There are a lot of serious books about the climate change. There are far fewer that take themselves less seriously. As the name suggests, this is in the latter camp, It’s from the folks behind IFL Science, written by author and artist Jennifer Crouch, and it bills itself as ‘the brighter side of the fight against climate change.’
The book is fairly introductory, beginning by explaining the basics of climate science and how the climate has changed in the past. It moves on to look at human impacts on biodiversity, land and water, roaming well beyond climate change and considering pollution and habitat loss and much else besides. It’s conversational in tone, interrupting itself to ask questions or address common objections. It presents big featured quotes from climate deniers as a way of highlighting how the issues have been ignored or deliberately confused. And it has jokes and swearing, and a general irreverence that – depending on your personality and sense of humour – you’re either going to find amusing or rather wearing.
Throughout, there’s a focus on how readers can respond, advice for “getting up off your arse and actually doing something.” That includes pointers on talking about climate change on social media, or dealing with sceptical family members. It invites people to take part in citizen science, and recommends various lifestyle choices from fast fashion to overfishing.
I was pleased to see the wide diversity of issues covered, finding room for soil erosion or fossil fuel financing, all described with colourful graphs and a light touch. It’s also good to see acknowledgement of social justice: “Not only is climate change pretty much the worst thing that can happen to humanity… it’s also racist.” This is not something that appeared in climate books a few years ago. But it’s 2021 and the racial justice aspects of climate change are increasingly recognised.
If you’re broadly familiar with climate change and environmental threats, you might not learn all that much from How to F*#king Save the Planet. But it might be something you could give to others, and it might just prove entertaining enough for them to read, where those aforementioned serious climate books wouldn’t be.