Green summer reads: top 10 new books about sustainability

Posted in: Environment

Posted on: 10.08.2020

Summer is made for reading.

As it’s 2020, the scene may be more living room sofa than Grecian sun lounger – but escaping into a good book is as enjoyable as ever. Here are a few green reads, hand-picked by our team, to dive into.

1. The Joyful Environmentalist – Isabel Losada.

A funny, solutions based read about the things we can all be doing to look after our planet better. Covering fast fashion, banking, and bird-feeding bushes, everyone can take something from this easy-to-read, preach-free book.

2. What Happened When We All Stopped? - Tom Rivett-Carnac & Bee Rivett-Carnac

Aimed at children but equally relevant for all of us, this beautifully illustrated poem inspires us to stop, consider how we are treating the planet, and start to live in harmony with nature instead. It’s been made into an animation, and the story is free to download too here.

 3. The Overstory – Richard Powers

This novel tackles the huge subjects of climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse through the interconnected lives of eight people who share a love of trees. It’s a long one, but a really powerful read that celebrates and warns us about the natural world.

4. The Wall – John Lanchester

Every inch of the UK’s coastline is guarded by a wall – against the rising sea levels but also against migrants. Told from the point of view of Kavanagh, a wall guard, this dystopian novel dissects how our obsession with borders is distracting us all from the global problems we face.

5. The Future We Choose – Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

Written by the two key UN negotiators for the Paris Climate Agreement, The Future We Choose sets out the practical steps to creating a carbon neutral, regenerative society. Figueres and Rivett-Carnac don’t shy away from the frightening reality of failing to tackle the crisis, but ultimately present an optimistic, inspiring vision of humankind’s ability to change our world for the better.

6. The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World - Roman Krznaric

We don’t often stop to consider how our actions might affect future generations. The Good Ancestor reveals six ways that we can all start to challenge our short term, consumerist mindsets, and gives hope about our future on this earth.

7. Rewild Yourself – Simon Barnes

Rewild Yourself is an encouraging and uplifting read that helps us to really notice the wildlife around us. In 23 top tips, you’ll soon be identifying different birdsongs, spotting where a deer may have crossed your path and connecting in a deeper way with nature.

8. Underland – Robert MacFarlane

From Neolithic burial sites and forest root networks to glacial caverns, Robert MacFarlane’s latest book really delves beneath the surface. Focused on exploring underground spaces and what they mean to our relationship with the world and each other, Underland encourages us to think about the legacy humans are leaving behind.

9. Wilding – Isabella Tree

Wilding tells the story of what happened when Isabella and her husband decided to give their clay farmland back to nature. It’s an inspiring and hopeful account, resulting in incredibly rare species flourishing on their rewilded land.

10. Hope in Hell – Jonathon Porritt

And finally, Hope in Hell is a call for all of us to face up to the biggest threat to every living creature on this planet: climate change. It doesn’t shy away from reality, but puts forward an optimistic vision for how we can all fight climate breakdown together.  

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