Top 5 Climate Books

Books are the number one way to ingest information coming from a reliable and well researched source. Blogs, websites, and social media posts tend to be more opinionated than factual. Books have to go through a rigorous publication process to be put in store shelves. Because they pass through so many sets of eyes, books need to be well researched and fact checked before they hit the shelves. Anyway, enough on why I think books are a good thing. I'm sure you already know their value. This post will be highlighting the top 5 climate change books you need to get your hands on to learn more about what our planet is dealing with.

Disclaimer: I have only personally read 2 of these books, I'm relying on outside resources and recommendations to showcase the others. Also, these books are listed in no particular order.

1. The Water Will Come: Jeff Goodell

Water Will Come Jeff Goodell

From the Rolling Stone contributing author, Jeff Goodell, comes a depiction of the world under siege by our own oceans. One only has to look towards cities like Venice to know that Mr. Goodell is on to something here.

What if Atlantis wasn’t a myth, but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica, and each tick upwards of Earth’s thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster.

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2. The Sixth Extinction: Elizabeth Kolbert

Sixth Extinction Elizabeth Kolbert

Are you looking for a good read that's going to educate you on the state of the world? Isn't everybody?

Look no further than the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by NY Times writer, Elizabeth Kolbert.  The NY Times has this to say about their prized contributor:

Kolbert, a staff writer at The New Yorker, reports from the front lines of the violent collision between civilization and our planet’s ecosystem: the Andes, the Amazon rain forest, the Great Barrier Reef — and her backyard. In lucid prose, she examines the role of man-made climate change in causing what biologists call the sixth mass extinction — the current spasm of plant and animal loss that threatens to eliminate 20 to 50 percent of all living species on earth within this century.

Extinction is a relatively new idea in the scientific community. Well into the 18th century, people found it impossible to accept the idea that species had once lived on earth but had been subsequently lost. Scientists simply could not envision a planetary force powerful enough to wipe out forms of life that were common in prior ages.

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3. Rising: Elizabeth Rush

Rising Elizabeth Rush

In “Rising,” Elizabeth Rush takes readers to the physical and cultural edges of the country, from the marginalized and forgotten citizens of places like Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, to the glass castles of Facebook and Google in Silicon Valley. As high tide and massive storms become the new normal, those at the coasts, especially those with lower incomes, will be most at risk of flooding and all that comes with it. At stake are not just coastlines; entire communities stand to lose their homes and lifestyles to climate change, becoming the first of many climate refugees. The question is not a matter of if but when we lose these lands, and Rush explores how we cope with this knowledge.

 Brandon Pytel, Communications Manager/Writer


4. The Uninhabitable Earth: David Wallace-Wells

The Uninhabitable Earth David Wallace-Wells

Before I get into the reviews and descriptions, I just want to say this book was amazing, it moved me to think about climate change in a much, much different way. Ok here is what it's all about:

It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible—food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

An “epoch-defining book” (The Guardian) and “this generation’s Silent Spring” (The Washington Post), The Uninhabitable Earth is both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it—the ways that warming promises to transform global politics, the meaning of technology and nature in the modern world, the sustainability of capitalism and the trajectory of human progress.

The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation—today’s.


5. Drawdown: Paul Hawken

Drawdown Paul Hawken

With all the negative connotations surrounding the climate crisis, it's nice to have someone dedicated to the solution. That's exactly what Paul Hawken has done with his Drawdown book. This book outlines 100 solutions to climate change and in detail, goes over each of their carbon impacts, history economics, and more. The books website describes it better than I ever could:

Drawdown describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.

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There you have it, 5 of the most influential books written about climate change at the time of writing this blog post. If you were to read all five, you would be off to a good start when it comes to knowing what is happening and what needs to happen to our planet when it comes to climate change and keeping our species here for a long time. Hope you enjoyed the read!

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