BOOKS FOR YOUTH 12 AND OLDER

As in FILMS, this book selection contains many books which were not written specifically for teenagers but are brilliant for them nonetheless, with many more to be found in the ADULT book listThis is a curated list of the best books for adolescents, 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 Paul Hawken’s Drawdown (2017) — all bestsellers from the time they were published. Fiction is rare. The Water Knife is a rare exception.
For young ones under 12, find a range of selected books in the KIDS section.
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An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

Al Gore        Rodale Books

An Inconvenient Truth—Gore’s groundbreaking, battle cry of a follow-up to the bestselling Earth in the Balance—is being published to tie in with a documentary film of the same name. Both the book and film were inspired by a series of multimedia presentations on global warming that Gore created and delivers to groups around the world. With this book, Gore, who is one of our environmental heroes—and a leading expert—brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. He presents, with alarming clarity and conclusiveness—and with humor, too—that the fact of global warming is not in question and that its consequences for the world we live in will be disastrous if left unchecked. This riveting new book—written in an accessible, entertaining style—will open the eyes of even the most skeptical.

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Dina Gilio-Whitaker         Publisher: Beacon Press

The story of Native peoples’ resistance to environmental injustice and land incursions, and a call for environmentalists to learn from the Indigenous community’s rich history of activism. Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice,” Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. As Long As Grass Grows gives readers an accessible history of Indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism and policy.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002)

William McDonough and Michael Braungart         Publisher: North Point Press

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as this provocative, visionary book argues, this approach perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, “waste equals food” is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new-either as “biological nutrients” that safely re-enter the environment or as “technical nutrients” that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles, without being “downcycled” into low-grade uses (as most “recyclables” now are). Elaborating their principles from experience (re)designing everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, William McDonough and Michael Braungart make an exciting and viable case for change.

Down to Earth: Nature’s Role in American History (2018)

Ted Steinberg        Publisher: Oxford University Press

n this ambitious and provocative text, environmental historian Ted Steinberg offers a sweeping history of the United States — a history that places the environment at the very center of the narrative. Now in a new edition, Down to Earth reenvisions the story of America “from the ground up.”

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (2017)

Paul Hawken        Publisher: Penguin Books

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world. In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here – some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next 30 years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the Earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being — giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.

Frontlines: Stories of Global Environmental Justice

Nick Meynen         Publisher: Zero Books

Every unpacked frontline is one cutting edge of an economic system and political ideology that is destroying life on earth. Revealing our ecosystems to be under a sustained attack, Nick Meynen finds causes for hope in unconventional places.

Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life (2008)

Linda Sivertsen        Publisher: Simon Pulse

We all know about the Earth’s environmental crisis, but there is someone who can truly make a difference: you. If you text your friends or chat with them online, download music to your iPod, or toss bottles and papers into recycling bins, you’re already more eco-savvy than you think. It’s just as easy to do even more to help save the earth, and Generation Green shows you how. It doesn’t matter if you can’t vote or drive. Your efforts — big or small — will contribute to saving the planet. It’s time for all of us to take action. It’s time to go green!

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference (2019)

Greta Thunberg        Publisher: Penguin

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to Capitol Hill and mass street protests, her audiobook is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.

Silent Spring (1962)

Rachel Carson        Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. “Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations . . . [It is] well crafted, fearless and succinct . . . Even if she had not inspired a generation of activists, Carson would prevail as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters” (Peter Matthiessen, for Time”s 100 Most Influential People of the Century). This fortieth anniversary edition celebrates Rachel Carson”s watershed book with a new introduction by the author and activist Terry Tempest Williams and a new afterword by the acclaimed Rachel Carson biographer Linda Lear, who tells the story of Carson”s courageous defense of her truths in the face of ruthless assault from the chemical industry in the year following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death in 1964.

