If you’re interested in going greener, it can be hard to know where to start and what the right answers are. There’s a great deal of history and opinions to consider. So, to help, we’ve created this handy list of 8 books to get you started on your eco-friendly journey.
Originally published in 1962, this environmental science book about the usage of pesticides changed the scientific world. It brought environmental concerns to the American public, spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses, and inspired an environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
2. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman
A follow-up to Friedman’s The World is Flat, Hot, Flat, and Crowded takes on issues of globalism, bringing a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and the rising competition for energy. Just as the title implies, topics include global warming (hot), overpopulation (crowded), and technology allowing for jobs being outsourced (flat).
This Changes Everything is an honest and forthright call to action about climate change, and how greatly reducing greenhouse emissions is the best way to reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine broken democracies, and rebuild local economies. Klein’s book goes beyond just going green—it’s about changing the world before more natural disasters change us.
This book examines the Industrial Revolution from over 200 years ago and questions if climate change began then, as is commonly believed. It traces the full history of human interaction with Earth’s climate, calculating that humans have been changing the climate for some 8,000 years A valuable—if controversial—text.
Al Gore’s book and documentary changed the conversation 10 years ago about the realities of global warming. For so many, it was an introduction to what the planet is experiencing, and what can be done to combat these issues. Combining scientific anecdotes with photographs and charts, this book made the topic of global warming accessible to readers of all levels, giving it a broader audience and voice.
Novelist Barbara Kingsolver decided to move her family from Arizona to Appalachia, and in doing so, spent a year relying on a locally-produced diet to better understand environmental, social, and physical costs of American food culture. The memoir is peppered with useful sidebars from other family members on industrial agriculture and ecology and recipes to demonstrate that committing to buying, growing, and eating local food demands teamwork.
Water is one of Earth’s most valuable resources, and it’s quickly depleting. In addition to scientific data, Glennon uses anecdotes—some even humorous—from around the country to demonstrate how extravagances and everyday inefficiencies are sucking the nation dry. Glennon also looks at different innovations and technologies designed to decrease water consumption and how effective they are in the short and long term.
Arranged in five parts—Green Gas, Sun, Wind, Earth, and Water—Renewable tells the stories of the most interesting and promising types of renewable energy: namely, biofuel, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. The author digs into the rich, surprisingly long histories of these technologies, bringing to life the pioneering scientists, inventors, and visionaries who blazed the way toward renewable energy.