Book Review: Planet in Peril edited by Isabelle Kenyon

Book Review: Planet in Peril edited by Isabelle Kenyon

“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say— we will never forgive you.”Greta Thunberg, UN Climate Summit, 23 September 2019


On 15 March 2019, students in over 100 countries left school to participate in a climate strike demanding that their governments take action.


“Don’t forget that we are the first generation to know that our world is under threat and
the last who can stop it.
Don’t Forget, Freya Wilson (10), Planet in Peril


Planet in Peril: An Anthology for Our Time (Fly On The Wall Press, edited by Isabelle Kenyon) is a collection of poetry and photography that is a call to action regarding climate change. Organised by poetry about Earth’s ecosystems and human impact on the environment, this book is peppered with hard facts and heartfelt pleas by artists who understand there should be no debate about taking care of the world we inhabit. This glossy hardcover book features poets aged 8 through 80 years old. It contains research from Dr. Michelle Cain (Oxford University ECI), World Wildlife Fund and a commissioned poem from Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Helen Mort.

However, it is the last section of the book titled, Our Future: Young writers and photographers take on climate change, that left the deepest impact on me. Poets like ten year old Freya Wilson desperately want us to understand that they are invested in real change that will ensure the survival of future generations. I fear that their voices will haunt us. But, a haunting points to warnings unheeded and I don’t want it to come to that.


“I wish I could slap each generation’s cheek;
I’m feeling guilt they never carried
The people who never thought
About the stories they would tell
To their grandchildren, can’t apologise
For this wrapped-up, handed-down hell”
The Stories We Will Tell, Emily Freeman (15), Planet in Peril


There are many engaging poems, photos and facts from adults in this anthology. However, it is the young people who lead the charge in their unflinching view of what is happening to the world around us. Voices like Emily Freeman’s remind us that those having the most devastating impact on our ecosystem will likely not be around to deal with the deep consequences of climate change, let alone apologise. Recently, I watched young people talking to a news anchor about climate change on a local news show. The anchor asked them if it was considered to be “fringe” to care about the climate. These young activists responded with grace and wisdom to this pointed question. They assured the interviewer that caring about the climate is important to young people and it should be important to everyone.

When I want to know the truth I look to children. They tend to view the world without filters and often their questions can lead us to new frontiers. Greta Thunberg is not alone as she speaks out on behalf of a generation calling for change. I see comments on a daily basis that try to damage and bully these young voices.
The scientists have spoken. The facts are clear. The children are standing tall. They will inherit a world that has been pillaged and ruined beyond recognition if they do not. I stand with these children.

“Mother, mother there go my locks!
My locks are being used to make the kangaroo’s socks!
Animals reversed, Niamh Hughes (14), Planet in Peril


Niamh is asking us to consider what it would feel like if we were a species under direct threat. What if the animals turned on us? Her words steer the reader to values of compassion and empathy. This young poet reminds me that even my small decisions can have a huge impact on the world around me.

Sometimes changing my lifestyle can feel overwhelming. Am I going to save the world by using a homemade cloth bag for my produce? Where did the cloth come from? Were fossil fuels used to make the plastic toggle on my bag? Probably. Living with intention means being aware of how we interact with the world around us. Our species is deeply interconnected with nature and with this comes responsibility.

These poems ask us to look closer and even beyond the facts of climate change. They ask us to consider the Earth that provides for our existence. Verse after verse pulled me into the emotional impact of what we are doing to our planet.  We mistreat our ecosystem. Children know that and they are begging us to listen.

Book Details

Isabelle Kenyon has undertaken the publishing of an important collection. Kenyon took care in the printing of the book and even the shipping of it, to ensure that there was as little impact on the environment as possible.

Planet in Peril has been touring primary and secondary schools and encouraging young people to write about climate change. It also carries endorsements from Bill McKibben and The Green Party. A portion of all profits go to The Climate Coalition and World Wildlife Fund. This hardcover book is full of beautiful color photographs and thoughtful poetry.

Planet in Peril: An Anthology for Our Time (FSC certified hardback edition) edited by Isabelle Kenyon, is available now through Fly On The Wall Press. The paperback edition will be released on 1 December 2019 via all retailers internationally.