Reading time: 4 minutes. Last update: 04-07-2020

8 book recommendations for environmental activists


Over the last few years, I've read quite some books on the environment and environmental activism. Below are some of my personal recommendations! There are still a lot of books that I haven't read. For example, The Sixth Extinction, On Fire, This Is Not A Drill, and Greta Thunberg's book are still on my to-read list. Next to this, there are probably a lot of books that I don't even know about. Do you have a book recommendation? Let me know!
1. The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
David Wallace-Wells, 2019
Probably one of the more shocking climate books out there. In The Uninhabitable earth, climate change journalist David Wallace-Wells describes what climate change will do to the earth, and how it will affect its inhabitants. To give you a picture of what this book will talk about, chapters include: 'dying oceans', 'economic collapse', 'drowning', 'climate conflicts' and 'heat death'.
2. This Changes Everything: Climate vs Capitalism
Naomi Klein, 2014
With almost 600 pages this book is quite the read, but it is more than worth it. In this book, Naomi Klein writes about our failed economic system and how we can build something radically better. She talks about our addiction for profit and growth, and how systems like the Emission Trading System is failing us. Personally, some parts of this book were discouraging. In some parts, Naomi Klein tries to give the reader hope by saying this as "but we still have the chance to change this in the upcoming years". It is demotivating to read this, knowing that we haven't made the needed progress. Nonetheless, this book is very informative and a must-read if you want to understand how our growth mindset is led us to climate change.
3. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
Yvon Chouniard, 2006
I read this book many years ago. When I was still studying marketing and under the illusion that I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. This book opened my eyes to how companies should look like. In this book, Yvon Chouniard, founder of the outdoor brand Patagonia, talks about their philosophy. It is remarkable to see how this company stayed true to its values, even though they experienced astronomical growth. Since the release of this book, their values still haven't faded, with their new mission statement being: "we're in business to save our home planet".
4. The divide
Jason Hickel, 2017
If I could gift one book to friends for the rest of my life, I would choose this book. While it's not a purely environmental book, it is an essential read for everyone, including environmentalists.In The Divide, economic anthropologist Jason Hickel writes about inequality: the history, what it looks like right now, and what we can do about it. This is relevant for environmentalists, especially those from Western countries, as it shows how this society came to be. A society that uses far more resources than our earth can sustain.
5. Patagonia Tools for Grassroots Activists: Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement
Nora Gallagher, 2016
While most environment-related books talk about the problems we're facing, this book helps you to tackle these problems. It gives you all the best wisdom and advice of 20 years of Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference hosted by Patagonia. At this conference, activists from around the world give talks on getting your message out, building, momentum, practical tools, et cetera.
6. How Are We Going to Explain This: Our Future on a Hot Earth
Jelmer Mommers, 2020
This book is divided into three parts. The first part describes what is going wrong at the moment, the second part describes what happens when we follow the current trend, the last part is more hopeful; it describes what we can do. This was my exact experience: the first half is very depressing, the second part is very empowering. The English version of this book will be released this July, but the Dutch edition has been out for quite some months.
Soon to be released
Currently, there are two books that I will pick up the moment they will be released. The first one is The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming by climate journalist Eric Holthaus. His publisher Harper Collins writes this on their website: "This is the book for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the current state of our environment. Hopeful and prophetic, The Future Earth invites us to imagine how we can reverse the effects of climate change in our own lifetime and encourages us to enter a deeper relationship with the earth as conscientious stewards and to re-affirm our commitment to one another in our shared humanity."

The second one is Less is more by Jason Hickel. Penguin books write on their website: "A groundbreaking exploration of the best possible solution to the climate crisis: a new economic model, and a new way of viewing our relationship with the natural world."
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Douwe van Schie

Creator Jointly