68 pages 2 hours read

Ed. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ed. Katharine K. Wilkinson

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Nonfiction | Anthology/Varied Collection | Adult | Published in 2020

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Part 2

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “Advocate”

Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary: “Litigating in a Time of Crisis” by Abigail Dillen

Dillen’s essay compares the grief of the climate emergency to losing her mother to ALS. While she finds moments of peace after her mother’s passing, she wonders how she might find peace in the midst of the climate emergency. If the whole world were to make investments in the future of the planet, everyone’s lives would improve, and we might avoid the worst of climate change. Yet so many choose not to invest their time, money, and efforts in this cause. The United States’s engagement is a critical catalyst for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, white privilege keeps many white people from feeling the threat and urgency of climate change.

Dillen recalls her mother’s work as a lawyer; she focused on fighting for justice and building community. She was a fierce lawyer during a time when few women practiced law. Her example inspired Dillen to go to law school herself.

The late 1960s and 1970s produced a lot of important laws regarding the environment. Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency, revamped the Clean Air Act, passed the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The bedrock laws passed in the 1970s and allowed any person harmed by the government’s actions to sue and hold them accountable (55).