A Review by Nola Kelly

The Future we Choose – surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett_Carnac (Knopf Doubleday, 2020) *

Two very well informed people have come together to deliver a book of reality, hope, and a pathway to achieving the future our children are entitled to. Christiana was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010 to 2014, and Tom was president and CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project USA and a former Buddhist monk. Together they offer education about the urgent and critical situation we face, as well as practical steps we can all take immediately.

The pair describe the irresponsibility of climate deniers and the destruction that has been caused as a result of delayed action in order to make more profits, and how those most impacted are the powerless and those not yet born. They highlight the immense responsibility that lies with people to act in this decade – in order to have even a 50% chance of keeping warming at below1.5 degrees Celsius we must cut global emissions to half their current level by 2030, and how  the demise of the human species will be inevitable if we continue on our current trajectory.

The need for a total change of mindset is explored as our current economic modelling is based on the assumption that we can continue to draw from the planet far more that it can regenerate, and pollute far more than we clean up. As a species we are used to taking but not giving. They highlight that what is needed is both systemic transformation and individual behavioural change, but this needs to be supported by optimism to face what is the greatest challenge of human history. A section of the book is devoted to the description of the abundant regeneration that is possible if we have the will, maintain an optimistic approach, and work with Nature rather than against. Also mentioned are the amazing benefits available for humanity that will come from this reconnection with Nature. “The time for doing what we can has passed. Each of us must now do what is necessary”

Practical steps we must all take –

1.         Let Go of the Old World – honour the past but let it go as things have to be different.

2.         Face Your Grief but Hold a Vision of the Future – a regenerative world where humans and Nature can thrive together.

3.         Defend the Truth – believe in the science, learn to ascertain the truth and then accept the reality.

4.         See Yourself as a Citizen not as a Consumer – one involves give and take, the other just takes.

5.         Move Beyond Fossil Fuels – they are polluting for the planet and bad for our health and there are alternatives.

6.         Reforest the Earth – through rewilding, planting trees, eating mainly plant based foods, and rejecting products that contribute to deforestation.

7.         Invest in a Clean Economy – put your money where it does good and does not contribute to the problems of the world.

8.         Use Technology Responsibly – evolving technologies have great capacity for good but also to be destructive to humanity so know what is happening.

9.         Build Gender Equality – work towards social and financial independence, and representation  for all.

10.       Engage in Politics – true democracies require participation and even not acting is taking a stance.

There are also useful tips of what each of us can do right now, today or tomorrow, this week, this month, this year, by 2030, and by 2050. We have to be up for the challenge.

*copy in the East Gippsland Shire Council library