In The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate, edited by Amy Brady and Tajja Isen, 19 notable writers share intimate reflections on how accelerated climate change has led to corresponding transformations in their lives, homes, neighborhoods, jobs, relationships and mental health.
In presenting striking firsthand accounts of a global phenomenon, Brady and Isen hope to encourage "humble and humane dialogue" that will ignite climate action at the individual level. The Covid-19 pandemic added a layer of complexity to the stories in this collection, rendering it a living testament to the challenging realities of surviving and writing through a global health crisis.
The World as We Knew It opens with a gorgeously descriptive essay by Lydia Millet on the changing ecosystem of the magnificent Arizona desert. An appreciation of nature's majesty and raw power runs through stories about invasive fish species on the Caribbean island nation of Dominica; the altered rain patterns witnessed in California's Sierra Nevada mountains; and the spiritual and ecological fallout of a World Bank-sponsored dam in Uganda.
The essays in The World as We Knew It capture a specific moment in human history, a time when older generations experiencing the "new normal" of accelerated climate disruption can recall childhoods when our environment was more stable. Each of the essays in this collection presents an opportunity to engage thoughtfully with climate change-driven experiences that will help readers feel less alone as they confront, within their own communities, this unprecedented time in the history of our world. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer