I Want a Better Catastrophe

Navigating the Climate Crisis with Grief, Hope, and Gallows Humor

Table of contents

Prologue: It's the End of the World. Now What?

Chapter 1: Impossible News
   Interview: Guy McPherson "If we’re the last of our species, let’s act like the best of our species.”
   Interview: Tim DeChristopher “It’s too late— which means there’s more to fight for than ever.”
Chapter 2: The Five Stages of Climate Grief
   Interview: Meg Wheatley —“Give in without giving up.”
Chapter 3: Existential Crisis Scenario Planning
   Interview: Gopal Dayaneni — “We’re going to suffer, so let’s distribute that suffering equitably.”
Chapter 4: How to Be White at the End of the World
Chapter 5: Is There Hope
   Interview: Joanna Macy — “Be of service not knowing whether you’re a hospice worker or a midwife.”
   Interview: Jamey Hecht — “Witness the whole human story through tragic eyes.”
Chapter 6: What Is Still Worth Doing
   Interview: adrienne maree brown — “How do we fall as if we were holding a child on our chest?”
   Interview: Robin Wall Kimmerer — “How can I be a good ancestor?”
Chapter 7: Experiments on the Verge
Chapter 8: Another End of the World Is Possible

Epilogue: Now Is When You Are Needed Most
Epi-Epilogue: Passing the Torch
Appendix: Stuff You Can (Still) Do

An existential manual for tragic optimists, can-do pessimists, and compassionate doomers


An existential manual for tragic optimists, can-do pessimists, and compassionate doomers

WITH GLOBAL WARMING projected to rocket past the 1.5°C limit, lifelong activist Andrew Boyd is thrown into a crisis of hope, and off on a quest to learn how to live with the "impossible news" of our climate doom.

He searches out eight leading climate thinkers — from collapse-psychologist Jamey Hecht to grassroots strategist adrienne maree brown, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, and Indigenous botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer — asking them: "Is it really the end of the world? and if so, now what?"

With gallows humor and a broken heart, Boyd steers readers through their climate angst as he walks his own. From storm-battered coastlines to pipeline blockades and "hopelessness workshops," he maps out our existential options, and tackles some familiar dilemmas: "Should I bring kids into such a world?" "Can I lose hope when others can't afford to?" and "Why the fuck am I recycling?"

He finds answers that will surprise, inspire, and maybe even make you laugh in this insightful and irreverent guide for achieving a "better catastrophe."


  • BRONZE | 2023 Living Now Book Awards: Social Activism / Charity


  • Commended, Living Now Book Awards 2023


"Urgent, sobering reading."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The most realistic yet least depressing end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it guide out there."
Foreword Reviews, starred review

"The book is stunning. By delivering its devastating news in imaginative, engaging, and sometimes even hilarious ways, it marks the emergence of a new and genuinely exciting kind of realism."
Brian Eno, musician and environmentalist

"A profound meditation on how to live in a world on the brink of collapse. Boyd moves gracefully beyond the usual talk of hope and despair to provide a startling vision of a future shaped not only by chaos, but also by compassionate care."
Jenny Offill, author, Weather and Dept. of Speculation

"A heartfelt and humorous take on how to show up at 'the end of the world as we know it'."
Britt Wray, PhD, Human and Planetary Health Fellow, Stanford University and author, Generation Dread

"I Want a Better Catastrophe is unlike anything else I've ever read about climate change, and how to keep living through it. For a start it's extremely funny. It is also angry, passionate, curious, honest, surprising, and very well-researched. Beyond its signature gallows humor, it brings a kind of deeply felt "gallows love" for the beauty and wonder of the world, and how we must fight to defend it."
Nick Hunt, co-director, Dark Mountain Project, and author, Outlandish

"Time is clearly short—but I Want a Better Catastrophe proves it's never too late for a good laugh, a good cry, and a good call to action!"
Bill McKibben, author, The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

"Through expert interviews, compassionate analysis, and deliciously dark wit, Boyd beats a path through the messy emotional and psychological terrain we must travel in order to face the future."
Onnesha Roychoudhuri, author, The Marginalized Majority

"A rowdy, taboo-busting get-together of climate emergency thinkers."
Josephine Ferorelli, co-founder, Conceivable Future

"A must read for its wit, and for the insights it offers."
Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky