You may ask yourself – why does the world need another book on global warming? It is a very good question. I am sure if even a fraction of the books that exist on the topic had never been printed we would have saved a forest the size of Ireland! Many good scientific books have been written for sure. Yet despite the trees that have been chopped and reams of paper that have been printed over the past thirty years, climate emissions continue to rise and rise. The upward trend is relentless. What difference can one more small book make?
It is a question I have asked myself over and over since I embarked on a very personal project to write about my own experiences of climate campaigning two years ago. For starters I am not a climate scientist. I have the title “Doctor” but I’m neither a medical doctor nor a climatologist. I do have a PhD in Economic Geography and years of experience of campaigning with Trócaire. Surely if a climate book is to be taken seriously it needs to be written by a very distinguished scientist? What can a mum of two unruly boys and part-time social scientist add? Surely there are better qualified people to add to our deforestation.
Maybe I’m getting above my station, but I haven’t been put off by these doubts. I decided to write down my experiences of coming to terms with climate change and what it means. I discovered quickly that climate change is most definitely a can of worms. It can be a very divisive issue, even at a very personal level. If you take the lid off it you have to be prepared for many other questions to come – about political viewpoints, how we earn our money, where we go on holidays and even what we eat. It is hard to shy away from the scrutiny of personal choices. Will I ever be able to sneak away on another sun holiday with a clear conscience?
All these questions and doubts have swirled around my head. They came to me at the most unexpected moments, like as I kissed my boys goodnight or as I sipped wine on a really sunny day. It almost seemed like this ‘small book’, as author Naomi Klein has called it, wanted to write itself. It woke me up at 3am saying “you need to write me” and would not let go until I got up. I had to write it. I had to put it out there – and see what happened. Perhaps it will fall on deaf ears, but this book came from somewhere deep inside me, from my gut. It is perhaps my way of documenting to my own children (when they are grown up) that I wasn’t prepared to sit by and watch as the “great unravelling” happened – to quote the poet Drew Dillinger.
The point is that this small book isn’t really about climate change. Rather, it is about a mum trying to stay hopeful and believe in the bright future we all want for our children and grandchildren. And that’s a topic I am well qualified to comment on. Climate change just happens to be one humongous problem standing in the way of that happening. With the help of my eminently qualified friend, Professor John Sweeney, I was able to join the dots with climate change. The issue stands out also because of the ticking clock, the weird silence and the fact there is so much we could be doing, even at this late stage. Getting this message out to everyone – to all the amazing people out there who care so much and do so much for children and grandchildren – is what this book is all about.
Climate Generation – Awakening to our Children’s Future is available online now and in good independent bookstores!