The best books on eco-anxiety

The Books I Picked & Why

The Overstory

By Richard Powers

Book cover of The Overstory

Why this book?

I fell in love with The Overstory, and perhaps love is the essential fuel in Power’s heart-driven fiction. His entrancing literary journey brings readers into a story of wonder and connectivity with more-than-human life. While the plot moves at an entertaining pace and the characters develop with interest, he gets under the skin as only the best writers can: In subtle and surprising ways, he shifts our perspectives about Earth and our place in it. Power’s narrative took me into the human-inflicted wounds to the natural world where eco-anxiety arises, but also rekindled a bone-deep sense of home that helps me remember how healing is possible.


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A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet

By Sarah Jaquette Ray

Book cover of A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet

Why this book?

Ray is a colleague and an environmental studies professor at Humboldt State University. After witnessing firsthand the rising emotional distress in her students, she was compelled to respond with empathy and supportive resources. She began to recognize that teaching about climate impacts was not enough, and perhaps it even contributes to the problems if the emotional responses are not addressed in tandem. Written primarily with Gen Z in mind, I find the perspectives and resources are useful for anyone experiencing eco-anxiety, and she incorporates strong and insightful social justice perspectives.


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Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change

By Sherri Mitchell

Book cover of Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change

Why this book?

You’re probably seeing a theme by now: Addressing eco-anxiety is a much deeper, more complex, and nuanced approach than simply learning how to calm our nervous systems with mindful breathing (although that is a really helpful tool!). I appreciate the clear, grounded voice that Mitchell brings to the conversation, sharing some of the “original instructions” and Indigenous cultural values for being in a harmonious balance with the living world. She was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian Reservation, is an attorney, and promotes heart-based activism. She is perhaps the most articulate writer I have come across in describing the characteristics and impacts of a colonized mindset, with compassionate guidance for shifting to a more Earth-attuned way of life.


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

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Katharine K. Wilkinson

Book cover of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Why this book?

One of the most overlooked but essential aspects of addressing climate change effectively is to not only mourn the losses and acknowledge the anxiety, frustration, anger and other climate-induced emotions that are a natural response to what is happening in our world, we must also cultivate our ecological imaginations. Our brains are wired to register threats and negativity 3-5 times more strongly than positive events, so we need to actively seek out the progress being made. This book brings us fifty-eight chapters by powerful change-makers committing their life's work to addressing climate change. These women poets, scientists, journalists, activists, and politicians express creative possibility, and I always feel a boost of energy recognizing how our collective efforts elevate and amplify each other’s work in creating a healthier more just world.


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Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic dimensions of engagement

By Renee Lertzman

Book cover of Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic dimensions of engagement

Why this book?

Okay, pour yourself a strong cup of coffee and get ready for an insightful dive under the hood of human consciousness with a psychoanalytic flashlight. This is not a quick read, but it is a valuable academic tome written by a woman with a brilliant mind. Lertzman is one of the earliest voices in climate psychology, and she continues to be a force in advancing the recognition of the strong role our emotions play in moving forward effectively with social change. Everyone in the field owes a debt of gratitude for the path she forged. She has personally inspired me, and if you are in this field professionally, or enjoy getting to know the perspectives of social influencers, you’ll want to include this in your personal library.


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