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A lot of people are talking about climate change, but making sense of it all can be hard. Perhaps you’re wondering how it causes extreme weather events. Maybe you want to become an environmental activist and don’t know where to start. Or, you’re curious about the science behind climate change solutions. No matter your intent, this list of books will give you a better understanding of climate change, its effects on us and the environment, and how we can fight it.
Some of the books on our list talk about climate change more generally, like Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, or This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate. Others examine climate crisis with a more narrow lens, such as All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis and Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet.
Whether you choose to read one or all of them, these books will certainly help you learn more about climate change.
Edited by Paul Hawken, this book is a collection of solutions written by international researchers, professors, and scientists. The book details one hundred realistic actionable initiatives that can enhance human health, security, and prosperity for everyone. This includes the use of clean energy, education for girls in lower-income communities, and land-use practices that pull carbon out of the air.
The book offers hope as Hawken believes that global warming will slow down significantly within the next thirty years if the proposed solutions are implemented on a global scale.
This Changes Everything asks readers to look at capitalism, rather than carbon, as the cause of climate change.
At some point in our lives, we’ve heard that eliminating the use of fossil fuel is impossible, and that humans are too selfish to take drastic action against climate change. Klein debunks these assumptions and provides examples of how we are succeeding. In the book, you’ll learn why our current economic system has failed and why we need to create something better for the sake of our planet.
In a grim look at the climate crisis, author David Wallace-Wells illustrates how rising sea levels only scratch the surface of the world’s climate troubles. We’ll also experience food shortages, year-round wildfires, refugee crises, and floods. Without drastic action, Wallace-Wells explains that some of our planet may become uninhabitable.
This will transform our politics, culture, relationship to technology, and even our sense of history. This book shows the bleak reality of climate change and what will happen if we don’t act now.
There have been five mass extinctions throughout Earth’s history. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth one which would be more devastating than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. But instead of an asteroid, humans will be held responsible.
In this book, New York Times writer Elizabeth Kolber, compiles research from different disciplines and details how many species are endangered or already extinct due to human actions. By sharing these occurrences, this book shows us that the sixth extinction is happening right before our eyes and will be humanity’s greatest legacy. In doing so, it forces readers to reflect on what it means to be human.
Author and award-winning geobiologist, Hope Jahren, pens an open letter to humanity about the growing climate crisis. In the letter, Jahren praises humankind’s ambitious spirit, which has resulted in great accomplishments like the taming of wild crops, curing of diseases, and journeys to the moon. But she also explains how our key inventions and quest for more has resulted in excess, which is warming our planet. Providing a glimmer of hope, Jahren shares the tools that can help us fight climate change.
The Story of More provides a great introduction on how climate change is linked to human consumption.
Nearly all of the information we have about climate change, including how to stop it, was provided in 1979. Nathaniel Rich shares this in his book Losing Earth, which is a continuation of his groundbreaking chronicle published in The New York Times Magazine.
Losing Earth explores the story of climate change with more detail while highlighting the rise in climate denial and the fossil fuel industry’s effort to derail climate policies. The story continues into the present day, and shares how we are dealing with our past failures and what we can do to stop the climate crisis.
Author Naomi Klein returns to this list with another must-read. The book gathers Klein’s essays that provide dire warnings of what the future holds if we refuse to act now. From humankind’s history and evolution to social justice, On Fire dives into different topics and details how bold climate action can be a blueprint for a just and thriving society.
Offering hopeful glimpses of a better future, Klein makes the case that the only way to end the crisis is by transforming the systems that produced it in the first place.
Edited by climate leaders, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Keeble Wilkinson, this book highlights a growing movement in the climate change conversation: feminine leadership that is more faithfully feminist, compassionate, and creative. To change our planet’s trajectory, Johnson and Wilkinson argue that we must listen to women and make room for their thoughts and ideas. Their expertise offers diverse insights and solutions to the climate crisis.
