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Get Informed & Inspired With These 11 New Books On Climate Change

Emma Loewe
Author:
Updated on March 30, 2021
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Last updated on March 30, 2021
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Reading about climate change is upsetting—but at least some books make it interesting. Each of these 11 titles paints an engaging, informative, sometimes distressing but always mobilizing picture of the environmental movement. They trace climate change through past, present, and future and in our opinion, they should be required reading for any human living in the 2020s.

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1. Under the Sky We Make: How To Be Human In A Warming World

In her debut book, sustainability professor Kimberly Nicholas, PhD translates climate science into terms we can all understand. Under the Sky We Make is a guidebook that reads more like a memoir, and it's peppered with personal anecdotes and stories that bring complex data to vibrant life. It also endorses key climate solutions that Nicholas hopes will have readers walk away saying, "It’s warming. It’s us. We’re sure. It’s bad. But we can fix it." Read an excerpt here.

Under the Sky We Make: How To Be Human In A Warming World by Kimberly Nicholas, PhD ($18)

2. Under A White Sky: The Nature Of The Future

With this much-anticipated book, journalist Elizabeth Kolbert picks up where her Pulitzer-winning bestseller left off. While The Sixth Extinction covered how human greed and destruction led to mass extinction, Under A White Sky explores how human ingenuity and passion can ultimately reverse it.

We got ourselves into this mess. Can we get ourselves out of it? That's the question Kolbert asks the thinkers who are engineering the climate of tomorrow. Get ready to dive into a world of lab-grown "super coral," stone made from carbon emissions, and more potentially life-saving innovations.

Under a White Sky: The Nature Of The Future by Elizabeth Kolbert ($28)

3. How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have And The Breakthroughs We Need

It's all in the name with this one. Read along as Gates explains how we can avoid the worst of the climate crisis through a combination of policies, tech innovations, and individual actions. An accessible plan from an authoritative voice, it's a great overview of the biggest problems we face and the solutions that can help us overcome them.

How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have And The Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates ($19.95)

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4. How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide To Surviving the Chaos

While the climate crisis is often referred to in future tense, this handbook is realistic about the fact that it's already here.

Author David Pogue is also the writer behind some of those "For Dummies" books, and this text is written in a similarly practical, no-nonsense style. With information on everything from how to prepare pets for global warming to how to build your home to stand up to extreme storms, it's a jarring how-to—but one that might prove essential.

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide To Surviving the Chaos by David Pogue ($24)

5. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

All We Can Save is a collection of essays penned by women in the climate movement. It contains a rich mix of writing styles—poetry, personal narrative, policy recommendations—from a diverse set of voices—scientists, policymakers, mothers—to form a more complete picture of all we can save if we act now on climate. Read our interview with one of the contributors here.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K Wilkinson ($29)

6. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

First published in 2015, Braiding Sweetgrass is an anthology of stories by Robin Wall Kimmerer, PhD, a plant ecologist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kimmerer's writing beautifully walks the line between, in her own words, “the lexicon of science and the grammar of animacy" to shed light on all the ways the natural world nourishes us body, mind, and soul. This special new hardcover edition features a fresh cover design, an updated introduction from Kimmerer, and original artwork that brings her words to life. This one is a classic for a reason; to read it is to love it.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Edition) by Robin Wall Kimmerer ($35)

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7. The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change

This compendium of The New Yorker articles lets you trace society's reaction to the climate crisis over the last 30-plus years. Beginning with Bill McKibben's 1989 piece, "Reflections: The End of Nature," it spans up to 2019 and features work from sharp storytellers such as Elizabeth Kolbert, Jonathan Franzen, and more.

The Fragile Earth Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder ($23.99)

8. Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

30 years after he penned The End of Naturewidely thought of as the first book to break down the threat of climate change for the everyday reader—author and activist Bill McKibben returns with Falter to check in on how we've been doing these past few decades.

In the book’s opening note, McKibben writes, "Between ecological destruction and technological hubris, the human experiment is now in question. The stakes feel very high, and the odds very long, and the trends very ominous." So as you can imagine, this one is far from a light read, but it does offer glimpses of hope.

Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben ($17)

9. The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

This one is a continuation of David Wallace-Wells' unsettling essay on the worst-case scenarios that could play out if we're not able to curb our emissions. The essay, which ran in August of 2017, ultimately became New York Magazine’s most-read article ever, proving that people don't turn a blind eye to doomsday projections.

Wallace-Wells' new 320-page portrayal of the near-apocalyptic future we could be in for—filled with disease, famine, and economic collapse—is meant to underscore the urgency of this crisis.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells ($18)

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10. Losing Earth: A Recent History

Another extension of an acclaimed article, this one from the New York Times Magazine, Losing Earth chronicles the efforts to silence information on global warming since the 1970s and '80s. "Nearly everything we understand about global warming was understood in 1979," author Nathaniel Rich writes.

The book is an investigative report of how government and big business worked to undermine the need for stricter environmental policies in the U.S. and beyond. It's an upsetting glimpse into a time when we had avoided catastrophe—and chose not to.

Losing Earth: A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich ($25)

11. A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

In A Bright Future, a political-science professor and nuclear engineer team up to share how a few countries around the world have successfully reduced their emissions. It's a solutions-oriented read that travels from Sweden to Ontario to South Korea to explore how the whole world can embrace a more renewable future.

A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow by Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist ($11.99)

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.