The more you educate yourself about the environment, the better decisions you will take to treat this globe as it should be treated. On the other side, it can also have another effect. The more movies you see about climate change and where the state of the world is going, the more depressed you feel.
However, I think we should agree that reading books about the environment are more positive rather than a negative thing. Some books about sustainability are there to educate you. Some are there to scare you. And some, the ones that focus on “worst-case futuristic scenarios” are there to make you cry.
However, there are several different categories within the niche “environment and sustainability”. We have made a list of recommendations.
Table of Contents
- Book #1: 25 Myths That Are Destroying The Environment by Daniel Botkin
- Book #2: The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell
- Book #3: Climate Change: Causes & Effects Of A Life-Threatening Phenomenon & Ways To Make Planet Earth A Better Place
- Book #4: Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
- Books for kids
In a hurry? These are my top picks
After reading more than 100 books about global warming, sustainability, and the environment, these are the ones that have taught me the most:
They are all inspirational, educational and extremely well-written.
There are different categories to categorize books about the environment. We have chosen these three:
Books about how to grow your own vegetables. The food you make yourself is not only the cheapest and most tasteful. It is also the best for the environment.
Non-fiction books that will educate the reader about environmental issues such as global warming, air pollution, how to handle waste, etc.
Buying a book about the environment for your kid is an excellent investment. They need to be educated for the sake of themselves and the world.
If you see some categories missing, feel free to reach out to us – we are more than happy to edit this post if you believe that would give value to the reader.
All recommendations are given on books that have been read by people affiliated with Sustainability Matters Daily. If you disagree with any of our book recommendations, please let us know in the comment section and we will be willing to take the fight with you!
Books about how you make your own vegetables in your own backyard.
The food you are buying in the local supermarket is probably not local. Some food is transported all across the world before it ends up on your dinner table, which is not very environmentally friendly. This type of environmental impact from the food product travels is very often referred to as “food miles”. Some of it is transferred by train, other with cars and/or airplane – each will leave a different carbon footprint.
However, the point is that you can eliminate most of this by growing your own vegetables in your own garden. This is a couple of books that helped us to start to grow ecofriendly, non-toxic vegetables in our own backyard.
Book #1: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, 2nd Edition by Edward C. Smith
“Vegetable Gardeners Bible” is the most iconic gardening book on the market. The second edition was released in 2009 and has sold more than 500,000 copies already. This is a book that will teach you everything you need to know about gardening – with a core focus on producing vegetables and fruits. The book fits for everyone that are interested in starting to grow their own food. “Bible” is really the right word to describe it.
It is very tempting to quote Amazon when describing this masterpiece:
“Everything you loved about the first edition of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is still here: friendly, accessible language; full-color photography; comprehensive vegetable specific information in the A-to-Z section; ahead-of-its-time commitment to organic methods; and much more.”
According to various sources, the motivation behind writing the book was actually related to the environment. Back in 2000, when the first book was published, these problems were not a part of our daily lives. Newspapers did not enhance the importance of growing your own veggies due to the environment. But things changed rapidly and these days we are seeing a growth in interest for both vegan food and people wanting to be self-produced with vegetables.
Buy it here:
59 $ for Hardcover, 118 $ for Paper-back
Book #2: Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots by Andrea Bellamy
This is the perfect book for you that are living in urban areas, but still want to grow your own vegetables.
There are loads of questions being answered in this book:
– How to create a garden despite having a very limited space?
– Which vegetables will grow despite not being given too much sunlight?
– How to plan and build a garden in an urban area?
– And loads more.
This is the perfect book if you are interested in finding out how you can grow your own veggies in an urban area. Or simply if you want to know more about the environmental issues of transporting food all around the globe – it also covers that topic.
Buy it here:
16 $ for Paper-back
These non-fiction books are all discussing human impact on the environment and what we can do to solve problems. All of them are intended to make you learn more about the environmental issues we are currently facing globally.
In other words, these are the best words about sustainability and the environment.
Book #1: 25 Myths That Are Destroying The Environment by Daniel Botkin
It is very easy to pass on knowledge that you get from day-to-day conversations with
friends, family members or colleagues. The problem occurs when knowledge in fact is “knowledge”. And that is how myths are created. History shows that a lot of these myths suddenly have started to become a natural part of the political debates when environmental questions are being discussed. That is where things start to get dangerous.
25 Myths That Are Destroying The Environment is a good book for people that want to replace feelings/meanings with real facts. The book is not written in a very scientific language, which also makes it suitable for kids down to 13 years of age.
Some examples of the environmental myths discussed in the book:
- # 10 People Have Changed Environment Only Since the Industrial Age
- # 11 Without Human Interference, Earth’s Climate Is Stable
- # 13 Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Numbers of Extinctions
- # 20 We Can’t Do Much about Environmental Risks
- # 23 Solar and Wind Energy Require Huge Areas
Sounds interesting? It is. And it does not necessarily demand a lot of background knowledge to understand what Botkin is writing about. Very good read.
Buy it here:
11 $ for Paper-back
Book #2: The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell
The title itself is quite scary.
“Rising seas”? Huh. “Sinking cities?” Even worse. Being one of Booklists` Top 10 Science Books of 2017, Jeff Goodell has created a masterpiece with this one.
It might sound like fiction, but it`s not. One newspaper wrote that “It is a powerful reminder that we can bury our heads in the sand for so long about the effect of climate change before the sand itself disappears“. And that is the main topic of this book: how long will the politicians be rather passive when it comes to environmental issues?