All We Can Save gathers some of the United States most insightful female voices – ranging from scientists, farmers, and climate activists, to produce a more inclusive, nuanced, and solution-oriented conversation about climate change. Merging essays with poetry and art, the book discusses why opening up the conversation to everyone can wield a positive impact on our natural world and future generations.
Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future takes readers on a journey. It explores the new world humans are creating, as well as the talented individuals who are trying to study and save it. We meet engineers that are turning carbon emissions into stone in Iceland and Australian researchers who are developing a super coral that can live on a hotter globe. We’re also introduced to physicists that are examining the possibility of shooting tiny diamonds into the atmosphere to cool the Earth.
Under a White Sky explores how human action is both responsible for the climate crisis and the key to saving our planet.
Author McKenzie Funk features a different perspective on the climate crisis; how business booms from it. The book explores three different categories of the climate crisis: melt, drought, and deluge. Funk argues that the market and specific entrepreneurial people use these forces as ways to increase profit rather than heal the planet.
In each category, Mackenzie Funk offers different examples. For melt, he includes Israel’s process of creating artificial snow, which is used to prolong the ski season. For drought, we learn about private firefighters working for insurance companies in California – a state known for its frequent forest fires. For deluge (or superstorms), the book reveals American scientists patenting hurricane defenses.
Funk warns that by letting climate change go unchecked, we are choosing to adapt to a warming world, which some will benefit from. However, much of the planet will suffer in the process.
Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whittaker analyzes climate change through a unique, but often ignored lens of “Indigenized environmental justice.”
The book highlights the tense history between Indigenous Peoples, government, and corporate entities through treaty violations, food and water security, and protection of sacred sites. It also delves into the 2016 Standing Rock protest, highlighting how little most know about the historical tensions between Indigenous Peoples and environmental activism.
Throughout As Long as Grass Grows, Gilio-Whitaker urges environmentalists to look at the history of Indigenous resistance for wisdom and inspiration as we continue to fight climate change together.
In this book, Bill Gates shares what he’s learnt about climate change and what needs to be done to fight it.
The book proposes that climate change can be addressed in meaningful ways like investing in research and technology. Drawing on his expertise in bringing innovations to market, Gates details existing technologies that are already reducing greenhouse gas emissions, where new inventions are needed, and who is currently working on these critical innovations. Despite the climate problem being urgent, Gates believes that humanity can come together to invent carbon-zero technologies and avoid more damage to the environment.
The U.S. scientific community has been leaders in certain areas of research including public health and environmental science. But a small group within this community are purposely spreading doubt and denying the dangers surrounding things like tobacco, global warming, and acid rain. Scientific historians, Naomi Oreskers and Erik M. Conway, use this book to uncover a corrupt subset of the scientific community.
The story follows a group of scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections to politics and various industries, who ran campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge about climate change for over four decades. These same individuals also have connections to denying the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer and coal smoke to ocean acidification. This book is a stark reminder that contradiction sells, and these scientists are supplying it.
This picture book, created by Jeanette Winter, follows sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg’s meteoric rise from lone protestor to world-renowned climate activist. In the book, we follow Thunberg’s journey of how she learned about climate change, compelling her to skip school every Friday to protest and demand change outside the Swedish Parliament. Winter also illustrates how the protests have transformed into a worldwide climate movement.
Our House Is on Fire shows how the biggest changes can come from young people.
These books will definitely motivate you to make a difference. If you’re not sure where to start, a great first step can be supporting the Protect the Environment Fund. Environmental conservation is a key aspect in reducing the effects of climate change. This fund includes over five-hundred different charities, who focus on nurturing the health, diversity, and sustainability of the planet we call home.
A donation to the Protect the Environment Fund can boost these efforts including preserving and conserving our natural parks, trails, forest conservancies, wildlife societies, and much more.
Our actions are destroying our planet, and we need to make drastic changes before it’s too late. Donate today and help create a greener world together.