Urgent Message from a Hot Planet by Ann Eriksson, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich – Orca Book Publishers, 2022, 216 pages

 

Ann Eriksson’s Urgent Message from a Hot Planet is a heartfelt plea for all of us to do our bit, however little, to save the planet from global warming. In fact, author Eriksson contends that the term “climate heating” better depicts the crisis that the planet is currently facing. As a biologist and environmental consultant – in addition to her accomplishments as a nature-inspired novelist – she makes a cogent case for all of us to take radical steps to reverse this anthropogenic catastrophe that foreshadows the ultimate annihilation of all life on earth, including our own. She reminds readers that our species created the problem, so it is up to our species to correct it. However, her admonition is paired with strong words of hope and encouragement. It is never too late, she says, and little steps do make a significant difference.

This 216-page book consists of six chapters that outline the science behind climate change, the consequences of global heating, and the solutions to the crisis. It is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs of climate activists as well as testimonials and artwork by youth activists. There is also a glossary of terms and an impressive list of resources for people who want to make a difference. The last chapter provides suggestions for surviving in a changing and uncertain world.

Eriksson started writing her book before COVID-19 struck, but some of her recommendations also address the anxiety many people feel in the face of a world-wide crisis that can disrupt the chain of supply of goods and services. Her yearning to return to a state of self-sufficiency and a closer relationship with nature is shared by many of us.

While this primer is mainly aimed at young people, the inheritors of a planet manhandled by their parents’ generation, adults will also find it engaging. And although some of the notions outlined here may be familiar, it is useful to have them compiled in a single volume and in clear language that speaks to youth and adults alike.

Urgent Message from a Hot Planet stands out from other books on the subject because it is not afraid to point a finger at the root cause of global warming and other instances of environmental degradation. Ann Eriksson voices her deeply felt conviction by quoting a poem by Teän Warren, a 13-year-old youth climate activist from Cornwall, UK:

“Global capitalism the religion of the individual smashing through the vision of a united society. THE CORRUPTION OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM HAS LED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ECO SYSTEM. . . .”

Do read what Ann Eriksson and other activists have to say about the state of the world. At first you may be shocked, but then you will be energized by their successful activism and earnest hope for a healed planet.