FIRE

$28.99$38.99

Margi Prideaux

For release October 2022
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In the fateful Black Summer of 2019/20 wildfires tore through forests and communities across Australia. FIRE: A Message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe chronicles one community’s journey through trauma and climate grief; from disaster into stark awareness of climate chaos; from climate apathy to front-line witnesses of a global climate crisis. A journey billions will suffer as climate disasters escalate.

FIRE is a love letter to a small community who has a message for the world. Essential reading for anyone interested not just in humanity’s future but our present. ‘We have experienced the beginning of the climate change curve and we cannot bequeath this hell to tomorrow.’

Advance praise

Endorsements for FIRE

Fire: A Message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe should be on the bookshelf of every person who is concerned about climate change or who has felt ecological grief. … In Prideaux’s stories and words you can both hear and feel the deep mourning and terrible grief that accompanies the reality of what we are facing. It comes like a hurricane, a tsunami, an avalanche – but one made of fire. … Prideaux’s story is our story; it is a single instance of what the entire human species is facing. … Fire is brilliant and powerful and deeply, deeply moving. It is not a book I will easily forget. And I suspect that as the years of climate collapse roll on, I will think of and turn to it many times.’
—Stephen Harrod, Earth Grief: The Journey Into and Through Ecological Loss

‘Margi Prideaux’s thought-provoking work is an expression of despair, anger and bewilderment that the devastation across part of Australia by the Black Summer bushfires – to an extent not seen before – came after many warnings that fires would be hotter, fiercer and longer. The nation was woefully ill-prepared to deal with them and their aftermath. Margi, a senior academic in species conservation, and her husband lost everything on their beloved Kangaroo Island. Now, she says, the only way forward is not with more failed government policies, but through resolve and action at the grass-roots community level.’
—Alan Atkinson, Three Weeks in Bali

‘FIRE is a sobering analysis of the world’s government strategies to face climate change weaved with unique stories of bravery, community and loss during and after the Black Summer fires. An authentic recollection of disaster recovery everyone needs to read in order to create change together for a safer future.’
—Sabrina Davis, Humans of Kangaroo Island

Endorsements for Prideaux’s previous books

‘Clearsighted, passionate and inspiring, Margi Prideaux has written a vital reimagining of the destiny of environmental activism. Birdsong After the Storm is a clarion call for civil society to step forward and demand greater power. This important and wise book will reshape the thinking of activists, environmentalists, NGOs and policy makers.’
–Micah White, The End of Protest.

‘An extraordinary book responding with experiential brilliance to the violent storm raging across the whole of planet earth. Writing with the deep knowledge of a scholar, the engaged fervor of a veteran activist, and the wisdom of a poetic visionary Margi Prideaux has produced an inspiring text for our time enlivened by its focus on the frightening ordeal we humans inevitably share with the animal wonders of nature also entrapped in this predatory capitalist world. Without exaggeration, a thrilling and indispensable guide to the future.’
–Professor Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Fellow of the Orfalea Center of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Power Shift: On the New Global Order; and (Re)Imagining Humane Global Governance.

‘This work by Dr Prideaux, Birdsong After the Storm, is the exemplar of what happens when you combine more than two decades of cutting edge conservation at the practical level by a leading NGO, and critical thinking of what solutions, at the theoretical level, to some of the most pressing problems of our generation are required. This book is radical. From the personal journeys at the micro level, to the clashing of states at the macro level, this work will make you think as philosophy, politics and law are all tightly weaved into a convincing narrative. This is an excellent piece of scholarship.
–Professor Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato. International Environmental Law, Policy and Ethics; and Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law.

Birdsong After the Storm offers a call to action.  It powerfully makes the case for expanding the parameters of governance beyond states and corporations to include an enhanced, energized, networked civil society capable of caring for local communities and the more-than-human world.  Marrying a scholar’s analysis with a poet’s sensitivity, the book is essential reading for understanding both the constraints and opportunities for creating a more just and ecologically vibrant world.  Given that the stakes involve nothing less than the life-support system of the planet, we would be wise to heed Margi Prideaux’s deep understanding and astute counsel.’
–Professor Paul Wapner, American University. Living through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism.

‘A poignant, inspiring, empowering and timely book that shines light on the global conservation issues of our time. It closed the gap between academia and grassroots conservation efforts offering a true insight into the world of those fighting tooth and nail to save our planet. I learned of effort, struggle, triumphs, political and social challenges, but most of all I learned there is hope. This is an outstanding book, written by an extraordinary woman.’
–Donna Mulvenna, Wild Roots Coming Alive in the French Amazon.

‘Margi Prideaux’s career of civil society activism gives her profound insights into why so many well-meaning international conservation efforts are failing so many communities and so many species. Her spirited and brave call for truly collaborative governance with local communities deserves a full airing in the boardrooms of the big NGOs.
–Professor Peter Dauvergne, University of British Columbia. Canada.

In this learned and passionate book, environmentalist Margi Prideaux has an indispensable message: a vast ecological storm is coming, and global governance is failing meet it. At once a window onto civil society and a critique of elite diplomacy, this book’s powerful call for a new earth-centred democracy cannot be ignored.’
–Professor Anthony Burke, University of New South Wales. Australia.

