There is a lot of information out there about sustainability and the climate crisis. Hundreds of amazing websites, thousands of blogs and vlogs and news coverage are on the increase.
So why would you need a book on the subject?
Sustainable living books can be an amazon resource and provide both motivation and information to live a more eco-friendly life.
These books are often singular stories of pioneering people with innovative ideas, making massive life changes, and taking inspired action, deeply researched exposes or new philosophical ideals. They present us with role models and ask us to envision the future we want, and also provide us strength by outlining specific actions we can take to begin.
Sustainability books are often about specific subjects within the environmental movement, offering us in-depth knowledge and a personal view that we can’t get ourselves without having that lived experience.
The more we learn, know and understand, the more impassioned about our wonderful planet and its incredible ecosystem we become, motivating us to make positive changes in our own lives.
In this blog, we’re sharing some of our favourite, must-read books on sustainability–not a complete list by any means–to educate, involve and inspire you to take action to preserve our beautiful world for future generations.
Our Top Recommendations For Books On Sustainability
We’re going to break down our recommendations into three sections, covering ‘how to’, more philosophical approaches and the natural world.
We’ll start with our favourite ‘how-to’ books that are great and practical guides to making a difference.
Isabel doesn't bother with a study of the issue and jumps directly into the remedies in her book, which is written in quick, brief chapters for those who are busy. Her goal is to find every possible way that we can protect the environment, including how we work, live, travel, shop, eat, volunteer, bank and dress.
She finds solutions for you so that, at the end of the book, you find yourself being fully equipped to be part of the pollution solution.
This thought-provoking book investigates and questions, everything we already think we know about sustainability and reveals 5 practical tips we can all use to start making a truly positive impact on the planet.
A great read for anyone who wants to know what's wrong with the current state of sustainability and what they can do to make a positive difference.
The Carbon Footprint of Everything
How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee was a groundbreaking book when originally published in 2009 when most of us were hearing the phrase 'carbon footprint' for the first time. Mike set out to inform us what was important and what made very little difference to global warming.
The updated 2020 edition includes new topics like Bitcoin, the Cloud, electric bikes and even space tourism and carefully looks at each area providing us with the data we need to manage and lower our individual carbon footprints, as well as to advocate for change with our businesses, organisations, and the government.
His conclusions, which are laid forth in simple, amusing prose, are frequently unexpected. And if we want to combat climate change, they are crucial.
It covers every aspect of our lives, from the things we buy and the food we consume to the way we travel, work, and celebrate. For individuals who care about the earth and our environment yet frequently feel like living more sustainably is too much work, this book is inspiring.
There is no perfect, all-purpose answer, therefore the operative word here is "ish."
Hawken makes the argument that it’s by addressing current human needs, rather than future threats, is the only path to solving the climate crisis. The solutions, techniques, and practices provided in this book, range from solar power, electric vehicles, and tree planting to bioregions, Azolla fern and forest farms; they are all doable, science-based, and offer a precise and unequivocal course of action for us all.
He then offers simple ways, which he calls #2minutesolutions, to cut down your waste and why it will make a big difference. Martin emphasises that we are all responsible for the waste we make and we can make simple changes to live more planet-friendly.
This book provides a roadmap founded in research and experience, coupled with real-life style and everyday inspiration, aiming to restart the conversation around fashion, and how it is produced, consumed, and discarded, leading us to truly revolutionise our wardrobes.
Books That Take A Deeper Look At Climate Change
These books look a little deeper into the true causes of climate change and the environmental crisis, providing knowledge and inspiration.
Naomi encourages us to forget everything we think we know about global warming. She concludes that it's not about carbon - it's about capitalism. The author explores the political ideology and special interests clouding the climate change debate. The book was named a New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of the Year and inspired a documentary by the same name.
This is an essential purchase because it tells you precisely what you need to know to discuss the climate predicament intelligently.
In this groundbreaking book, the authors explain how products can be designed from the outset so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new - continually circulating as pure and viable materials within a 'cradle to cradle’ model.
Drawing on their experience in redesigning everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, McDonough and Braungart make an exciting and viable case for putting eco-effectiveness into practise, and show how anyone involved in making anything can begin to do so as well.
Before writing the book, Schumacher was a highly proclaimed economist and statistician working in the UK, but he could see that globalisation and excessive consumption were major issues.
Written and originally published in 1973, Small Is Beautiful challenges the current state of excessive consumption in our society and puts forward the idea that economies need to be built around communities, not corporations. Schumacher argues that his idea will help stop the reckless loss of our natural that will deprive future generations to come.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. This book respectfully asks the reader to listen and make well-informed choices about their own lifestyles and dietary choices.
Each generation has its priorities and moral dilemmas and it's increasingly clear to most of us that industrial agriculture & factory farming is something that causes so many environmental, social & health problems but it could be solved if consumers change their habits a little.
Changing what we eat can make a massive impact on climate change. This book is a great place to start if you are wanting evidence about why you should make those changes.
Wisdom for a Livable Planet
Wisdom for a Livable Planet by Carl N McDaniel follows the stories of 8 successful activists in order to explore major environmental issues and offer proven solutions. Each story provides a portrait of an individual's courageous campaign to improve the conditions for life on the planet.
From the story of Terri Swearington, nurse and mother in West Virginia, who tackles one of the world's largest incinerators burning toxic waste next to an elementary school through to Dave Foreman, co-founder of the Wildlands Project, who leads the effort to restore functional ecosystems and preserve biodiversity by re-wilding almost half of North America with wolves, jaguars, falcons, and other animals, there is so much energising inspiration here.
Hopeful and prophetic, The Future Earth invites us to imagine how we can reverse the effects of climate change in our own lifetime and encourages us to enter a deeper relationship with the earth and our communities.
The book contains interviews with futurists, climatologists, biologists, economists, and climate change activists, and shows what the world could look like if we created and implemented radical solutions on the same scale as the crises we face.
Oppenlander argues that we should all be committed to understanding the reality and consequences of our diet, the footprint it makes on our environment, and seek food products that are in the best interest of all living things.
Books On The Natural World And The Environment
These are books to encourage and inspire you to live more sustainably and in harmony with the environment and natural world, showing how we can heal the earth by placing more value on nature itself.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. This seminal book is a classic. Published in 1962, Silent Spring gives nature a voice. Focusing attention on the destruction of wildlife through the use of pesticides and chemical treatments, the book bought about a new public awareness meaning that harmful pesticides, such as DDT, were banned in the US in 1972 (it wasn’t banned in the UK until 1986).
Now recognized as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, its effects have been far-reaching, but its message is still much needed today.
The book explains that by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, global warming could be reversed, and we could eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet by looking at the impact of an underappreciated but essential resource—the very ground that feeds us.
Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson offers a rather radical solution to mass species loss: fully dedicate half of the earth to nature. It’s rewilding but on a huge earth-sized scale.
Wilson has written Half-Earth as a call to action, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Although Wilson doesn't really offer any practical ways of achieving this, 'Half-Earth’' is an important and sobering account of our current ecological plight and deserves to be widely read.
Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree. On a much smaller scale than Half-Earth, this tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, where 3500 acres were returned to nature, with minimal.
Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding highlights an often forgotten fact: that sometimes the best thing you can do is step back and allow nature to take the lead.
This book teaches us about the importance of biodiversity wrapped in a story about a quest for an animal so rare that a sighting has never been recorded - the Somali golden mole. The Hunt for the Golden Mole is an engaging quest which illustrates the importance of every living creature, no matter how small, strange or rare. It is a thoughtful, shocking, inspiring and important book.
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