The best books on solving the climate crisis

The Books I Picked & Why

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

By Michael E. Mann

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

Why this book?

Enough science to understand the problem and see that the solution is eminently doable. But it's really about politics, how the fossil fuel industry and its paid lackeys are blocking climate action, but in a new way. The old climate war was straight-up science denial. Since that won't fly anymore, the industry has retreated to its fallback position: acknowledging that climate change is real but finding ways to defer action by deflecting responsibility on consumers or dividing the movement against itself, like vegans vs meat-eaters. Once we know the con, we can avoid it and push for real climate solutions by the government that will keep fossil fuels in the ground and build clean energy capacity as quickly as possible.


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Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can

By Guido Girgenti, Varshini Prakash

Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can

Why this book?

If you care about the climate crisis and are interested in serious solutions, this book from the founders of the youth-led Sunrise Movement is as inspiring as it is practical. The book features essays on the connection between climate and racial justice as well as an analysis of why the Green New Deal is the best way to address both challenges. There's a lot here for young people burning to save the planet but new to activism, and also for older folks to work with our youth to turn today's climate and racial crisis into a chance to dethrone the neoliberal economics and "small government" consensus that has dominated politics since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.


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On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

By Naomi Klein

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

Why this book?

If you haven't read much else by Klein, this book of essays is a good intro to her take on the climate movement. The volume is worth reading alone for Klein's skillful critique of the doomerism of Nathaniel Rich's book Losing Earth. Rich wrongly asserts that the late 1980s were the best time to fight climate change, ignoring the ascendance of extreme capitalism and a culture of greed-is-good driven by globalization and deregulation whose beau ideal was Ayn Rand. Rich claims that "we" (meaning you and me, not Exxon and the US govt) missed this once-in-a-lifetime chance to save the climate in 1988-89 because we were too selfish or shortsighted to make major changes in our consumer lives. He's wrong and Klein places the blame where it belongs, with oil companies and the governments they control, and offers hope that ordinary people can and will mobilize for an economy that's both clean and fair.


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Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto

By Jenny Price

Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto

Why this book?

A welcome corrective to the trend of X number of things you can do in your personal life to save the Earth that won't threaten the rule of greedy polluters over the economy and government, Price's lighthearted book welcomes the reader with a smile but strikes hard against propaganda from corporate polluters while she stands up for climate justice. To help readers make a real difference, as opposed to doing things that feel helpful but really aren't like buying a Prius, Price does actually offer a few personal life changes, like buying less stuff or buying higher quality stuff at lower quantity. But most of her ideas are about thinking differently about the environment--such as Redefine Economy or even Redefine Extremism (greedheads, not environmentalists, are the real extremists). Or getting active in public policy--from the strikingly simple "Vote!" to "Join up locally--government & economy R us."


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All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change

By Michael T. Klare

All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change

Why this book?

Michael Klare mines reports written by each of the U.S. armed services over the last couple of decades to show how the Pentagon identifies a variety of threats that are multiplied by climate change. Klare organizes them in a “threat ladder” ranging from most to least likely but from least to most dangerous, making it a ladder of escalation that diverts military personnel and resources from their main mission of defending the American homeland from foreign adversaries. If you're a committed pacifist, as many climate activists are, this book will be eye-opening. If you want to reduce and then stop the increase of climate change while protecting America from the worst impacts of weird weather in the coming decades, it turns out you may have more in common with generals and admirals than you'd thought.


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