Still, scientists are clear that it’s not too late to take action. That’s why writer Rebecca Solnit and digital storyteller Thelma Young Lutunatabua have edited a new book of essays, entitled Not Too Late: Changing The Climate Story From Despair To Possibility. “People think if you don’t win everything, you lose everything. They think it’s too late. They think nobody cares, that nobody’s doing anything,” Solnit tells Vogue via Zoom from New Mexico. “We feel really strongly that people need good facts about the realities of climate change and what we can do about it.”Bringing together climate scientists, activists, and communicators from all around the world (including the likes of Adrienne Maree Brown, Mary Annaïse Heglar, and Farhana Sultana), the collection is designed to be an entry-level tool kit to empower those who are concerned about the ecological crisis we’re facing, but don’t know what to do about it. “We wanted to help people find clarity through all the noise that exists out there, and through that clarity, feel they have power and that they can be a part of this fight,” Young Lutunatabua, who is based in Fiji, explains.
Opening with two essays penned by Solnit and Young Lutunatabua—titled “Difficult Is Not The Same As Impossible” and “Nothing Is Inevitable” respectively—the book takes readers through the solutions that exist (from defeating fossil fuels to adaptation and mitigation); the frameworks that will help us rethink our attitudes towards the climate crisis; and what the future could look like if we take action now.
One important theme that runs throughout the book is the idea of hope. “Hope is not the guarantee that things will be okay,” Young Lutunatabua, a senior communications strategist at The Solutions Project, says. “It’s the recognition that there’s spaciousness for action, that the future is uncertain, and in that uncertainty, we have space to step into and make the future we want.”
The role that everyone has to play in shaping our future is another key message. That’s why Solnit and Young Lutunatabua have included an—“extremely incomplete“—list of climate victories in the book, many of which have been led by Indigenous activists and activists of color. “It’s so easy to throw up your hands in the air and say the climate is such a big issue, I don’t know what I can do,” Young Lutunatabua continues, her determination to fight the climate crisis shining through. “But we want to give people examples that show if you join together with other people, you can have power.“