There is no denying that the cause and effect of climate change can be overwhelming. Aware and its wider community presents a list of must-reads by authors determined to raise awareness and demystify pressing environmental issues. From challenging consumer behaviours to exploring innovative energy solutions, this range of titles offers a range of necessary perspectives for a greener future.
1_How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates.
Bill Gates, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, published his New York Times bestseller book in February earlier this year. A continued “affection for his home planet and the people on it” (New York Times) runs through the book as Gates presents “a plan for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions” (Gates Notes). Purposely keeping the language accessible, Gates hopes the book will speak to any individual who wants to know how they can help (Gates Notes).
2_Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives by Chris Bruntlett and Melissa Bruntlett.
In 2019, mobility experts Chris and Melissa Bruntlett were so enchanted by Dutch cycling culture that they relocated their family from Vancouver, DC to Delft, a canal-ringed city in the western Netherlands. The book is an account of their personal experience and conversations with those living in a city designed for people, not cars. Touching personal accounts and interviews explore the subsequent benefits that a “low car” city can have on humans both psychologically and sociologically.
3_This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein.
The internationally renowned Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein explores the myths that surround climate change in her most daring novel thus far. Klein presents the rigid dichotomy and inconsistencies between the desire to save our planet and the current era of free-market capitalism, an economic model Klein argues determines the destruction of our planet.
4_Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
The environmental science book written by Rachel Carson in 1962 exposes the harsh side effects caused by the overuse of synthetic pesticides. The book was motivated by Carson’s criticism of the US agriculture department who sprayed pesticides fused with fuel oil in order to eradicate fire ants. Carson explores multiple themes including the study of pests becoming immune to the pesticides and misinformation distributed by the chemical industries. The misinformation, she argues, subsequently lead to ecological damage and provoked human sickness, including cancer and pesticide poisoning. Leading up to the book release Carson herself was undergoing radiotherapy.
5_We are the Weather Makers: The Story of Global Warming by Tim Flannery and Sally M. Walker.
This new edition of the environmental science book “The Weather Makers” speaks to young adults, who are increasingly exposed to the destruction caused by climate change. The book looks back in history to understand the cause and effect of global warming, interviews communities directly touched by climate disaster and showcases groundbreaking technology and innovations forecasting the potential for a brighter future. This most recent edition features 25 tips for pursuing a greener lifestyle.
6_ The Overstory by Richard Powers.
Richard Powers was inspired to write his twelfth novel The Overstory after standing before the largest tree on earth: a giant redwood. The novel describes the lives of nine Americans who have each had their lives deeply affected by trees. One of the characters, Patricia Westerford, was deeply influenced by the forest ecologist Suzanne Simard, who has proven to scientists the ability trees have to communicate with one another. Powers evocative narrative is a powerful reminder to protect our forests and prevent further deforestation.
7_ Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
The speculative fiction and adventure romance novel by Margaret Atwood, writer of The Handmaid’s Tale, follows the story of “Snowman”: a character living in a post-apocalyptic world. Flashbacks in the novel reveal that Snowman was once Jimmy, a boy who grew up in a world brought to destruction by multinational cooperations. Whilst Atwood’s world exactly cannot be mirrored with our own, the book is a jarring, familiar commentary on the consequences of increasing ecological destruction.
Consumed by US-born writer and fashion activist Aja Barber is a call for change within the fashion industry. Barber’s writing exposes the embedded inequalities within the supply chain, outlines the manipulation of the consumer and reveals the continued presence of colonialist structures. Barber presents an honest, provocative account of the undeniable relationship between fast fashion and catastrophic climate change.
9_No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish activist, is known for her emotive, often tear-jerking, speeches. Her words “how dare you” at a UN conference attacked world leaders on their inefficiencies to combat climate change and leave her generation to deal with the consequences. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference is a collection of Thunberg’s speeches that have instigated a global movement of activism, persuaded governments to listen and even earned Thunberg the nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.
by Eliza Edwards