68 pages 2 hours read

Ed. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ed. Katharine K. Wilkinson

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Nonfiction | Anthology/Varied Collection | Adult | Published in 2020

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Summary and Study Guide


All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis (2020) is a collection of essays and poems edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. Johnson, a marine biologist and policy expert is the co-founder of a nonprofit called Urban Ocean Lab, co-founder of a climate initiative called The All We Can Save Project, and a co-creator of the podcast How to Save a Planet. Wilkinson is an author, teacher, and strategist who has written a number of books on climate and is an editor-in-chief at Project Drawdown. She is also a public speaker and a visiting professor at Sewanee.


All We Can Save seeks to inspire the reader to feel hopeful for the future. The book includes calls to action, significant scientific studies about nature, and personal stories about climate activism’s successes and failures. The book centers women’s voices, as the climate movement often overlooks their ingenuity, expertise, and unique perspectives. The editors have organized the essays into eight different sections with titles describing various important parts of climate change activism. Together, these sections provide a sense of the state of climate activism in the United States and how one can make a difference.

The first section, titled “Root,” grounds the reader in the current climate change movement and welcomes them to the work. This section focuses on Indigenous knowledge and the benefits of living with respect for the Earth. The second section is titled “Advocate” and focuses on strategies for engagement in the climate movement. There’s an emphasis on holding powerful people and leaders accountable for their actions and rewriting rules and policies with all people in mind. The third section is titled “Reframe”; this section describes ways that we can make sense of our cultures and communities through storytelling and artmaking.

The fourth section is titled “Reshape” and focuses on the ways that transportation, infrastructure, building design, and landscapes have created problems in society. These problems disconnect humans from nature and perpetuate societal inequalities. The fifth section, titled “Persist,” focuses on the need for fierce activism because our health, our communities, and justice depend on it. The sixth section is titled “Feel.” In this section, the authors describe the heartbreak and anxiety that we experience because of climate change. There is grief, mourning, anger, hopelessness, healing, and love in the face of defending our home. The seventh section is titled “Nourish”; we read about nature’s processes and how it has always taken care of the planet, but also about how humans have extracted so much that nature is suffering as a result. We then learn ways that we can collaborate with and support nature to promote its healing.

The last section is titled “Rise.” The writers in this section propose ways that generations, both young and old, can work together to continue growing and nourishing the planet. There is a focus on community in this section, reminding us that our individual actions are not enough to create change and that we need each other to really make a difference.