“All We Can Save” is the Environmental Feminist Text We Need Right Now

“My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.”

―Adrienne Rich,“Natural Resources

I write this review as the Bobcat Fire rages on just miles away from my home in Los Angeles, prompting evacuations and causing unprecedented destruction.

The most destructive wildfire season on record, 2020 is posing a serious health risk to Californians—from immediate issues, like burning eyes or irritated throat, to chronic heart, lung and skin problems.

Climate scientists have also drawn a connection between climate change and the severity of the hurricanes currently pummeling the East Coast. Of course, climate change is exacerbating these extreme changes in weather—as major countries and investors continue clinging to the use of fossil fuels and refuse to move fast enough toward renewable energy.

In these dire times of fires and floods, we find it’s best to listen to the experts.

Cue: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, a groundbreaking collection of essays and poems by women at the forefront of the climate crisis movement—edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and policy expert, and Dr. Katharine Keeble Wilson, a strategist dedicated to developing climate solutions.

Contributors include Sherri Mitchell, an Indigenous activist; Kate Marvel, a renowned climate scientist; Jacqueline Patterson, director of environmental and climate justice at the NAACP; amongst others diverse in age, race, geography, socioeconomic status and expertise (though, notably, none visibly disabled—despite people with disabilities being especially vulnerable to climate change).

With insights from scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, activists, teachers and more, this book packs urgency, shedding light on the experiences and insights of women climate crisis activists. They state explicitly where we were yesterday, where we are today and what we need to do in order arrive at the ideal tomorrow.

It’s a sorely needed glimmer of hope—a reminder that there is a way out of this mess: collective action.

“We cannot make enough headway on the climate problem by working at the individual level. We need to organize our efforts,” writes University of California, Santa Barbara energy expert Leah Stokes.

To quote the recently-departed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

All We Can Save does that. Consider it required reading.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis is available now in hardcover, e-book and audio format.


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About

Sarah Montgomery is a senior at USC. She is passionate about using writing as a tool for social change. Her Starbucks beverage of choice is the iced skinny vanilla latte—personal cup and reusable straw, of course.