Top 10 Books About Sustainability
Written by Elizabeth Waddington.
There are a great many excellent books out there that have been written on the topic of sustainability. Authors have come at this topic from a wide range of different angles, addressing the problems and putting forward amazing solutions, for individuals and the wider systems upon which we all depend. Reading can be a great way to delve deeper into the subject, and can help you find a pathway forwards toward your goals.
It is difficult to list just a few without missing out some great examples. But to help you read more about the subject, we've put together this short list of just some of our top books about sustainability:
“Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight For a Sustainable Future” - By Mary Robinson
Published in 2018, this is an urgent call by one of the most important voices in the fight against climate change. Mary Robinson shines a light on human suffering, and illuminates hope for a better future for all. While clearly tackling head on the problems we face, this book also provides hope. This is one of the best and most intelligent treatise on this vital issue.
“Earth Care Manual” - by Patrick Whitefield
Permaculture is a blueprint for sustainable food production and sustainable living. Learning more about what this movement is all about, and how to put it into action, is an important part of living a more sustainable way of life and caring for this planet we call home. In addition to the classic permaculture books of the founders, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, this book is one of the very best books on the subject.
“Cradle to Cradle” and 'The Upcycle” - By William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Cradle to Cradle came out way back in 2002 and was an innovative look at the world of waste and the wastefulness of current systems. This, and their follow-up book, 'The Upcycle' are fascinating and give a lot of insight into zero waste in wider systems. These two books together are a must-read for anyone with an interest in these things.
“The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us” - By Diane Ackerman
Well known nature writer Diane Ackerman ably tackles the issues surrounding humanity and our interconnection with the natural world and how we both shape and are shaped by the world around us. Exploring a wide range of interesting issues, in diverse fields, she explores the intricate dependencies between 'human' and 'natural' and how we shape the future.
“How Bad are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything” - By Mike Berners-Lee
This book first came out in 2010, but has since been updated with the most recent research. It includes a list of household items and activities and their carbon footprints – and really can be an eye-opener for those new to the field, and to the idea of carbon budgeting.
"Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” - By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Plants have a lot to teach us. And though there are plenty of books on this and similar topics, this beautiful book stands out from the crowd. It will walk you through what we can learn from plants and animals from an indigenous and scientific perspective.
“On Fire” - By Naomi Klein
This book, published in 2019, is a collection of essays and articles written over a decade by Naomi Klein. She discusses why the Green New Deal is the only solution to the climate crisis, giving both a harsh reality check and inspiration to move us forwards. This followed on from her book 'This Changes Everything” of 2014, which was also an excellent examination of capitalism and how it is directly opposed to tackling our climate crisis.
“The Joyful Environmentalist” – By Isabelle Losada
This feel-good guide is not all doom and gloom. It is a refreshing insight into the world of the environmental movement, and talks about how we can look at our lives and do better without losing our personalities and friends in the process. In this book, Isabelle Losada leads you through her own inspiring and often very funny eco journey.
“How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Saving the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time” - By Will McCallum
This is one of many excellent books on the plastic waste crisis, both outlining the scale and severity of the plastic waste problem, and providing practical aid to make those small but necessary changes in our daily lives that make a big difference. If you want to learn why and how to break free from plastic, this is one great book to choose.
“A Life Less Throwaway” - By Tara Burton
This book is one of the excellent books that tackles happiness vs consumerism, and how we can work towards a life with more of the former, and less of the latter. With thoughtful analysis of the psychology surrounding the issue of waste, this book is helpful to those looking to build a better life.
Of course, there are many other wonderful books out there to explore, and no one list could offer an exhaustive selection. But if you want to learn more about all the various problems we face in the field of sustainability and how to tackle them, the books mentioned above could be a good place to start. And each one should lead you to other options within each area of sustainability, to find yet more excellent sustainable reading material.
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