This Sweet Earth

Walking with Our Children in the Age of Climate Collapse

This Sweet Earth

Walking with Our Children in the Age of Climate Collapse

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Available July 23, 2024

What does it mean to be a parent in the age of climate change?

We are living in an era of climate collapse. We feel it in small ways: when the snow falls less or the cherry blossoms bloom too early. And in large ways: when our streets flood and entire towns burn to the ground. Climate anxiety touches nearly everything we do, but perhaps nothing so intimately as our parenting. It leaves an impossible task for those of us raising children. What do we tell our kids when the air quality is too bad to go ride bikes? What skills will they need if systems collapse? And what do we do with the fear, grief, and anger we feel as parents?

Parent, activist, and writer Lydia Wylie-Kellermann wrestles with these questions and dares to argue that while the future remains unknown, there is still awe and wonder, love and struggle, gratitude and overwhelming joy to be found. As we raise our children toward this uncertain future, Wylie-Kellermann helps us see that those same children shift our posture, slow us down, and invite us to fall in love with the ground on which we stand. At this turning point in humanity, we can choose to shift our lives away from death-dealing profit systems toward life-giving, generous systems. Here is the moment when we must choose to fight like hell for climate justice. And we can do it by nurturing a deeper relationship with this sweet earth in all its beauty, wonder, and wisdom, walking alongside our children.


"With this precious pollination song, this wind-swept map-book, Wylie-Kellermann invites us to the fugitive vocation of wandering with our children--reminding us that it is in radical accompaniment that we might catch a glimpse of what they've always known, what my daughter seems to know now: that endings are strewn with stranger worlds, and the gift of our journeys lies not in arriving, but in the traveling together."

Báyò Akomolafe, PhD, author of These Wilds Beyond Our Fences

"This Sweet Earth is so desperately needed right now. Read it. Gift it to parents and grandparents and everyone who needs hope during this time of despair. This book is hope for our world and for the next seven generations!"

Randy Woodley, author of Becoming Rooted and co-sustainer Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice

"Wylie-Kellermann invites us to pilgrimage and prayer walk, toddler walk and tween race, to stand in silent reverence and thunder like the holy prophets as we work to protect a world that is fragile, fractured, and still so fecund! Read this book aloud with friends and build community; share it with the kids in your life to start to see nature as they see her; read quietly to yourself, and your tears will cleanse, challenge, and change you."

Frida Berrigan, author of It Runs in the Family

"Lydia Wylie-Kellermann helps us parents--who want more than anything to tell our kids, 'Everything is going to be okay,' when we know it won't--learn how to steer our kids toward light and life."

Cindy Wang Brandt, author of Parenting Forward and You Are Revolutionary

"Wylie-Kellermann surveys the flooded landscape of southwest Detroit, holding fast to her son's hand. The 'blunt edge of climate change' has come home. How do we raise resilient kids on a changing planet? Should we have children at all? Deeply insightful with exquisite, warm language. This gracious book echoes the political vision of the prophet Isaiah: 'And a little child shall lead them.'"

Rose Marie Berger, author of Bending the Arch and senior editor at Sojourners magazine

"While I joyfully welcome new nieces, nephews, and young friends into my life in these increasingly uncertain times, I am so grateful to have Lydia's questions, stories, and grounded example of how to walk forward with intention, curiosity, and hope."

Olly Costello, artist

"When it comes to climate change, we're often reminded of the awful burden human life puts on our planet, and with that can come a real misanthropy. But This Sweet Earth offers stories and examples of how, even in moments of catastrophe, we can continue living together honestly and lovingly as part of creation."

Dean Dettloff and Matt Bernico, hosts of The Magnificast

"Wylie-Kellerman takes a clear-eyed look at the current and coming impacts of global climate change and finds hope in the ordinary: neighborhood-scale mutuality, the fierce example of communities of color that have survived apocalypse already, and the sweet love and wonder of sweaty-headed boys for pet rabbits, bones found in the forest, and garden tomatoes."

Laurel Dykstra, climate justice activist and author of Wildlife Congregations

"The deep tension between environmental despair and joy in the still-lovely-if-tattered creation we inhabit needs to be a source of energy for our efforts on its behalf. This account summons our best angels to the fore!"

Bill McKibben, author of The Comforting Whirlwind

"Grounded in gratitude, Wylie-Kellermann dares to tell the truth as she grieves with her sons the losses brought by the environmental crisis and helps them face even the possibility of near human extinction."

Anne Symens-Bucher, co-founder, Canticle Farm, Oakland, California

"Beautifully written and with poetry sprinkled throughout, This Sweet Earth weaves family stories, social analysis, and practical suggestions to all interested in preparing ourselves and our young people for this time of climate change."

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign and editor of We Cry Justice

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506495125
  • eBook ISBN 9781506495132
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 173
  • Publication Date July 23, 2024