10 Climate Change Books To Help You Understand Our Environment

Book Riot - 

In case you haven’t heard, a climate disaster is looming. The effects of climate change—like rising seas and intensifying weather patterns—are already here. Even though the worst is yet to come, there are still things that we can do to fight for our planet. One thing you can do right now is to educate yourself by reading climate change books.


By the year 2050, Earth’s population will be closing in on 10 billion people. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Journalist Lisa Palmer’s book Hot Hungry Planet digs into the possibilities of famine and food scarcity and the innovations that might save us all from hunger.
What will the future look like? The past may have a clue. Over the ages of our planet’s history, there have been five mass extinction events, one of which all but wiped out the dinosaurs. In the Anthropocene period, the next casualty may be us. In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert takes a closer look at the past to tell us more about our future.


We’re getting more used seeing images of stranded polar bears and hearing about our dwindling bee population, but most reporting on climate change leaves out what it can do to our own health. Linda Marsa’s Fevered delves into the increasing rate of illnesses associated with global warming, like asthma, allergies, and mosquito-borne diseases, just to name a few.
The past few generations have taken advantage of the planet, polluting the oceans, ravaging the land, and filling our skies with smoke. What were we thinking? In The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh argues that we weren’t, we have been deliberately blind to the disasters looming in our future—until now.


One of the scariest things about plastic is that it’s kind of immortal. It can churn in the ocean for hundreds of years before it finally breaks down. Humans fell in love with this toxic material in 1950s, and since then, it has managed to work its way into almost everything we touch. Susan Freinkel recounts this love story in Plastic by digging deeper into the ways plastic affects our lives and the life of the planet.
Originally published in 1988, activist Vandana Shiva’s seminal work, Staying Alive, explores the relationship between women and our natural world. In many places, the freedom of the women is directly related to a country’s outlook. More recent research has shown that women’s rights directly impacts sustainability. You could say that Shiva is the mother of that idea.


Research has shown that climate denialists do, in fact, have brains. It’s just that they haven’t been using them. We have been manipulated, and logic has been twisted to distort the truth. In The Madhouse Effect, climate scientist Michael E. Mann comes together with cartoonist Tom Toles to create a funny, sad portrait of the mad world we’re living in.
From the author of The Shock Doctrine, this book delves into the war between capitalism and the planet. In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein argues something that many of us already know: we have to change our destructive habits that are rooted in capitalism. It may be the only way we can save our environment before it’s too late.


Not everyone will experience climate change equally. The poor and working class are already disproportionately affected by the problems of climate change. In Dumping in Dixie, Robert D. Bullard, a professor and environmental justice activist, asserts that living in a healthy environment is a right for all Americans, regardless of their race, class, or social standing.
For years, poor and minority communities have found themselves becoming the dumping ground for businesses hoping to get rid of waste on the path of least resistance. Shockingly, entrenched segregation and zoning laws have paved the way to make this possible, making communities of color sick for years—literally.


Vince travels the world to see what extraordinary things ordinary people are doing to adapt and innovate to a changing climate. Part science, part travelogue.
Journalist Simran Sethi explores the cultural importance of certain foods and how we are in danger of losing them. About monocultures and the dangers of an increasingly standardized diet.
Squarzoni offers an explanation of global warming and climate change in graphic novel form. An accessible approach to learning about the science.
An explanation of why people reject the science behind climate change and why even when they accept it, they do nothing about it. An exploration of psychology and science both.
Check out all of McKibben’s many books on the environment and climate change. Eaarth describes what climate change will do to us and the ways we will need to radically change our lives to adapt.
On the dangers of fracking to the environment and to human health. The book also explores the history of fracking and the technologies that make it possible.
On the environmental impact of corporate globalization. Shiva argues for a shift in our thinking toward an earth-centered politics and economics.
On how a group of scientists and advisors spread misinformation and doubt about a range of scientific subjects. A good explanation of how we got to where we are today.
A religious and spiritual call for a closer connection with the earth. Maathai writes about helping women in Kenya plant and sustain trees and find a sense of empowerment and how we can find our own commitment to the environment.
Suzuki asks what humans really need to find fulfilling, meaningful lives. He offers concrete suggestions for creating an ecologically sustainable future and meeting humans’ most fundamental needs.
A description of what we should expect to happen to the planet as the temperatures rise.
Stephenson argues that what we need to deal with the climate crisis is not so much environmentalism but a struggle for human rights and social justice. He tells his own story and the stories of those on the front lines of that struggle.


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