Temperatures, sea levels, and concern over the planet’s future are all rising. But how do you tell the difference between fact and fiction, and what can you do to make a difference? The following are the books you should read to combat climate change.
How to Save Our Planet by Mark Maslin (2021)
Earth System Science Professor Mark Maslin presents what we know about our planet and, according to its title, how to save it in this clear, handbook-style guide to our planet’s future. Maslin provides readers with the most up-to-date knowledge on climate change, sustainability, and the current climate in simple, approachable prose, before issuing a clarion call to action. He claims that we have everything we need to save the earth except the right politics and policies, but he is optimistic about their future as well.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates (2021)
With the status of the climate issue and the amount of time we ostensibly have to try to solve the problems we’ve produced on the world, it’s easy to feel hopeless. But there is one individual who understands what technology and science can do to improve things and believes it can be done.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, a new book by Bill Gates, is a clear-eyed, realistic, and energizing look at what we can do to rescue the earth.
The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future by David Wallace-Wells (2019)
The Uninhabitable Earth rips through rumors, speculation, and side questions to give a sobering reality check – not of what’s to come, but of what’s currently here. The Uninhabitable Earth is a scary elaboration of Wallace-Wells’ NY Mag essay, which was the first piece of climate change journalism to go viral, and it aims to shake us out of our complacency rather than sugarcoat the ecological crisis we face.
On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein (2019)
A decade’s worth of essays, reports, and speeches on climate change from world-renowned activist and writer Naomi Klein, paired with modern speculations, arguments, and scary ultimatums. Klein delves into the crises’ political issues, from emissions reductions to white nationalism, and explains why such movements will have a long-term impact on people most impacted by the crisis.
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (2019)
Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old Swedish student who organized a school strike to protest climate change, became a global icon of the environmental movement in late 2018. It spawned a wave of similar strikes and protests around the world, inspiring millions of youths and students to take action against the climate disaster. Thunberg, a renowned orator, has attracted crowds everywhere from the United Nations to street marches with her unique ‘tell it like it is’ attitude. For the first time, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference captures her fiery and passionate remarks.
Less Is More by Jason Hickel (2020)
How Degrowth Will Save the World, a compelling, revelatory book by economic anthropologist Jason Hickel, lays out the simple yet unequivocal answer to the dilemma of climate crisis and how to construct a sustainable future: degrowth. Less Is More is a roadmap to our future and how to defend it, at once a well-researched piece of reporting, a myth-buster of capitalist truisms about ‘green growth,’ and an urgent cry to arms.
This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook (2019)
With their global protests demanding governmental accountability for the climate problem, Extinction Rebellion made headlines this year. ‘It’s too disruptive!’ politicians and police officers exclaimed, appalled by the disruptions to their daily lives. Is that true, though? When do we, the people, say “enough is enough” to polluted seas, flooding, toxic air, wildfires, superstorms, drought, famine, and climate refugees – not to mention the sixth mass extinction we are currently experiencing? This handbook contains all you need to know to create your own grassroots movement – or even insurrection – and was authored by prominent members, specialists, and MPs.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
Silent Spring, initially published in 1962, showed the widespread use of pesticides as a cause of flora and wildlife devastation. Despite widespread outrage and requests for restrictions from chemical companies and conglomerates, the book managed to shift public perceptions, educate the public, and influence policies. Carson was reviled, but she fought back vehemently, seeking answers and, most importantly, accountability for the destruction of the natural world. Silent Spring went on to inspire a generation of environmentalists and eventually resulted in the worldwide ban of dangerous pesticides (including DDT).
Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we Made by Gaia Vince (2015)
Gaia Vince, a British journalist and presenter, travels the world to explore the real-time impact of the climate crisis on our planet, as well as what it means to cross the Holocene-Anthropocene geological divide. Vince tells the stories of everyday people in isolated, climate-affected areas who are defying the odds and trying to rebalance the scales so that their communities can thrive.
Our Planet by Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey, Fred Pearce (2019)
With its message that our choices over the next 20 years would decide the future of the natural world, a companion to the Netflix documentary series that helps shift mindsets and ignite dialogue around the climate catastrophe. Our Planet features a preface by David Attenborough and 320 pages of magnificent photographs from the series, exploring how human activity has influenced the lives and environments of thousands of species.
99 Maps to Save the Planet by Katapult (2021)
This book – developed and selected by map specialists KATAPULT – reveals a host of our planet’s most important concerns, from global greenhouse gases to the number of trees we would have to plant to make our globe carbon-neutral, through 99 maps that range from entertaining to horrifying. There’s no better place to start if you’ve ever wanted to truly see the challenges affecting the planet – such as the amount of the Earth’s surface presently covered by concrete.
Atmosphere of Hope: Solutions to the Climate Crisisby Tim Flannery (2015)
Professor Tim Flannery, palaeontologist, conservationist, and prominent climate change writer, reminds readers that we still have the potential to make changes in our daily lives, from emission reductions to developing technology. Atmosphere of Optimism strikes a good mix between laying forth the harsh reality of our position and providing much-needed hope for the future. Flannery describes what might happen if temperatures increase above the UN’s 2°C threshold; while pessimistic, he also offers suggestions for how we should move, including fossil fuel reduction and the potential for carbon removal from the atmosphere.
We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Starts at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer (2019)
The relationship between animal agriculture and the climate catastrophe has long been overlooked, yet social efforts like lowering meat consumption might help reduce carbon emissions significantly. The bestselling author ofEating Animalshas developed a new take on the climate catastrophe, laying out what we can do to help, beginning with the food chain. With Safran Foer’s trademark wit, he explores and debates our personal aversion to giving up creature comforts while showing the profound and immediate consequences for the earth.
The Plundered Planet by Paul Collier (2011)
Paul Collier, a world-renowned economist, makes a suggestion for a shift in global policy that will reduce poverty and environmental damage, particularly in emerging countries. Collier analyzes sensible and realistic approaches to deal with overpopulation and abuse of our natural resources, based on critical analysis and thorough study.
Drawdown by Paul Hawken (2018)
This New York Times best-seller changes the script, focusing on the future to describe daring climate-change solutions. Environmentalist, entrepreneur, and journalist Paul Hawken founded Project Drawdown to bring together a broad coalition of renowned scholars, scientists, and policymakers to effect serious change. He proposes ideas to make a positive difference for the earth, from revolutionizing food production to educating girls in low-income countries.
Being Ecological by Timothy Morton (2018)
Timothy Morton, a philosopher, sets out to challenge conventional ecological thought by studying our true relationship with the natural world. Morton highlights our sometimes unnoticed ties to nature and showcases how we can and should expand our thinking to better grasp humans’ place in the universe by avoiding a strong scientific narrative and embracing a more informal, conversational tone.