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Publisher's Summary

Suddenly, when the country caught fire, people realised what the government has not: that climate change is killing us.

But climate deaths didn’t start in 2019. Medical officers have been warning of a health emergency as temperatures rise for years, and for at least a decade Australians have been dying from the plagues of climate change - from heat, flood, disease, smoke. And now, pandemic.

In this detailed, considered, compassionate book, Paddy Manning paints us the big picture. He revisits some headline events which might have faded in our memory - the Brisbane Floods of 2011; Melbourne’s thunderstorm asthma fatalities of 2016 - and brings to our attention less well-publicised killers: the soil-borne diseases that amplify after a flood; the fact that heat itself has killed more people than all other catastrophes put together. In each case, he has interviewed scientists to explore the link to climate change and asks how - indeed, whether - we can better prepare ourselves in the future.

Most importantly, Manning has spoken to survivors and the families of victims, creating a monument to those we have already lost. Donna Rice and her 13-year-old son Jordan. Alison Tenner. The Buchanan family. These are stories of humans at their most vulnerable, and also often at their best. In extremis, people often act to save their loved ones above themselves. As Body Count shows, we are now all in extremis, and it is time to act.

Respected journalist Paddy Manning tells these stories of tragedy and loss, heroism and resilience, in a book that is both monument and warning.

WINNER of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction 2021
Longlisted for the 2020 Walkley Book Award

'Body Count puts a human face on the lives impacted by our worsening climate crisis. Most apparent from Body Count is the sense of community throughout the book. These stories of heroism and hope provide a silver lining... FIVE STARS.' (Good Reading)

'Manning looks to past natural disasters that inform present conditions. His journalistic training allows for nuance; there's space set aside to discuss climate change sceptics and deniers even as his central these is unequivocal: that "as the planet hots up, the mercury's grim harvest will threaten more of us". Dedicated to the loved ones of those who've lost their lives in the stories told within, Body Count is at its heart an urgent and passionate rallying call.' (The Saturday Paper)

‘A climate emergency tour de force.' (Dr Bob Brown)

'True stories of heroism and unimaginable loss...Body Count is a brilliant exposition of why we must deal with the climate problem now.' (Ross Garnaut)

'Climate change kills. … Through the accounts of people who have lost so much, Paddy Manning drives home the deeply personal impact of climate change. Governments continue to ignore the impact on climate change on human health at OUR peril. The future of our planet and our future generations depends on everyone playing their part, today.' (Professor Kerryn Phelps)

'A stunningly powerful call to political leaders everywhere who hear the warnings of the devastating impacts of climate change on health but fail to act.' (Dr Helen Haines, independent member for Indi)

‘Moving stories of heroic courage and tragic loss. A pause to reflect on the lives lost and how urgently we need change.’ (David Pocock, former Wallabies captain)

©2020 Paddy Manning (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Australia

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.