There are staggering quantities of great books available, very few of which are fiction although that is changing with the publication of the bestseller Neal Stephenson’s Termination Shock (November 2021), the stunning Kim Stanley Robinson science fiction entry, The Ministry for the Future (October 2020) and A Children’s Bible, chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten best books of 2020.
This is a curated list of the best books for adults, from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) which set the stage for understanding the impact humans were having on the planet, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006) which made it abundantly clear, to Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014), Paul Hawken’s Drawdown (2017), and Richard Powers’ The Overstory (2019), a Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction and ode to trees — all bestsellers from the time they were published.
We have starred some titles with which we have personal history and others which have come highly recommended. Some are general like Joe Romm’s Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, and some highly specific like The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson, Naomi Klein’s highly political This Changes Everything, and John Englander’s Moving to Higher Ground. When Sir David Attenborough published, at the age of 93, his A Life on Our Planet, he called it his witness statement and his vision for the future. What a giant of a man.
In May, 2020, we read the first of Michael Svoboda’s recommended list of recent books on climate activism for Yale Climate Connections. In January, 2021 he added a new list. The first three titles, Michael Mann’s The New Climate War, Bill Gates’ How To Avoid a Climate Disaster, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky immediately got gold stars from us. Svoboda’s September, 2021, roundup selected, among others, Katharine Hayhoe’s Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World. A climate researcher, scientist, evangelical Christian and brilliant climate communicator, this is a must read. In December, 2021, within his list for the holidays, there were three more we had already fallen for: Paul Hawken’s Regeneration (who previously wrote the groundbreaking Drawdown), Saul Griffith’s Electrify (focusing on solving the climate crisis AND saving money by electrifying everything --and powering that electricity with clean energy), and Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land (a gorgeous novel whose previous book, All The Light We Cannot See, was also a triumph) and seven more to explore.
We have also become increasingly impressed by the Writer’s Voice with Francesca Rheannon, (available on radio and as a podcast) where she interviews any number of authors who are concerned with climate change, including Saul Griffith, Elizabeth Kolbert, Michael Mann, and John Englander whose Moving to Higher Ground really is the last word on the implications of sea level rise.
If you click on any title below, you will be taken to Amazon. If you buy, this website will receive a small contribution, for which we will be grateful.
Amazon also has best selling books on climate ranked from 1-100 here.
Association Of American Publishers Announces Expanded Focus On Two Key Areas: Climate And Sustainability & Diversity, Equity And Inclusion
Books covering multiple subjects will have no icon.
A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions about the Science, the Consequences and the Solutions (2016)
A Planet of 3 Billion: Mapping Humanity’s Long History of Ecological Destruction and Finding Our Way to a Resilient Future A Global Citizen’s Guide to Saving the Planet (2019)
Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (2019)
Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy: How Carbon Is Changing the Cost of Everything (2011)
Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do About It (2011)
Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley will make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030 (2014)
Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It (2010)⭐
Discerning Experts assesses the assessments that many governments rely on to help guide environmental policy and action. Through their close look at environmental assessments involving acid rain, ozone depletion, and sea level rise, the authors explore how experts deliberate and decide on the scientific facts about problems like climate change. They also seek to understand how the scientists involved make the judgments they do, how the organization and management of assessment activities affects those judgments, and how expertise is identified and constructed.