Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate change, yet their work and knowledge has long been dismissed as unscientific. In her first book Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science, Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec environmental scientist Jessica Hernandez recounts case studies, personal stories and family histories that focus on the knowledge of Indigenous Latin American women and land protectors. Hernandez’s book envisions a future in which Indigenous people are given autonomy over their lands and are treated as prominent leaders in the fight for environmental justice and against climate change.

We talk about the failures of western conservation approaches and speak to Hernandez about the many reasons science needs to start listening to Indigenous voices.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

If you’d like your own copy of Fresh Banana Leaves, you can find it on

Next time, my colleague Rebecca is back with a treat for all true crime fans with A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Substances and the Killers Who Used Them by scientist and teacher Neil Bradbury. He tells the stories of molecules that have caused death and yet can tell us so much about how our bodies function in life.

If you, dear listener, have any thoughts on Fresh Banana Leaves or know of a book you would like us to discuss in an upcoming book club, let us know in the comments below or tweet at us @ChemistryWorld.