12 Books About Climate Change Solutions

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Anna Gooding-Call

Staff Writer

Anna Gooding-Call is a librarian and writer originally from rural central New York. She got her BA in the city that inspired "The Twilight Zone" and confirms that the hitchhikers really are weird there. Today, she lives in Massachusetts with her wife and two cats.

As we endure one of the hottest summers in human history, it’s easy to despair about climate change. Don’t give in to grief just yet! There are a LOT of potential solutions to this problem, and a slew of experts have written books about climate change solutions. This list is just a start. Think of it as an Amazon Wishlist kickoff. Look ’em up and send ’em to your lawmaker. Or run for office yourself. You can run on a climate change platform, you know. If you and all your friends ran, there’s a better chance one of you will get the brass ring, and then you can drag it in the direction of carbon pricing, urban microfarms, and protected bike lanes. There’s a lot you can do, but whatever you do, start with these books!

Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution by Peter Kalmus

Peter Kalmus was done—done!—with being part of the problem. He decided to take some radical steps, including planting fruit trees in his backyard, using only a vehicle that runs on used vegetable oil, and taking composting to a whole new level. This book is both his journey and his reflections on the scalability, the feasibility, and the entertainment value of his personal quest to cut his emissions.

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Faced with a deadly drought and out of options, William Kamkwamba turned to books. Not only did he learn how to generate wind-powered electricity by reading about it, but he used scrap metal and old bike parts to do it! This is a not-to-be-missed story and a great idea. Feeling blue about the environment? Be like Kamkwamba and autodidact your way to a kickass solution.

The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past Our Hang-ups to Effective Climate Policy by Shi-Ling Hsu

Carbon pricing probably sounds pretty boring to you. Actually, it won economist William Nordhaus the Nobel Prize and I happen to be super into it. If the word tax makes you wince, just read this book. I promise it’ll only hurt a little, and it could help a lot.

Cows Save The Planet by Judith Schwartz Cows Save the Planet And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth by Judith D. Schwartz

It’s common knowledge that cows are lousy for Earth. Right? Well, maybe. But that may be because we’re grazing them wrong. Schwartz suggests that changing how we raise and keep bovines could actually do some good for the planet by restoring soil and nurturing grasslands.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

If you ever doubt that single-use plastic is a problem, try going a day without it. This book makes the case that manufacturing could strike a blow against environmental degradation by making products that nurture the planet rather than clutter it up.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken

You want ideas about how to fix global warming? Paul Hawken has ideas about how to fix global warming. They range from educating girls to engaging in permaculture, and you just have to read this. Everybody on Earth should do so.

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions by Denise Fairchild, Al Weinrub, Diego Angarita Horowitz, Isaac Baker

The biggest problem with the environment right now might be corporate control of energy resources. The authors of this book argue that now is the moment for the masses to revamp how we make energy on this little blue world of ours, starting with a radical shift in how we look at power of all types. A unique find among books about climate change solutions!

Greenovation by Joan FitzgeraldGreenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change by Joan Fitzgerald

Cities emit over 70% of carbon pollution, and that’s a problem with a solution. By redesigning cities with sustainability in mind, politicians and engineers can turn this serious issue into an epic win. However, it’s going to take a coordinated, organized effort, not just a few token community gardens and solar panels.

Love Earth Now: The Power of Doing One Thing Every Day by Cheryl Leutjen

When you’re feeling helpless and starting to despair, read this book. You’re not powerless. Taking action in the name of the planet, however small that action may be, is good for your Earth, for you, and for the people you love. Like Kalmus, Leutjen will walk you through an every person’s effort to make a real change.

Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World by Ellen Moyer

Some people I talk to seem to think that going green means living in caves and eating bugs in the dark forever. That’s just not so! Living eco-friendly is better for everyone. Moyer discusses how eco-friendliness can lead to economic prosperity, an egalitarian society, and inner peace for everyone.

Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World by Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai is a biologist and climate hero whom you might already know about. She’s worth reading in her own words as she gives a why to environmentalism that departs from the usual terrified rhetoric. Before we change the world, we need to make inner changes. Are we happy being cut off from the Earth? When we don’t love our home, can we really love ourselves? This is a perfect pick for religious book study groups.

Sustainable Nation by Douglas Farr Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future by Douglas Farr

What this book gives us is blueprints. By the time you finish it, you’re going to want to go out and build that equitable, clean world that Farr makes seem so possible. It’s a little advanced, but after all the reading you’ve been doing, you’re probably raring to go already!

When you’re done with these books about climate change solutions, go check out 10 Books To Help You Understand The Environment and our famous Book Riot climate change reading list!