Books About Climate Change and Sustainability You Need to Read This Year by Aalia Mauro

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If you’re anything like me, you might love to spend some lazy afternoons reading new books. The sustainability movement is gaining momentum, and with more people choosing to move beyond the minimum to protect our planet and redefine our social and economic standards, education on this complex issue is needed now more than ever. These books will push your mind to uncomfortable places, and will change the way you see the world and live your life. However, it’s important to remember that education is a privilege so once you know better (which you will after reading these books) it is our responsibility to do better.

1. Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World (2017)

By Josh Tickell

Josh Tickell, one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers and director of Fuel, has dedicated most of his life to saving the environment. In Kiss the Ground, he explains an incredible truth: by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies and ultimately our planet.

2. Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage (2015)

By Peter Lacy &‎ Jakob Rutqvist

Circular economy, circular responsibility, circular advantage. So simple, yet so powerful. Waste to Wealth is a sneak peak into the future and proves that ‘green’ and ‘growth’ need not be binary alternatives. The book examines five new business models that provide circular growth from deploying sustainable resources to the sharing economy before setting out what business leaders need to do to implement the models successfully.

3. Kiribati

by Alice Piciocchi, Andrea Angeli

Welcome to Kiribati, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that is expected to be the first land to disappear due to climate change. How do the people here build their homes? With what plants do they heal? What does the night sky look like here? What fish inhabit the ocean? What plants grow in the gardens? This magnificent illustrated chronicle fixes the memory of the beauty of these islands which, whatever the scope of the efforts made to limit the climatic change, will have disappeared at the end of this century. This might be the most beautiful book about climate change I have ever read. It’s a very important book to understand what is really at stake with global warming.

4. The Third Plate: Field Notes On The Future Of Food

by Dan Barber

Chef Dan Barber pulls the curtain back on the less positive results of the farm-to-table movement, and the way in which it has failed to improve the standard American diet. The Third Plate takes a hard look at the way our food and food culture is connected with our environment and the complex food system that we all participate in everyday.

5. Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History Of Four Meals

by Michael Pollan

Arguably Michael Pollan’s most famous book that brings the reader through a journey to understand our American food system and the way in which our food culture impacts our food choices. In the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollen open’s the readers eyes to the realities of industrial farming and just how disconnected we really are from what we eat. 

6. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming

by Paul Hawken

Drawdown maps and measures the 100 most substantial solutions to combating global warming. This book is simple to flip through and addresses the history of every solution, the potential carbon reduction impact, and really opens the readers eyes to the most impactful (yet not always the most talked about or popular) solutions to reversing global warming.

7. Animal Vegetable Miracle

by Barbara Kingsolver

A beautifully written memoir by Barbara Kingsolver that will bring you along a family’s journey to remove themselves from our current industrial food system and consume only food grown themselves or within their local community for one year. This book will bring you through the seasons and connect you with what it truly means to live and eat seasonally, and bring the center of our relationship with our food back to the kitchen and family.

8. Braiding Sweetgrass

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Written by botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she used her knowledge as an indigenous scientist to share the ecological knowledge and teachings that can be found through plants. In Braiding Sweetgrass she emphasizes how plants and animals are our oldest teachers, and the traditional wisdom we can learn from them.

9. The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing Abundance

by Michael Braungart

Upcycle is actually a follow-up to one of the most popular sustainability books, Cradle to Cradle, The Upcycle addresses the next steps we need to take to improve the world we live in by how we create, live, and build. Throughout this book the authors take you on a journey to reimagine a truly “green” world, where instead of approaching sustainability from a mindset of “protecting the planet from humanity” we focus on redesigning the very ways in which we live to activity improve the environment with our human existence.

10. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide To Liberation Of The Land

by Leak Penniman

Leak Penniman is the founder of Soul Fire Farm in Upstate New York, and has written an incredible book that addresses the current issues of racism that exist in our farming and food system today. The book describes the history of farming in the USA and the current racial divides that exist to this day. Farming While Black is the very first “how to” guide written for African-heritage growers to help reclaim their power as agriculturists and for all farmers and citizens to understanding the contributions of African-heritage in the history, and present work of sustainable agriculture.

11. Nourished Planet

by the Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition and Danielle Nierenberg

Nourished Planet is one of the most comprehensive sustainability books recently published by the Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition and Danielle Nierenberg, the founder of Food Tank. Nourished Planet focuses on our global food system and the current practices within it that are compromising both of human and environmental health. With more than 30% of food in the world being waste, and roughly 800 million people living with chronic malnutrition, Nourished Planet works to address the disparities in our food system and solutions for sustainable improvement.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion

by Elizabeth L. Cline

Whether you are well versed in the social, environmental, and economic issues associated with the fast-fashion industry, or are just beginning to open your eyes to the impact our clothing has on the world, Overdressed is an eye-opening must read that will absolutely change the way you view your clothing. 

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