Environmental Reading List – Sustainability and Climate Change

After the recent Climate Change report we all should commit and strive for a better and lower impact way of living in every aspect of our lives. We should seek to support every step no matter how big or small towards a better, more sustainable and more compassionate world. Here are our top reads on our impact on this planet and how we, as a community, can move towards a better future.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert’s environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe first developed out of a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in The New Yorker. She expanded it into a still-concise yet richly researched and damning book about climate change: a primer on the greatest challenge facing the world today.

But in the years since, the story has continued to develop; the situation has become more dire, even as our understanding grows. Now, Kolbert returns to the defining book of her career. She has added a chapter bringing things up-to-date on the existing text, plus three new chapters – on ocean acidification, the tar sands, and a Danish town that’s gone carbon neutral – making it, again, a must-read.


Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic by Marla Cone

Traditionally thought of as the last great unspoiled territory on Earth, the Arctic is in reality home to some of the most contaminated people and animals on the planet. Awarded a major grant to conduct an exhaustive study of the deteriorating environment of the Arctic by the Pew Charitable Trusts (the first time Pew has given such a grant to a journalist), Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Marla Cone travelled across the Arctic, from Greenland to the Aleutian Islands, to find out why the Arctic is toxic. Cone reports with an insider’s eye on the dangers of pollution to native peoples and ecosystems, how Arctic cultures are adapting to this pollution, and what solutions will prevent the crisis from getting worse.


The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh

Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In this book Ghosh examines our inability – at the level of literature, history, and politics – to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. The Great Derangement serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.


The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health by David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé

Microbes might not be the most fascinating to read, however what do you really know about microbes? The Hidden Half of Nature reveals why good health – for people and for plants – depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. From garden to gut, they show why cultivating beneficial microbiomes holds the key to transforming agriculture and medicine.

What We’re Fighting For Now is Each Other by Wen Stephenson

In What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other, Stephenson tells his own story and offers an up-close, on-the-ground look at some of the remarkable people – those he calls “new American radicals” – who have laid everything on the line to build and inspire this fast-growing movement. He argues that the movement is less like environmentalism as we know it and more like the great human-rights and social-justice struggles of the 19th and 20th centuries, from abolitionism to civil rights. It’s a movement for human solidarity.

This is a fiercely urgent and profoundly spiritual journey into the climate-justice movement at a critical moment. The book is a compelling call to action.

For more inspiration and information have a look at our reading list on plastic free living.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a writer whose work focuses on mindfulness, health and wellbeing.