No one can create a change in our whole system on their own. But one single voice could be enough to start a chain reaction that can set everything in motion — if that one voice is powerful enough.

Malena Ernman, p197.

Much of ‘Our House Is On Fire’ is written in the voice of Malena Ernman, mother of Greta Thunberg. Ernman intertwines her family’s personal story (one very much about her two daughters struggling in an education system that fails them) with her understanding of the global climate crisis. Their family in distress is juxtaposed against the planetary distress set against the ticking time bomb of the climate crisis.

Ernman provides a holistic perspective of the climate crisis and argues for social change at every level from changing patriarchal structures to individuals drastically changing their consumer habits. This cautionary book traces Greta Thunberg’s journey from a child refusing to eat to a young woman taking a stand on the strength of her own convictions and research. Powerful and inspirational.

My only criticism is the Eurocentric perspective. Overall, ‘Our House Is On Fire’ is illuminating and immensely readable. A book for our times.

From the publisher:

Every parent says that they would jump in front of a train to save their child. It’s an instinct that no one denies. But when that ‘train’ finally arrives, it is very seldom a real, speeding locomotive . . . 

This is the story of a family led to confront a crisis they had never foreseen. Aged eleven, their eldest daughter has stopped eating and speaking. Alongside diagnoses of autism and selective mutism, her parents slowly become aware of another source for her distress: her imperilled future on a rapidly heating planet. 

Steered by her determination to understand the truth, the family begins to see the deep connections between their own and the planet’s suffering. Against forces that try to silence them, disparaging them for being different, they discover ways to strengthen, heal, and act in the world. And then one day, fifteen-year-old Greta decides to go on strike.

Publication details:

  • Published: 5 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241446744
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99
  • Categories: Science & Medicine, Health & Lifestyle

Buy Links:




Angus & Robertson

Many thanks to Penguin Australia for sending me a copy to review.