September 1st is going to be a big day for climate activists.  Extinction Rebellion has declared this as the next day of action, with occupations planned for London and several other cities.

I sort of get it, from a tactical point of view, but I sort of don’t.  Feels like a re-run of actions in 2019, with the same old focus on the same old politicians, who we all know are going to be responding in the same old way with a view to doing the same old little as possible.  I seriously hope I am proved wrong, but I worry that XR is struggling to get its mojo back after six months enforced inaction.

And that’s a blow for all of us. I keep trying to put myself in the shoes of any one of the 70 young climate activists whom I’ve been in touch with over the last couple of months.  To celebrate my 70th birthday, I asked a number of colleagues to nominate young climate campaigners they really admired, so that I could send each of them a copy of my new book, Hope in Hell, just to thank them for the inspirational work that they’ve been doing.  I honour all of them – see below.

My principal reason for writing Hope in Hell was the new-found sense of purpose that the Schools Strike movement and the XR protests had given me in the first half of 2019.  Greta Thunberg stood so powerfully (she still does, by the way!) for a different quality of leadership, a speaking-truth-to-power authenticity that cut through so many of our weary campaigning tactics.

This surge of new energy reminded me, quite painfully, of what I felt like nearly fifty years ago. That was my very own ‘Tell the Truth’ moment, revealed through the compelling words of The Ecologist’s Blueprint for Survival and Fritz Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful.  (Books were pretty much all we had to go on in those days!)

For me now, fifty years on, it’s all about intergenerational justice: what older people now owe young people to ensure not only that their world is nothing like as bad as it seems it might be (because of worsening climate and ecosystem impacts), but that it could still be so much better than things are today.

Hence the dedication in Hope in Hell:

For all those

ready to embrace more radical responses

to today’s Climate Emergency.


For young people today

already stepping up

with the kind of conviction, courage and compassion

on which our future now depends.


And for all the rest of us, who now know where our duty lies.


Ahlyah Ali

Lilia Adetoro

Cecilia Alfonso-Eaton

Tayayyibah Aziz

Mya Bambrick

Aaron Befekadu

Louisa Bell

Sacha & Lois Bigwood

Joe Brindle

Sam Butler-Sloss

Francesca Corrieri

Maude Cullen-Mouze

Arjun Dutta

Sophie Eastwood

Tanya Esteban

Ajuub Faraji

Jessica Farrow

Lily Fitzpatrick

Heulwen Flower

Lizzie Freeborn

Rebecca Garner

Emma Greenwood

Tolly Gregory

Aden Harris

Jake Heitland

Tanya Hill

Ummi Hoque

Zamzam Ibrahim

Beth Irving

Blake Jeffcott

Jem Johnson

Kabir Kaul

Anna Kernahan

Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley

Bella Lack

Charlotte Lastoweckyi

Grace Madrell

Betty Pearl Mayo

James McCulloch

Elijah McKenzie-Jackson

Samantha Miles

James Miller

Sarah Moyes

Serena Murdoch

Rachel Osbourne

Dominique Palmer

Hasan Patel

Catriona Patterson

India Pearson

Sophie Peters

Monika Poppy

Kaitlin Price

Jordan Raine

Zoe Rashbash

Joe Redfern

Georgie Riach

Eilidh Robb

Mark Robinson

Abdul Saddiqi

Pip Sayers

Moji Shorrock

Milly Sibson

Mary Skuodas

Anna Taylor

Shiden Tekle

Tori Tsui

Scarlett Westbrook

Besma Whayeb

Alex White

Abi Whitefield

Jake Woodier

Talia Woodin