Do you feel like you want to know more about the environment and climate change, but don’t know where to start? Following on from our list of five eye-opening environmental documentaries, we’ve put together a short list of books you should consider reading if you want to be a fountain of environmental knowledge. Let’s get started!
1. There Is No Planet B (Mike Berners-Lee, 2019)
There’s no shortage of climate and environmental literature available, but our founders at Revive have a soft spot for Mike Berners-Lee’s practical, informative, and entertaining There Is No Planet B (or, to give it its full title: There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years).
Berners-Lee’s comprehensive approach to highlighting the most pressing matters currently facing our planet is brilliantly digestible. It combines hard-hitting facts with humorous commentary and useful suggestions on how to make a difference in your daily life.
It even has an updated edition as of January 2021! All of the information inside has been rigorously fact-checked according to the most up-to-date statistics. The combination of humour and scientific rigour makes There Is No Planet B a book you will not want to put down.
2. We Are The Weather (Jonathan Safran Foer, 2020)
Continuing in the trend of environmental books with long titles, Jonathan Safran Foer’s We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast is an extremely accessible take on climate change, focusing on how the food we eat shapes the climate.
Following his previous book, Eating Animals, Safran Foer doubles down on the environmental impacts of eating animal products. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change and also a main contributor to deforestation, lack of biodiversity, and water pollution. In it, Foer proposes that – based on huge amounts of data – reducing our intake of animal products is the biggest impact we can have on slowing down climate change.
Both urgent and refreshingly simple, We Are The Weather challenges you to think about the impact of your diet on the planet around you.
3. This Changes Everything (Naomi Klein, 2014)
Naomi Klein’s powerful and urgent This Changes Everything looks at climate change through a political and capitalist lens. In it, she suggests that it is our economic model which is waging war against life on Earth; it is a model which is heavily dependent on carbon, emissions of which are heavily responsible for climate change.
Klein’s book also attempts to disentangle and expose climate myths which tend to put a stop to climate activism. Like We Are The Weather, it is also concerned with the psychology of denial and how humanity often turns away from threats like climate change. It demonstrates the way capitalism separates humans from the world around them, and how large corporations are invested in preventing climate action from occurring.
This Changes Everything is a fascinating and unique look at climate change from a political perspective, and is as illuminating as it is terrifying.
4. The Sixth Extinction (Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014)
Across the timespan of life on Earth, there have been five major life extinction events. In Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, she proposes that we are in the midst of a sixth major extinction event, which is likely to be the largest since the extinction of the dinosaurs. This event, unlike the others, is suggested to be man-made.
Kolbert walks us through each of these previous events in digestible prose, before tackling how the current event is occurring. One of the major contributing factors in this extinction event is the rate at which humans are changing the world. Unfortunately, life can’t keep up with us.
Based on field research conducted by Kolbert herself, alongside the work of the world’s best environmental scientists, The Sixth Extinction is a meticulous and powerful investigation into the damage humans have brought upon our planet – and how we might be able to fix it.
5. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference (Greta Thunberg, 2019)
Since her rise to fame in 2018, it seems everybody knows the name of the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. In her book No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, Thunberg has compiled 11 of her speeches about global warming and the climate crisis. Each and every one of these speeches acts as a call to climate action.
Thunberg’s speeches are eloquent and angry, and they perfectly embody the fury of a generation reeling from the actions (or inactions) of previous generations. Reading this book, it is easy to see how the teenage celebrity rose to fame in the first place.
Most importantly, No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference is a rallying cry for people to get involved in climate action, and demonstrates the power of the individual in making a difference when it comes to our planet.
Have you read any page-turning books on the environment or climate change recently? Drop them in the comments!