We see the evidence everywhere and we know that the water will come. It is just about to time to wake up and smell the coffee.
This book is about the thousands of climate refugees already escaping from the rising water. About the island nations that already struggle to keep the head over the water. About engineering projects in main cities that might buy us time, but as we all know – it is only limited.
“The Water Will Come” is a great book for everyone that wants to be updated on how far the rising sea levels have and will come. It is not written to scare you, but to educate and explain what will happen in the (near) future.
Buy it here:
19 $ for Hardcover, 17 $ for Paper-back
Book #3: Climate Change: Causes & Effects Of A Life-Threatening Phenomenon & Ways To Make Planet Earth A Better Place
This book is often referred to as the “A-B-C of climate change” for most of us. If you want a simple-to-read, in-depth story about what climate change is and how it’s caused, this book is definitely for you. James Collins has written a book that is the perfect gift for anyone that would identify themselves as a “climate skeptic”.
Believe me: this book will most likely make them significantly more interested in finding out how they can do something good for the earth.
Because this book is not only a summary of how the climate changes over a period of time. It also includes very relevant tips to what you as a human being can do to live more environmentally friendly. You will also be able to read a summary of what is happening on the big political scene.
How does the US government work towards the global sustainability goals set by various agreements? And how do EU respond to those policies?
In the book description on Amazon, the following quote is something that summarizes the book in a very good way:
“Get insight into the climate change policy that intends to eliminate iceberg melting and disruption of food security, get informed about the key features of corporate climate change strategy and the changes occurring in agriculture in an attempt to adapt to the new situation. And the most important thing, find out what YOU can do to go ‘green’, from using your car less, to joining recycling programs, planting a tree or turning your home into energy-efficient.”
If you want to know more about how the climate is changing or want to buy a book to introduce them to the concept, this is a great choice.
Buy it here:
12 $ for Paper-back
Book #4: Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
What will happen with life on earth when it becomes six degrees hotter? This is what Mark Lynas tries to answer in this excellent book.
Al Gore warned us with his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Lynas tries to communicate that: “The global warming will happen rapidly and we just need to find a way to deal with it”.
According to the description on Amazon, this is possibly the “most graphic treatment of climate change that has ever been written”. The book is so real. So intense. But yet, unfortunately, very realistic.
The book is written on an assumption that we will within a couple of hundreds years be on a planet that is six degrees warmer than today. And the book illustrate this development – degree of degree.
What is the breaking point for the ice on the North Pole? And when is it getting so hot in certain parts of Africa that the territories can be described as “unlivable”?
Buy it here:
9 $ for Hardcover, 10 $ for Paper-back
Books for kids
Education about the environment should start at a very young age. There are loads of educational books for kids that features graphics and stories about environmental issues out there, but only a few of them are worth investing in.
In order to recommend any of these books, we had to go through a lot of bad ones. But these two books can be highly recommended.
Book #1: The Problem of the Hot World by Pam Bonsper
Suitable for kids in the age range: 5 to 8 years old.
This is a book that is excellent for small kids in the age between 5 and 8 to get a proper introduction to climate change. Or more specifically: global warming.
Five friends: an owl, a reindeer, a fox, a bear and a mole are living out in the woods. But bad things are starting to happen around them. The plants are dying. The bees are suddenly disappearing. And they understand that they have to find a solution to this problem.
This is a great book with a lot of nice pictures to help you start discussing climate change with your child.
One Amazon review summarizes a lot of what we thought about the book:
“This cute little picture book with its whimsical illustrations shines a light on the huge problem that is global warming. While remaining cute, the book shows some of the things that could happen to the animals and their homes if people don’t get it together and start focusing on the environment.”
Buy it here:
8 $ for Paper-back
Book #2: It`s your world by Chelsea Clinton
Suitable for kids in the age range: 8 to 15
This was on the New York Times bestseller list, which tells a lot about the quality.
This book combines a lot of great, easy-to-read text with graphs and photos. However, it is worth mentioning that this book is not only about environmental issues. It also covers a lot of other challenges that communities around the world are facing, namely food security, diseases, gender equality and lack of education. But around half of the book is dedicated towards climate change and endangered species.
This is a book that will educate any kid about the challenges that the world is facing. Kids will most likely sit with a feeling of wanting to do something about the environment after finishing the book. Despite the fact that it touches upon very serious topics, the book is not particularly scaring nor frightening.
Buy it here:
18 $ for Hardcover, 8 $ for Paper-back
#3 “Not your typical book about the environment” by Elin Kelsey
A children book looking on the positive things that happen around the world.
Most children books about the environment are written as a warning. They often educate kids to take better care of the planet than the previous generation did. And that is a highly relevant and important message to send out. However, “Not your typical book about the environment” is different. Elin Kelsey has written a book that looks at the positive sides of environmental development. The books give the impression that there is hope out there.
Scientists are continuously coming up with new innovative technology to get rid of pollution issues. 25 % of everyone in the UK is now considering themselves a vegan or vegetarian. And people get more and more educated about environmental issues.
The book presents a “do this more” rather than a “don’t do this” attitude, which can be quite motivational for kids. I did buy the book for my nephew and got a five minutes sneak peek before I left his birthday party. Each chapter is divided into subjects that a kid easily can relate to, such as “Video games” or “Dinner”.
Buy it here: Link to Amazon.
Current price: 14 USD.