read.’ ~ Roger Robinson 

Rishi Dastidar was guest contributor to May 2023’s What We’re Reading Now. Discover some of his recommended eco-writing here.

In the first decades of the 21st century, the world is convulsing, its governments mired in gridlock while an ecological crisis looms. America is battered by violent weather and extreme politics. In California, Tony Pietrus, a scientist studying deposits of undersea methane, receives a death threat. His fate will become bound to cast of characters—a broken drug addict, a star advertising strategist, a neurodivergent mathematician, a cunning eco-terrorist, an actor turned religious zealot, and a young activist named Kate Morris, who, in the mountains of Wyoming, begins a project that will alter the course of the decades to come.

From the Gulf Coast to Los Angeles, the Midwest to Washington DC, their stories unfold against a backdrop of accelerating chaos as they summon up courage, galvanize a nation, fall to their own fear, and find hope in the face of staggering odds. Each faces a reckoning: what will they sacrifice to salvage humanity’s last chance of a future?

 

Read more of our Climate Classics: timeless works exploring themes of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Dom Bury’s Rite of Passage is an initiation into what it means to be alive on the planet in the midst of extinction, of climate, environmental and systematic collapse. It is a journey into the shadow of man’s distorted relationship with the earth. And yet in the utter darkness of this hour, these often provocative poems suggest that there is hope. That we have had to come to the edge of our own annihilation as a species to collectively shift how we live, that only in the dark glare of this crisis, can a new world from the ashes of the old one now be formed.

In Passerine, Kirsten Luckins’ epistolary poems distill the daily process of grieving, healing, remembering, through nature’s wild and atomic industry. Reading this collection is like pressing your ear to the ground to hear the orchestra of the world: alive with buzzing hum and beating wing; death, all the while, lurking on the doorstep. The language is lush, tack-sharp and playful, capturing both the contradictions of being in and of the world, and the rare honesty of a true and fierce friendship. It’s this friendship that binds the collection: a golden thread of sunlight.

Plastiglomerate finds our world in the midst of environmental disaster: from plastic pollution and wrecked shipping to fires in the Amazon rainforest. Geographer-poet Tim Cresswell writes with the forensic eye of a professional, bending the hard vocabulary of science into a jagged but compelling lyric that telescopes from the vast to the cellular in the space of a line. Plastiglomerate completes a trilogy of poetry books that examines mankind’s impact on the earth; its central poem recycles the British folk ballad The Twa Magicians to make an ecological protest song fit for the Anthropocene age.

But among powerful depictions of the natural world under threat – from beached whales to lost birds – it is the humanity of Cresswell’s imagery that wins through: leaf-blowers in surgical masks, blue nail polish, the biro “leaking in the heat of my pocket”.

“Engaging and unsettling poems that tell it like it is, looking unflinchingly at environmental beauty and disaster. There is redemption here too, in the warmth of human relationships – while this is indeed a world of “ruin and plunder”, it is also a
place “full of love and sap”. A powerful and memorable collection.’ ~ Jean Sprackland