10 Must-Read Books on Climate Change | Skimm Reads | theSkimm

10 Must-Read Books on Climate Change

Published on: Apr 16, 2020fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
"The Uninhabitable Earth," "We Are the Weather," and "Silent Spring."

Friends don’t let friends be uninformed about climate change and our environmental future. Reduce, reuse, recycle, read these non-fiction picks. 

For your friend who's still using plastic straws...

“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells
“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells

We see your straws and raise you this book. Based off Wallace-Well's 2017 piece for New York Magazine, it covers some worst case climate scenarios: famine, economic disaster, acid water...the list goes on. If you’re looking for a reason to start caring about the world, this will do it for you.

Read

For when you need an environmental book you can actually understand... 

“Inconspicuous Consumption” by Tatiana Schlossberg
“Inconspicuous Consumption” by Tatiana Schlossberg

Goodbye existential ideas. Hello ideas you can actually grasp. This one examines how our everyday lives—from what we wear to the food we eat—impact the environment. It's divided into four main digestible parts: technology, food production, fuel and fashion. Schlossberg's a former NYT science reporter and, fun fact, JFK's granddaughter.

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Related: Our fave picks to go green at home for Earth Month

For when you can't decide between the burger or the salad...

“We Are The Weather” by Jonathan Safran Foer
“We Are The Weather” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Foer would prefer you stuck with greens. Foer’s main argument is that we need to eat less animal products (think: meat, but also dairy and eggs too.) He thinks we should start by eliminating them at breakfast and lunch, to collectively prevent a LOT of carbon emissions. The book’s structure is less a college lecture and more a bunch of personal stories that add up to one persuasive AF argument.

Read

For when Erin Brockovich is still your hero...

“Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson
“Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson

She might have some competition. Enter Rachel Carson. Her book, published in 1962, is credited with helping launch the environmental movement. She exposed the harm of chemical pesticides and started conversations about things that we now take for granted: that once chemicals enter the air, they affect wildlife in big ways (think: birds, fish, and even children). The book’s findings sent ripple effects through America.

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For when you excelled on the science portion of the ACTs…

“Odyssey in Climate Modeling, Global Warming, and Advising Five Presidents” by Warren Washington
“Odyssey in Climate Modeling, Global Warming, and Advising Five Presidents” by Warren Washington

Warren Washington could probably relate. Washington is famous for being one of the first scientists to model the Earth’s climate. The models went on to become a big part of our understanding of global warming and the atmosphere. His autobiography is part personal journey and part scientific exploration. And is a must-read for anyone who loves science and politics.

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For when you need a new favorite drinking game...

“An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore
“An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore

Meet the climate change edition: Two Truths and An Inconvenient Lie. Former VP and big-time environmental supporter has been pushing Congress to think about the effects of climate change long before it was mainstream. His 2006 book, which coincided with a documentary release, is a wake up call and a look at what policy changes governments need to make for a safer, cleaner future. There are charts, graphs, and a lot of photos, all of which make it a great entry point to the climate change conversation.

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Related: Al Gore explains climate change

For when you want to brag about reading an awarding-winning book…

“The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert
“The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert

The name’s Kolbert. Elizabeth Kolbert. The premise of this 2015 Pulitzer-winner goes a little something like this: in Earth’s history, there have been five extinctions. But the sixth extinction is coming and...it’s all our fault. The past extinctions—including the end of dinosaurs—have been catastrophic, and the new one is set to be the worst. This book compiles the studies of geologists, botanists, biologists and more. PS: it’s the perfect double feature to accompany her other book “Field Notes from a Catastrophe.”

Read

For your ocean-loving friend…

“Rising” by Elizabeth Rush
“Rising” by Elizabeth Rush

Here's one she should sea (had to). This book is the ultimate authority on rising sea levels. Climate change is dramatically changing coastlines and consequences of natural disasters. This is the literary exploration of those changes and what happens to the communities that are left behind because of it. It’s part personal accounts from those who’ve lived through it and part scientific testimonial. And the prose is stunning.

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For when you need something to go with your Netflix cooking obsession…

“The Fate of Food” by Amanda Little
“The Fate of Food” by Amanda Little

Here’s some food for thought. This book from an environmental journalist slash professor explores whether we’ll have enough food to feed a growing population with...a shrinking food supply. The book is a three-year journey to answer that question. Little goes from an organic farm in Shanghai to famine zones in Ethiopia and beyond to interview farmers, engineers, activists. No spoilers on if she gets her answer, but it’s worth a read to find out. 

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For when a book gives a new meaning to small but mighty... 

“No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” by Greta Thunberg
“No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” by Greta Thunberg

In Greta We Trust. You know her as the climate activist turned Time Person of the Year. This book is a compilation of her many climate speeches. They cover her address to the UN, to speeches on Capitol Hill, and beyond. It’s the ultimate inspiration manual about being young, active, and helping wake up the world. Absolutely in-Gret-able.

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PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase it, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.


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