Climate Week Edition: Andrew Boyd, I WANT A BETTER CATASTROPHE & Chuck Collins, ALTAR TO AN ERUPTING SUN

We’re celebrating the upcoming Climate Week by featuring two books that tackle the crisis from different perspectives.

We take a journey into the heart of climate grief and out the other side with Andrew Boyd. His book is I Want A Better Catastrophe: Navigating the Climate Crisis with Grief, Hope and Gallows Humor.

Then, a new novel shines a light on the history of social activism and it’s future. We talk with Chuck Collins, author of numerous non fiction books, about his terrific debut novel, Altar to an Erupting Sun. It’s about how social justice activism has dealt with grave crises before and how the lessons learned from those struggles can inform how we deal with the climate emergency today and in the years to come.

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Key words: climate crisis, Andrew Boyd, Chuck Collins, Climate Week, writers voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, book excerpt, nonfiction, fiction

Andrew Boyd

Climate Week begins September 17 at the UN and in New York City generally. And while there is well-deserved skepticism about some greenwashing sponsors of official Climate Week, people from all over the country will be converging on the city’s streets on Sunday September 17 for a March To End Fossil Fuels.

It could be massive — because as wildfires, floods, extreme weather and tropical diseases spread around the planet, anxiety about the climate emergency is becoming ever more common.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults say climate change is noticeably affecting their local communities and a majority see it as causing serious effects right now. Two-thirds of U.S. adults also say the country should prioritize developing renewable energy sources over expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas.

But the pace of change is not enough to avoid a world of hurt ahead of us—even though it’s not too late to lessen the impact. We could have “a better catastrophe” than if we give up and do nothing.

That’s what threw self-described tragic optimist or can-do pessimist Andrew Boyd into a crisis of hope and off on a quest to learn how to live with the “impossible news” of our climate doom.

In his book, I Want A Better Catastrophe, Boyd searches out eight leading climate thinkers — from eco-philosopher Joanna Macy to Indigenous botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer of Sweetgrass fame — asking them: “Is it really the end of the world? and if so, now what?”

With gallows humor and a broken heart, Boyd steers readers through their climate angst as he walks his own. Celebrated dean of climate activism Bill McKibben said Boyd’s book “Proves it’s never too late for a good laugh, a good cry, and a good call to action!”

I Want A Better Catastrophe interactive flowchart

Chuck Collins

Earlier, we heard from Andrew Boyd about learning to live with the climate emergency without losing hope, compassion and courage. Chuck Collins took another tack.

Author of several nonfiction books, Collins decided to use fiction to explore how social justice activism has dealt with grave crises before and how the lessons learned from those struggles can inform how we deal with the climate emergency today and in the years to come.

His novel Altar To An Erupting Sun is a near-future story of one community facing climate disruption in the critical decade ahead. It also takes us from the anti-nuclear power movement of the 1970s to the contemporary climate movement to explore how the resistance to injustice has unfolded over the past decades down to today.

Resources for Altar to An Erupting Sun