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods (2001)

Julia Hill         Publisher: HarperOne

On December 18, 1999, Julia Butterfly Hill’s feet touched the ground for the first time in over two years, as she descended from “Luna,” a thousand year-old redwood in Humboldt County, California. Hill had climbed 180 feet up into the tree high on a mountain on December 10, 1997, for what she thought would be a two- to three-week-long “tree-sit.” The action was intended to stop Pacific Lumber, a division of the Maxxam Corporation, from the environmentally destructive process of clear-cutting the ancient redwood and the trees around it. The area immediately next to Luna had already been stripped and, because, as many believed, nothing was left to hold the soil to the mountain, a huge part of the hill had slid into the town of Stafford, wiping out many homes. Over the course of what turned into an historic civil action, Hill endured El Nino storms, helicopter harassment, a ten-day siege by company security guards, and the tremendous sorrow brought about by an old-growth forest’s destruction. This story-written while she lived on a tiny platform eighteen stories off the ground-is one that only she can tell.

The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For (2020)

Charlotte Alter        Publisher: Penguin Random House

An optimistic look at the future of American leadership by a brilliant young reporter: A new generation is stepping up. There are now twenty-six millennials in Congress–a fivefold increase gained in the 2018 midterms alone. They are governing Midwestern cities and college towns, running for city councils, and serving in state legislatures. They are acting urgently on climate change (because they are going to live it); they care deeply about student debt (because they have it); they are utilizing big tech but still want to regulate it (because they understand how it works). In The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For, TIME correspondent Charlotte Alter defines the class of young leaders who are remaking the nation–how grappling with 9/11 as teens, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, occupying Wall Street and protesting with Black Lives Matter, and shouldering their way into a financially rigged political system has shaped the people who will govern the future.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019)

David Wallace-Wells        Publisher: Tim Duggan Books

The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers. Read book reviews at The New York Times and Resilience

The Water Knife (2015)

Paolo Bacigalupi        Publisher: Knopf

The American Southwest has been decimated by drought. Nevada and Arizona skirmish over dwindling shares of the Colorado River, while California watches, deciding if it should just take the whole river all for itself. Into the fray steps Las Vegas water knife Angel Velasquez. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and its boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert and that anyone who challenges her is left in the gutted-suburban dust.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2015)

Naomi Klein        Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine. A brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

Extinction Rebellion        Publisher: Penguin

Extinction Rebellion are inspiring a whole generation to take action on climate breakdown. Now you can become part of the movement – and together, we can make history. It’s time. This is our last chance to do anything about the global climate and ecological emergency. Our last chance to save the world as we know it. Now or never, we need to be radical. We need to rise up. And we need to rebel. Extinction Rebellion is a global activist movement of ordinary people, demanding action from Governments. This is a book of truth and action. It has facts to arm you, stories to empower you, pages to fill in and pages to rip out, alongside instructions on how to rebel – from organising a roadblock to facing arrest. By the time you finish this book you will have become an Extinction Rebellion activist. Act now before it’s too late.

We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet (2017)

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez         Publisher: Rodale Books

Challenge the status quo, change the face of activism, and confront climate change head on with the ultimate blueprint for taking action. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 16-year-old climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful new voice on the frontlines of a global youth-led movement. He and his group the Earth Guardians believe that today’s youth will play an important role in shaping our future. They know that the choices made right now will have a lasting impact on the world of tomorrow, and people—young and old—are asking themselves what they can do to ensure a positive, just, and sustainable future. We Rise tells these stories and addresses the solutions. Beginning with the empowering story of the Earth Guardians and how Xiuhtezcatl has become a voice for his generation, We Rise explores many aspects of effective activism and provides step-by-step information on how to start and join solution-oriented movements. With conversations between Xiuhtezcatl and well-known activists, revolutionaries, and celebrities, practical advice for living a more sustainable lifestyle, and ideas and tools for building resilient communities, We Rise is an action guide on how to face the biggest problems of today, including climate change, fossil fuel extraction, and industrial agriculture.

Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can (2020)

Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti         Publisher: Simon & Schuster

An urgent and definitive collection of essays from leaders and experts championing the Green New Deal—and a detailed playbook for how we can win it—including contributions by leading activists and progressive writers like Varshini Prakash, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Bill McKibben, Rev William Barber II, and more.