The best eco books for the practical to the poetic heart

Who am I?

A children's DK book presented green clubs and made sustainability fun: of course, I started a club with my friends. In college, an Environmental Justice class professed methods for cooperation but focused only on devastation—so depressing that change seemed pointless; every story went: "1) horrible thing, 2) drawing attention, 3) corporations erode results." The class catalyzed my interest in changing the climate narrative. There are always triumphs to celebrate, stories of vision and excitement; that's what matters to me. It's what the DK book I loved as a child gave me, and what I hope to be able to give to others as an editor at PoeticEarthMonth.com. 


I wrote...

Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience

By Sara Barkat,

Book cover of Earth Song: A Nature Poems Experience

What is my book about?

From an editor at PoeticEarthMonth.com, comes Earth Song, a poetry anthology arranged to mirror the experience of an orchestral piece. With repeating refrains of Teasdale and Hopkins, it unfolds its lyric moments through a wide range of voices. Historic. Modern. Cross-cultural. Global—with many poems in beautiful translation. The collection includes emerging poets and greats like Neruda, Berry, Hirshfield, Darwish, Dickinson, McKay, and Merwin.

Leaving off anger, which is the single emotion many people associate with environmental concern, this collection puts forth a vision more nuanced, more poignant, and not easily brushed aside. It draws readers to embrace their care for the world—starting so simply: celebrating life moment by small moment.

The books I picked & why

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

By Paul Hawken (editor),

Book cover of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Why this book?

Edited by Paul Hawken, and written by a team of writers, researchers, and scientists from around the world, this book includes 80 game-changers—things that, if everyone got on them now, could create a dent in global warming for good.

From solutions like offshore wind farms to minimizing food waste, Drawdown takes initiatives that are world-large in scope and puts them into easily conceptualizable material. Includes information on how much carbon any given solution would reduce in the atmosphere if certain changes were made, to how much money it would cost (& save!) to do so.

If you're overwhelmed by global warming and climate breakdown, Drawdown is a handbook for imagining a more hopeful future, and giving you hard numbers regarding how to get there. If you had to take one book to a climate desert island, it would be this one.

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

By Paul Hawken (editor),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Drawdown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

• New York Times bestseller •

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world

“At this point in time, the Drawdown book is exactly what is needed; a credible, conservative solution-by-solution narrative that we can do it. Reading it is an effective inoculation against the widespread perception of doom that humanity cannot and will not solve the climate crisis. Reported by-effects include increased determination and a sense of grounded hope.” —Per Espen Stoknes, Author, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming…


The Carbon Almanac: It's Not Too Late

By Seth Godin (editor), The Carbon Almanac Network,

Book cover of The Carbon Almanac: It's Not Too Late

Why this book?

For people who are into the nitty-gritty, a book of climate-related trivia collected and edited by best-selling author Seth Godin. Where this book shines is in being a springboard for further ideas—from what you can do in your own life, to how you can contact and connect with others.

For instance, did you know: a] sheep's wool can be used for insulation? b] concrete is a huge producer of greenhouse gases, but there are new methods of concrete production that are greener? c] it takes 9 gallons of water to produce 1 cup of tea, and 39 gallons to produce 1 cup of coffee? d] electric bikes were invented in the 1890s?

The Carbon Almanac: It's Not Too Late

By Seth Godin (editor), The Carbon Almanac Network,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Carbon Almanac as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it comes to the climate, we don’t need more marketing or anxiety. We need established facts and a plan for collective action.

The climate is the fundamental issue of our time, and now we face a critical decision. Whether to be optimistic or fatalistic, whether to profess skepticism or to take action. Yet it seems we can barely agree on what is really going on, let alone what needs to be done. We urgently need facts, not opinions. Insights, not statistics. And a shift from thinking about climate change as a “me” problem to a “we” problem. 
 
The Carbon…


The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time

By Paul Connett,

Book cover of The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time

Why this book?

Paul Connett talks about his experiences with towns and cities in helping them go zero-waste—that is, where the entire town reduces their landfill use. Includes fascinating systemic observations and heartening stories about how change can happen and how sustainability on the city level is possible.

Connett also discusses what kind of messaging works to get people on board, what flops, and all in all this is a great book for people who want to get into the nuts and bolts of making positive change.

The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time

By Paul Connett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Zero Waste Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Waste is something we all make every day but often pay little attention to. That's changing, and model programs around the globe show the many different ways a community can strive for, and achieve, zero-waste status.

Scientist-turned-activist Paul Connett, a leading international figure in decades-long battles to fight pollution, has championed efforts to curtail overconsumption and keep industrial toxins out of our air and drinking water and bodies. But he's best known around the world for leading efforts to help communities deal with their waste in sustainable ways-in other words, to eliminate and reuse waste rather than burn it or…


What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

By Per Espen Stoknes,

Book cover of What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

Why this book?

We've all heard about climate change by now—but does constantly talking about it make a difference? Or does it matter more how you talk about it? Stoknes gives comprehensive explanations about the messaging that's most effective to get through to people about climate change from a psychological and marketing point of view.

A must-read for anyone who wants to talk about global warming, whether you're creating large-scale marketing plans or just trying to talk to family and friends.

What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

By Per Espen Stoknes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does knowing more mean believing-and doing-less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples-from the private sector to government agencies-Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same…


The Tin Forest

By Helen Ward, Wayne Anderson (illustrator),

Book cover of The Tin Forest

Why this book?

Finish your eco-book collection with this darkly whimsical fairy tale by Helen Ward, illustrated by Wayne Anderson.

The story is about a man whose house is on a trash heap, and how he changes his environment for the better by creating a forest out of what he has on hand. A perfect metaphor for the principles of change, illustrated with beautiful colored pencil that creates a shimmering otherworldly space—a story for both kids and adults to cherish.

The Tin Forest

By Helen Ward, Wayne Anderson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tin Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of The National Art Library Award!

Helen Ward's tale of The Tin Forest follows an old man who tidies the rubbish in a junkyard and dreams of a better place. With faith, ingenuity and hard work, he transforms it into a wonderland in this poetic modern fable.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in global warming, climate change mitigation, and environmentalism?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about global warming, climate change mitigation, and environmentalism.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, A Cold Welcome, and Braiding Sweetgrass if you like this list.