This is a book written by an 18-year-old environmentalist – and it’s being reviewed here by a 64-year-old environmentalist. Forty-six years ago there weren’t books of this sort written by undergraduates and I’m very glad that I didn’t have one published then because I suspect that it would be an embarrassing read with the benefit of experience and time. But Bella Lack shouldn’t fear looking back on this volume after almost five decades because it is a good book, and it would be a good book if written by anyone of whatever age.
I’ve met Bella a few times and heard her speak in public and chatted to her – but all that was probably back in 2018. Even then, Bella was an impressive person, calm, coherent and considered. She seemed wise beyond her years.
She is an ambassador for Born Free, Save the Asian Elephant, the RSPCA and the Jane Goodall Foundation and has travelled and seen the world, and thought about a wide range of environmental issues. In this book she talks to a range of young people facing the realities of environmental degradation and climate change – the children of the anthropocene. This is a good structure for a book as it turns environmental facts and figures into live issues for real (young) people. You may never get to Bali, the Solomon Islands, remote villages in Kenya or the Ecuadorian Choco so let Bella take you there and illuminate the problems and probably motivate you to do even more than you do at the moment.
Consumerism, water use, what you eat, plastic, rewilding, deforestation, your carbon footprint – all of these and more issues come up, are explained and there are suggestions for personal and government action.
You shouldn’t be impressed by this book because it is written by a young person – you should be impressed by it because it is impressive in its scope and the quality of the writing.
The cover? I liked it and it seemed to fit the contents of the pages. I’d give it 7/10.
Children of the Anthropocene: stories from the young people at the heart of the climate crisis by Bella Lack is published (on 30 June) by Penguin Life.