Book Review: Climate Justice: Hope Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future

By Karri Munn-Venn

By Mary Robinson

Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018


Review by Karri Munn Venn


I’m a sucker for a good story and Mary Robinson tells them in spades.

Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future is a captivating collection of personal accounts compiled by the Former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change. Though relatively new to the fight for climate justice, Mary Robinson is committed to advancing change. Sharing the stories of those most affected, she says, is “the only way to convince people about the reality of climate change.”

Early in the book, Robinson cites the birth of her first grandson in 2003 as a catalyzing moment. The way she maps the need for climate action against her teenage grandson’s lifespan is made all the more poignant for me since my own first son was also born in 2003.

She goes on to weave a compelling climate change narrative through the stories of individuals and communities from every continent. She includes some of her own stories as a delegate of global climate talks and the special guest of world leaders. Together, these accounts offer an informative wide-angle view.

Unfortunately, the narrative crumbles some when Robinson shares the story of Canadian coal miner, Ken Smith. Without any reference to the Canadian political landscape, Mr. Smith’s story is devoid of context and problematically incomplete. Despite the personality and power of the book, I’m left wondering what key pieces of information are missing in the other chapters.

Still, Climate Justice is a worthy read, particularly for those interested in better understanding how the realities of our warming planet are unfolding on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

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