When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world's top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realized that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.
In Humanity's Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. Humanity's Moment is a climate scientist's guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other, and our planet.
Prologue: Life on the frontline
Part 1: The Head
Chapter 1. Elemental Earth
Chapter 2. The age of consequences
Chapter 3. Fork in the road
Chapter 4. Gradually, then suddenly
Part 2: The Heart
Chapter 5. Where the battle has been lost
Chapter 6. Sea of humanity
Chapter 7. Lost worlds
Chapter 8. A thousand generations
Part 3: The Whole
Chapter 9. In all darkness, there is light
Chapter 10. A new kind of politics
Chapter 11. Life imitating art
Chapter 12. Revolutions seem impossible until they become inevitable
Dr Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer at the Australian National University. She served as a lead author for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and is the author of Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia.
"Joelle Gergis' Humanity's Moment is clear-eyed, wounded, humane and above all, honest. Not many books feel necessary, but here's one that qualifies."
– The Sydney Morning Herald
"This book makes it abundantly clear that climate change is profoundly personal [...] . I commend Dr. Gergis for her bravery in sharing her personal journey with those of us who are not so embedded in the field. This is a book that should be read by all, old and young, great and small in the political process; it will enlighten and inspire."
"A timely and relevant study as our human community on planet Earth continues with activities that accelerate climate change with disastrous consequences worldwide, Humanity's Moment: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope offers a justified optimism that we can succeed in mitigating the consequences and impact of our all-too-rapidly changing climate. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, [Humanity's Moment] is a sorely needed and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, governmental, and academic library Environmental Studies collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists."
– Midwest Book Review
"Scientists aren't cyborgs – studying the climate crisis comes with a deep emotional burden. Joëlle Gergis has shouldered that burden and as a result has some useful ideas to share with the rest of us as we try to cope with the reality of what we've already done. It's a key part of trying to limit the damage – physical and spiritual – going forward."
– Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
"In Humanity's Moment, Joëlle Gergis, a leading climate scientist and gifted author, manages to unpack the science behind the climate crisis in a way that is authoritative, gripping, and very personal. Read her engaging, first-hand account of the latest UN climate report to have both hope and inspiration as we tackle the greatest challenge we have faced as a species."
– Michael Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The New Climate War
"This book by a leading scientist is powerful, urgent, passionate, and clear, an explanation of the science of climate change and the kind of changes with which we need to meet it, changes in our energy policy, politics, and very imagining of the natural world and humanity's place in it. With its stubborn and well-grounded hopefulness, Humanity's Moment is a tool for engagement, whether you're new to the issue or could use some bolstering in your commitment."
– Rebecca Solnit, author of Orwell's Roses and Hope in the Dark
"And of all the climate-related books I found this year, one stood above the rest. Joelle Gergis' Humanity's Moment is clear-eyed, wounded, humane and above all, honest. Not many books feel necessary, but here's one that qualifies."
– Tim Winton, author of Cloudstreet and Breath