Body Count by Paddy Manning
As I write this review, I’m conscious of that we’re about to clock twelve months since the onset of the fires in New South Wales that would get out of control and eventually devastate the landscape, communities, and biodiversity across that state. Those fires started because airborne dust particles created static which led to the formation of dry lightning. When the dry lightning struck, it ignited a landscape incredibly dry from years of little to no substantial rainfall. The conditions that led to these fires in NSW – and also the fires in Victoria and South Australia of 2019–20, along with those of Black Saturday in 2009 – are attributable to climate crisis.
Indeed the occurrence of such disasters (including floods), and other health-affecting phenomena (heatwaves, thunderstorm asthma, and pandemics) noticeably prevalent in the last decade, all pose significant risk to humans. In Body Count, Paddy Manning explores the connections between climate crisis and human health. He mounts a case to reframe the dialogue around climate crisis in terms of risk management and mitigation. Using examples of climate-related disasters that unfortunately incurred loss of life, Manning seeks to understand and presents cogent reasons for concerted action against climate crisis. Climate crisis costs lives. The physical and mental health of Australians and people around the world are at stake, a fact established by medical professionals, yet ignored by governments (including our own).
At the crux of this book is the call: we must collectively and cooperatively work to counter climate crisis for the security of our health and our planet. This book represents an important contribution to the climate crisis discussion. The last twenty years may represent a tiny blip to the Anthropocene era but anymore wasted time will be costly: to lives, food security, and biodiversity, now and in the medium to long-term future.