The Conceivable Future: Planning Families and Taking Action in the Age of Climate Change


Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
5.81 X 8.67 X 1.09 inches | 1.27 pounds

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About the Author

Meghan Kallman is an environmental activist. She has taught college in the Rhode Island state prison, and was elected to the city council in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where she served two terms before winning a seat in the Rhode Island State Senate in 2020, a position she still holds. Meghan is on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in the graduate School for Global Inclusion and Social Development. As a sociologist and researcher, she has published many peer-reviewed research articles, as well as two books, The Third Sector: Community Organizations, NGOs, and Nonprofits, and The Death of Idealism: Development and Anti-Politics in the Peace Corps. Alongside colleague Stephanie Malin, she recently published Building Something Better: Environmental Crises and the Promise of Community Change.Josephine Ferorelli is a writer, visual artist, and yoga instructor, and a longtime Chicago resident. After participating in Occupy Wall Street in 2011 Josephine began to write and edit climate coverage for She collaborated with photographer Danny Lyon on a book called Burn Zone (2016), and in 2016 she wrote an account of her own arrest, with forty other activists, outside a BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Josephine also writes about the climate crisis from a yogic and buddhist perspective on her blog, In 2014, Meghan and Josephine co-founded the organization called Conceivable Future. Conceivable Future's work has appeared in media outlets including The Atlantic, CBC, BBC, The Independent, The Nation, Telemundo, USA Today, The Irish Times, Vice, Salon, Yahoo News, Vox, The Years Project, WNYC, The Huffington Post, NBC News, NPR, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times. Meghan and Josephine contributed an essay in the collection Motherhood In Precarious Times (2018).


This is a book full of feeling as much as politics; a rigorous, compassionate and empowering companion which holds its readers close while navigating the hardest of questions.

--Brett Story, filmmaker, The Hottest August (2019)

Questions about the challenges and ethical implications associated with bringing new life into a world torn by dissension and climate change have haunted prospective parents for decades. So have entreaties to practice responsible family planning, especially in the face of dwindling resources and population growth. This balanced and empathetic offering comes from Kallman and Ferorelli, cofounders of the Conceivable Future organization, a grassroots movement devoted to giving people, especially women, a platform to share their stories. Their thoughtful and engaging narrative addresses multiple facets of emotional, social, economic, and political concerns (cultural expectations, adoption, reproductive activism), with helpful navigational features (self-checklists, flowcharts, step-by-step action guides) and numerous quotes and anecdotes from specialists, commentators, and individuals seeking answers. Distinctive threads run throughout: there are no such things as right or wrong answers; everyone has the right to make judgment-free choices, and everyone has the capability to change the future. The concluding chapters ("The Big No"; "The Big Yes") pull everything together, and multiple resources cited throughout the book combine with detailed chapter notes and a lengthy bibliography to offer readers considerable assistance. This reassuring consideration of a deeply personal matter teams seamlessly with a reasoned, emphatic call to action.

-- "Booklist, Starred Review"

A remarkable book, The Conceivable Future: Planning Families and Taking Action in the Age of Climate Change sheds fresh light on a vitally important subject. The impact of climate change on future generations, and the necessity for action may sound familiar, but they are rarely discussed with as much depth and intelligence as will be found in this volume. In lucid, conversational prose the authors bring together the latest scientific data, offer a fresh analysis of the issues, and present an original, down-to-earth approach to organizing. An invaluable source.

--Carolyn Eisenberg, professor of US History and American Foreign Policy at Hofstra University, co-founder of Brooklyn Parents for Peace (1983-present)

The climate crisis is a crisis of reproduction. Reproductive justice is climate action. Kallman and Ferorelli have created a guidebook for climate action that recognizes these realities, and which is fierce, funny, open-hearted and never prescriptive.

--Meehan Crist, writer in residence in Biological Sciences, Columbia University

Kallman and Ferorelli provide a compelling and compassionate framework for working through seemingly insoluble dilemmas, beginning with the decision to have a child, but not ending there. The book ends with a commonsense guide on how to make change happen.

--Amitav Ghosh, author of The Nutmeg's Curse; Parables for a Planet in Crisis

I know so many young people trying to figure out what a burning world means for their most important choices--they email me often, to ask if they should have kids. Now I'll be able to send them this wonderful book, which manages to be both shrewd and kind; it understands on the deepest level that when we think of the world only as a series of individual decisions, those decisions become overwhelming, and that the only alternative is to build joyful and humane societies that work for all of us, including those who haven't gotten here yet!

--Bill McKibben, Founder of Third Act and author of The Flag, The Cross and The Station Wagon

Brilliant, wise, and humane, TheConceivable Future is a fierce declaration of love for the world our children will live in. If the question "What can I do?" makes you feel lost in the weeds, this book will plant a garden in your mind.

--Jonathan Meiburg, author of A Most Remarkable Creature

This book is like finding a friend when you are lost in a wilderness of despair and disinformation. With compassion, radical honesty, and humor, Kallman and Ferorelli guide us through one of the most heart-wrenching and necessary questions of our time: should we bring children into a world destabilized by climate crisis? Instead of offering simple answers, the authors help us navigate uncertainty and find the collective will to change what's possible for the families we choose and the communities we embrace.

--Madeline Ostrander, author of At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth

Pioneers of family-focused climate activism Kallman and Ferorelli offer a powerful, timely correction to the climate/baby conversation. The Conceivable Future takes on tender questions with insight, compassion, and much-needed humor.

--Britt Wray, author of Generation Dread and director of the Special Initiative on Climate Change and Mental Health, Stanford Medicine

Conceivable Future is a manifesto for parenting with purpose in the era of climate upheaval.

--Michael Levitin, author of Generation Occupy