‘Dr Prideaux’s life time of work as an environmentalist and community advocate has been combined in this extraordinary book. Passionate, compelling and inspiring. The beautifully told unique stories of people and place and the pathways to the conclusions are compelling and empowering. At a time of global unease with leadership and governance, it challenges the norm and gives hope for the future. It is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.’
–Jayne Bates, OAM, Former Mayor, Kangaroo Island Local Government. Australia.

Birdsong After the Storm is a wake-up call on all who are concerned about nature’s gift to humanity. The use of birdsong is a metaphor for action. The book is a must read by all nature lovers at all levels.’
–Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Former Chair of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Environment Programme/Convention on Migratory Species. Germany/Ghana.

Meta

Title: Fire: A Message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe
Author: Prideaux, M.
Hardback, 6 x 9″ (229 x 152mm), ISBN – 9781925856552
Paperback, 6 x 9″ (229 x 152mm), ISBN – 9781925856569
eBook, ISBN – 9781925856576
Page count: 358

Long description

In more and more countries people are voting for urgent climate action at the ballot box. Australia, long the pariah of climate change negotiations, has not been immune. In 2022 voters sent a seismic demand for their government to adapt to the changing climate being visited upon the Australian landscape. They rightly have high expectations. The media and politicians often shorthand this action to ‘net zero’ but limiting action to emissions alone fatally misses what people want. Yes, people, from across the world and from all walks of life, need a resilient future secured for our children’s children, but they also want their communities to be safe from disaster right now. Net zero does not provide that present-tense safety. Net zero is only about preventing things from getting exponentially worse.

In 2019 and 2020 fires ripped across Kangaroo Island’s iconic landscape in the catastrophic continent-wide event known as Black Summer. In that fatal season, wildfire destroyed a globally unprecedented percentage of continental forest biome. Across Australia 190,000 square kilometres were decimated, the lives of 33 people tragically lost, over 3,000 houses destroyed, and more than 100,000 farm animals and 1 billion native animals wiped out. Confronted by a hellfire that burned too hot to contain, even the oldest souls within Kangaroo Island’s small community gravely whispered, ‘never before.’

The real strength of author and academic Margi Prideaux’s book, FIRE: A Message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe, is that it not only captures the emotional journey she and her husband experienced after losing their home and farm during that tragic season, but also chronicles a community’s journey through trauma and climate grief; from disaster into stark awareness of climate chaos; from climate apathy to front-line witnesses of a global climate crisis. A journey billions more people will suffer as climate disasters escalate.

FIRE is a love letter to a small community who has a message for the world. The time for hollow words and targets and plans is over. Communities need to take back their control and consciously adapt to living in a world with more apocalyptic wildfires, killer heat domes, catastrophic rain bombs, lethal floods and mudslides, deadly droughts, and violent sandstorms.

Essential reading for anyone interested not just in humanity’s future but our present. ‘We have experienced the beginning of the climate change curve and we cannot bequeath this hell to tomorrow.’

Reviews

Endorsements for FIRE

Fire: A Message from the Edge of Climate Catastrophe should be on the bookshelf of every person who is concerned about climate change or who has felt ecological grief. Most especially it needs to be on the desk of everyone who is studying and writing about what we are facing. (Bill McKibben and Kim Stanley Robinson, pay attention.) It is an egregious failure on their part if it is not.
FIRE explores the real impacts of climate change on individual human beings and their community. In Prideaux’s stories and words you can both hear and feel the deep mourning and terrible grief that accompanies the reality of what we are facing. It comes like a hurricane, a tsunami, an avalanche – but one made of fire. And nothing, nothing at all can stand in the way of fire unchained; there is no technocratic fix for the great powers of Earth when they are freed to do as they wish. Unchained Air, Earth, Fire, and Water is what we are facing now. Their power, as media reports tell us every day, dwarf our own.
Make no mistake, Prideaux’s story is our story; it is a single instance of what the entire human species is facing. And it has, at its core an emotional dimension that is nearly unbearable in its impact. It forces those of us who are caught on the front lines into an existential re-examination of our selves and our relation to a natural world teetering on the edge of complete collapse.
Unlike most articles and books on climate change Prideaux does not offer simplistic or techno-utopian solutions. Differently than so many she has turned her face to the truth, that climate change is already here, that tipping points have been passed, that there is nothing that can be done to stop what it happening. And from that she arrives at the core truth of what this means: we must adapt and we will have to do that on our own. She is clear that this does not mean adaptation in the old sense of using the rational mind to exert control over nature but rather coming once again to accept that there are forces here far greater than ourselves, that it is the 4.5 billion year old life form we call Earth who makes the rules here, that we are ecological beings on an ecological planet, and from that, there is no escape. Our own climate of mind must change; that is the only way as a species that we can adapt and survive. In Prideaux’s story you will see what true adaptation involves.
I do not say these things lightly, I mean every word. Fire is brilliant and powerful and deeply, deeply moving. It is not a book I will easily forget. And I suspect that as the years of climate collapse roll on, I will think of and turn to it many times.’
—Stephen Harrod, Earth Grief: The Journey Into and Through Ecological Loss

Author

Margi Prideaux

International negotiator, academic, and author about wildlife and wild places