Young Adults Reflect on Climate Feminism in “All We Can Save” Book Club

As the light began to fade this fall, I found myself craving different forms of warmth. When I saw that a new climate anthology was getting published, and that the editors would support circles coming together in deep discussion, this felt like a kind of sustaining fire I – and the UUYACJ network – needed.

Over the span of ten weeks, a small group of UUYACJ network members met every Saturday to discuss each chapter of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. Co-edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, and Katharine K Wilkinson, the book weaves a quilt of voices, each sharing their vision for what feminist climate justice can mean. Combining poetry, essay, and visual art, this range of artforms celebrates the diversity of walks of life, theories of change and skills we need to create climate justice. As has been said at the 2014 People’s Climate March, and beyond, “to change everything, we need everyone”. We also need more feminist leadership, and this book is one guiding star to keep shifting cultures.

I’m grateful to have UU Ministry for Earth’s practice of sociocracy for horizontal decision-making as one way to shift towards collaboration; I know I will keep coming back to this book’s lessons as I continue my journey in the climate movement.

Read on for reflections from members of the book club. If you’re inspired to start your own circle, check out the editors’ circle resources! –Amelia Diehl, UUYACJ Network Coordinator.

From Elizabeth Fernandez, UUMFE Intern:

All We Can Save takes us on a journey through each of the 10 parts: begin, root, advocate, reframe, reshape, persist, feel, nourish, rise, and onward. The beginning of the anthology shares stories of collaboration and community, how we need to listen to BIPOC people who have been at the forefront of the climate crisis for decades. The book then discusses the importance of initiating climate ballots such as a Green New Deal, making sure the right people hold decision making capabilities, reframing our cities and economies to be grounded in the Earth and to take current and future climate risks into consideration. AWCS closes with personal essays of spirituality, stories of a regenerative future and direct calls to actions. It was very inspiring to read poems and other works from women climate activists. It’s time to deconstruct the cis white male dominated movement and uplift the voices of diverse women, something that this book does a really great job of doing! 

From Ember Sikorski: 

I joined the UUYACJ AWCS book club because I loved the premise of the book and really wanted a place to discuss it. Despite not coming from a UU background, I found a posting for the UUYACJ book club and they welcomed me with open arms.

As a grad student in STEM, the climate change discussions I hear are usually very white- and male-centered, which often means they are separated from people and communities. Reading and discussing AWCS, I got to learn about the human elements of a crisis caused by humans. For example, I had never before heard about the drastic extent to which climate change disproportionately affects people of color and poor people. When affluent people in my field talk about climate change, we often have the luxury of discussing it as some nebulous, future concept. For people in frontline communities, climate change is now and they are fighting back in every way they can.

The AWCS book club was a place to commiserate, support, and inspire each other. In the past I had only ever dealt with my emotions surrounding climate change alone. People I worked with either didn’t believe climate change existed or relegated it to the motivations slide at the beginning of their presentations for their research. How can climate change motivate our research but not seep into the rest of our lives? It was so incredibly validating to hear from not only the women of AWCS but also my book club peers who often had similar experiences. In my world of science, I only ever heard about fighting climate change when reading about science. AWCS and the book club has truly opened my view to all the ways we can fight back: protesting, listening, writing, building community, and so much more. After this experience, I can take solace in being a bird in a flock as described by adrienne maree brown. As one person, our work may feel insignificant, but collectively we are fighting climate change on all fronts. Together, there is so much we can save.

 

Amelia Diehl
Amelia Diehl
Amelia Diehl is the Network Coordinator for the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice Network, and a Communications Specialist for UU Ministry for Earth. She's been with UUMFE since 2015 and is based in Chicago and the Great Lakes region. Her other movement homes include Rising Tide Chicago, SustainUS and freelance writing.