The term “climate change” is tossed around a lot these days. It appears as though many people have very strong opinions about it without having a strong grasp on the science underlying this phenomenon.
In this heated political era, even discussing climate change can feel daunting or provocative. However, in order to properly take care of this planet, it is imperative that we all have a deeper understanding of its condition and its requirements.
8 Thought Provoking Books on Climate Change
Therefore, today we have accumulated a list of books on climate change that will allow you to deepen your understanding of this topic. All of these books have something unique to offer in terms of the viewpoint taken and the style of writing. Some are calling for immediate action; others simply examine the causes while others are more doubtful. What they do share in common is that each and every one is educational, thought provoking and worthy of your time.
After reading one or two of these books, try starting a conversation with your friends and family about climate change! Ask them what they know and tell them what you’ve learned. We can only change the world one book and one conversation at a time!
1. Six Degrees by Mark Lynas
This books is a riveting read that breaks down what the world would look like if the world were 1 degree warmer, 2 degrees warmer, 3 degrees warmer, and so on. Each chapter is dedicated to an increase in 1 degree and future predictions of that world.
In it, Lynas write, “Climate change is the canvas on which the history of the 21st century will be painted.”
And although the canvas he paints is alarming and gloomy, this author maintains a sense of optimism and inspires us to rise to the occasion.
2. Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
In this fascinating book, Oreskes and Conway pull back the curtain on a loose-knight group of high-level scientists and advisors that have deep connections in politics.
In a variety of different industries from tobacco, DDT, to climate change, these scientists have run effective campaigns that attempt to delegitimize concerns and mislead the public.
This book was also made into a documentary of the same name that we recommend.
3. This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
This quote from Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate expresses the thesis of the book: “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”
If you are interested in examining how capitalism may have caused climate change, this is the book for you!
4. An Appeal to Reason by Nigel Lawson
On the opposite side of the spectrum from Klein’s book on climate change is An Appeal to Reason by Nigel Lawson. Lawson is the former Secretary of State for Energy under Margaret Thatcher.
In this book he argues that much spin and hype has been added to the conversation about climate change and that it global warming is in fact not the devastating threat to the world that many suggest.
As the New York Times explained, Lawson “ argues that though climate science does contain a measure of truth, it is mostly overstated — in his view, any decrease in quality of life over the next 100 years would be modest, at most. And even if the most pessimistic environmental forecast were to prove true, Lawson believes, society would do what it has done for centuries: adapt. His standpoint is decidedly economic, laying out a case for why taking action now is both expensive and unwarranted.”
5. Caring for Creation by Paul Douglas and Mitch Hescox
The full title of this book is Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.
This book is targeted specifically for conservative Evangelical Christians who are concerned about the global warming. It is written by one of the country’s top meteorologists and pairs both science with religious scripture.
It certainly takes a specific, but effective approach to examining climate change.
6. Field Notes From a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert
Written by a long-time thought-provoking political journalist, Elizabeth Kolbert asks the following questions in this book: what will climate change actually do? How are we going to react? How will it affect our lives?
Kolbert answers these questions by showing us the ways in which climate change has already created irreparable changes in extinctions, disappearing villages, changes in migration patterns, and more.
This book is bleak and alarming, but a necessary one in order for us to fully grasp the potential long-term consequences of climate change if we fail to act now.
7. Comfortably Unaware by Richard A. Oppenlander
One reader of Comfortably Unaware summarized this book succinctly with the following review: “People don’t realize the devastating impact that our food choices have on the planet. This book explains how animal agriculture is the single biggest cause of global warming.”
In this book, Oppenlander unapologetically recommends a plant based diet in order to save the planet and shows us how a meat-based diet is damaging our planet.
If you are willing to take a hard look at your diet and thinking critically about your responsibility to this plant starting with your dinner plate, this is the book for you!
8. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
The last book we recommend is for those who dislike non-fiction, but still want to learn more about climate change.
Flight Behavior is a novel with a female protagonist, Dellarobia, who sees a vision of orange surrounding the mountains. This sight draws journalists, religious leaders, and climate scientists into her small town—each group having a different reaction and interpretation of the phenomenon.
This intriguing novel examines the human psychology behind climate change—how we can have different motivations and circumstances that cause us to react differently. It attempts to ask and answer this question: how does belief and denial influence our relationship with climate change?