There are staggering quantities of great books available, very few of which are fiction although that is changing (see a recent interview with Maja Lunde who wrote The History of Bees and The End of the Ocean)the stunning new Kim Stanley Robinson science fiction entry, The Ministry for the Future, and A Children’s Bible, chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten best books of the year.

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 Pulitizer 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 or Naomi Klein’s highly political This Changes Everything.

Michael Svoboda has selected some recent books on climate activism for Yale Climate Connections. There is a powerful list here.

Let us know what you think.






Books covering multiple subjects will have no icon.


101 Ways to Go Zero Waste (2019)

Kathryn Kellogg        Publisher: Countryman Press

In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste free at the airport. “It’s not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about making better choices.”

2040 AD – McSweeney’s Issue 58

Spanning six continents and nine countries―from metropolitan Mexico City to the crumbling ancient aqueducts of Turkey, the receding coastline of Singapore to the coral shores of northern Australia―McSweeney’s 58 is wholly focused on climate change, with speculative fiction from ten contributors, made in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

A Children’s Bible: A Novel

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel―her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven―follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion.

A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions (2015)

Katharine Hayhoe        Publisher: The University of New Mexico Press

Drawing on the two authors’ experiences, one as an internationally recognized climate scientist and the other as an evangelical leader of a growing church, this book explains the science underlying global warming, the impact that human activities have on it, and how our Christian faith should play a significant role in guiding our opinions and actions on this important issue.

A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change (2015)

Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health        Publisher: Environmental Health Perspectives

This is a report organized around 11 human healthy conditions predicted to be most dramatically affected by climate change.

A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas

By Jeffrey Peterson        

More severe storms and rising seas will inexorably push the American coastline inland with profound impact on communities, infrastructure, and natural systems. In A New Coast, Jeffrey Peterson draws a comprehensive picture of how storms and rising seas will change the coast. Peterson offers a clear-eyed assessment of how governments can work with the private sector and citizens to be better prepared for the coming coastal inundation.