Most environmental books make for a bleak read – they tend to focus on the failure of previous governments to engage, and due to the ignorant deniers and the political lobbying they prophesize doom and gloom and the end of civilisation. Hope in Hell isn’t immune to this, but it presents a far more balanced outlook, citing improvements in technology and options for climate engineering that could, alongside emission control, help reduce the effects of this climate crisis.
Sir Jonathon Porritt has been in the game for many years. He was a member of Greenpeace in the 70s, chaired multiple environmental organisations, and is a university chancellor, so he knows his stuff This come across clearly in this book. He covers what you’d expect – the inactivity of governments, failed opportunities, Green New Deal, etc. – but this book is broad. It covers historical civil disobedience, how other campaigns in the past, such as the Suffragettes and the anti-slavery movement, garnered public support and how we can learn from their experiences and their mistakes to get better traction on climate solutions.
This was my first audio book, and on whole it was a pretty good experience, but I do feel the medium wasn’t being used effectively. For example, the narrator, Simon Slater, slips into an awful American accent when quoting or reading Americans, I can’t see why (copyright ownership aside) the original recording couldn’t be slipped in instead. The same for Greta Thurnberg’s speeches.
But a very important and very timely book, one that everyone, especially those in industry and government, should be reading.