Beyond Climate Grief – a brief review by Angela Crunden

Beyond Climate Grief by Jonica Newby (NewSouth Publishing, 2021)

Dr Jonica Newby is an author, director and science reporter of 20 years. She is best known for her role on the ABC TV science program Catalyst. She lives in New South Wales with her partner, ABC Science Show presenter Robyn Williams.

Her most recent work, Beyond Climate Grief is a book of deep emotions laid bare with rare honesty and personal exposure. It is a memoir driven by fear, love and a powerful affection for snow that, for Newby, was met with overwhelming sorrow at the realisation she was witnessing a rapidly diminishing alpine beauty.

In writing this very readable, chatty and touching book, no one can complain that Newby has skimped on the research. Amongst many others she has sought the wisdom of comedians, social scientists, farmers, musicians and fire victims in her quest to unlock answers to dealing with climate grief. She shares wonderful stories and revelations with humour and grace.

Faced, as we are, with denial, dithering and ineffectual policies at the highest levels of government, the chapter on leadership gives special reason for hope. She talks of the proliferation of climate groups large and small; Protect Our Winters, a lobby group with 100,000 members worldwide, Vets, Parents, Surfers, and even Athletes for Climate Action through to the Victorian school in Castlemaine that spawned a worldwide student protest.

For those of us needing some wind in our sails, this is an ultimately positive and helpful book that doesn’t shy away from even the darkest corners of climate science. It leaves us with hope and the equipment to maintain or even join the fight for a better future.

Useful pamphlets produced by the Australian Psychological Society and mentioned in the book:

– How to talk to kids about climate change

– How to raise kids in a climate altered world

*the Author is a member of EGCAN and Bairnsdale XR