The best books that will help you save our beautiful precious planet

Why am I passionate about this?

The world around us is an amazing and beautiful place and for me science adds another layer of appreciation. I am a Professor of Earth System Science at University College London - which means I am lucky enough to research climate change in the past, the present, and the future. I study everything from early human evolution in Africa to the future impacts of anthropogenic climate change.  I have published over 190 papers in top science journals. I have written 10 books, over 100 popular articles and I regularly appear on radio and television. My blogs on the 'Conversation' have been read over 5.5 million times and you might want to check them out!


I wrote...

How To Save Our Planet: The Facts

By Mark A. Maslin,

Book cover of How To Save Our Planet: The Facts

What is my book about?

How to Save Our Planet is a call to action, guaranteed to equip everyone with the knowledge needed to deal with the climate crisis. Be under no illusion the challenges of the twenty-first century are immense, but:

We have the technology. We have the resources. We have the money. We have the scientists, the entrepreneurs, and the innovators. We lack the politics and policies to make your vision of a better world happen. So we need a plan to save our planet... How to Save Our Planet is your handbook of how we together can save our precious planet. We stand at the precipice. The future of our planet is in our hands. It's time to face the facts and save our planet from, and for, ourselves.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Five Times Faster: Rethinking the Science, Economics, and Diplomacy of Climate Change

Mark A. Maslin Why did I love this book?

The subtitle of this book is rethinking the science, economics, and diplomacy of climate change. And trust me Simon does that for you and more.

Because the world is facing multiple disasters with heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods, and massive storms becoming more common and more deadly. But there is an underlying optimism in this book – things are changing and we are reducing carbon emissions, pollution, and destruction of the natural world.  But the message Simon is giving us is that we are not doing it quick enough.

The way our economic and political systems are set up means we are slow to respond – and as Simon eloquently points out with facts and figures we need to do everything 5 times faster.  The question is, will we?

By Simon Sharpe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Five Times Faster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We need to act five times faster to avoid dangerous climate change. As Greenland melts, Australia burns, and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we think we know who the villains are: oil companies, consumerism, weak political leaders. But what if the real blocks to progress are the ideas and institutions that are supposed to be helping us? Five Times Faster is an inside story from Simon Sharpe, who has spent ten years at the forefront of climate change policy and diplomacy. In our fight to avoid dangerous climate change, science is pulling its punches, diplomacy is picking the wrong…


Book cover of Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

Mark A. Maslin Why did I love this book?

When we think of climate change many of us feel despair. But this is where Katherine Hayhoe is so important as the book is all about hope – hope in people and hope in the future.

Katherine is a wonderful colleague she is a Canadian climate scientist living and working in Texas. She has one golden rule talk about climate change to anyone and everyone. Because as her book shows when we actively engage with people and realise we all have shared values then we can move forward with collective action to look after our amazing planet.

This is not another doomsday book about the end of the world but one about the power of people to change the world.

By Katharine Hayhoe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Saving Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An optimistic view on why collective action is still possible-and how it can be realized." -The New York Times

"A must-read if we're serious about enacting positive change from the ground up, in communities, and through human connections and human emotions." -Margaret Atwood, Twitter

United Nations Champion of the Earth, climate scientist, and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe changes the debate on how we can save our future.

Called "one of the nation's most effective communicators on climate change" by The New York Times, Katharine Hayhoe knows how to navigate all sides of the conversation on our changing planet. A Canadian…


Book cover of How to Spend a Trillion Dollars: Saving the world and solving the biggest mysteries in science

Mark A. Maslin Why did I love this book?

I love this book. Rowan asks a very simple question, if you had a trillion dollars how could you make the world a better place? And the trillion dollars is not really that much money. It is the amount of taxpayers' money that Governments give to fossil fuel companies each year in the form of subsidies.

It is one-hundredth of what the world makes every single year. So with a trillion dollars could you cure all diseases, go carbon zero, save life on Earth, set up on new planets, find aliens, or even create artificial life with the intelligence and creativity of a human? 

Well I could tell you the answers but that would spoil your fun of reading this excellent thought-provoking book.

By Rowan Hooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Spend a Trillion Dollars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you had a trillion dollars and a year to spend it for the good of the world and the advancement of science, what would you do? It's an unimaginably large sum, yet it's only around one per cent of world GDP, and about the valuation of Google, Microsoft or Amazon. It's a much smaller sum than the world found to bail out its banks in 2008 or deal with Covid-19.

But what could you achieve with $1 trillion?

You could solve the problem of the pandemic, for one, and eradicate malaria, and maybe cure all disease. You could end…


Book cover of Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet

Mark A. Maslin Why did I love this book?

Let us be realistic, we all know that our economic system is broken. We cannot go on making stuff and throwing it away on a finite planet.

There are now 8 billion people on Earth all wanting to have a good life. So what is the alternative to economic growth? Well, Tim wonderfully shows us how the economy of tomorrow could protect employment, facilitate social investment, reduce inequality, and deliver both ecological and financial stability.

When this book was first published it was seen as a radical and dangerous text. Now with the rise of environmental and ecological economics it is the fundamental book that kicked off the revolution in the way we see the future.

By Tim Jackson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Prosperity without Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is more economic growth the solution? Will it deliver prosperity and well-being for a global population projected to reach nine billion? In this explosive book, Tim Jackson - a top sustainability adviser to the UK government - makes a compelling case against continued economic growth in developed nations.

No one denies that development is essential for poorer nations. But in the advanced economies there is mounting evidence that ever-increasing consumption adds little to human happiness and may even impede it. More urgently, it is now clear that the ecosystems that sustain our economies are collapsing under the impacts of rising…


Book cover of There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years

Mark A. Maslin Why did I love this book?

This book has always inspired me and one of the reasons I wrote my own books on climate change. 

What Mike does so brilliantly is take all the problems we are worried about such as climate change, world hunger, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics, pandemics and provide solutions. These solutions are ones that make us all safer, healthier, and wealthier – and are so obvious you will ask yourself why are we not doping them already.

Mike never preaches, instead he shares his insights with humour and warmth. But underneath all of this is a very clear message we only have one precious Earth and there really is ‘No Planet B’ (even if Elon finally makes it to Mars).

By Mike Berners-Lee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked There Is No Planet B as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics, pandemics - the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing, and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? How can we take control of technology? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do, as individuals? Mike Berners-Lee has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is full of hope, practical, and enjoyable. This is the big-picture perspective on the environmental and economic…


You might also like...

A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

Book cover of A Diary in the Age of Water

Nina Munteanu Author Of Darwin's Paradox

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Ecologist Mother Teacher Explorer

Nina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This climate fiction novel follows four generations of women and their battles against a global giant that controls and manipulates Earth’s water. Told mostly through a diary and drawing on scientific observation and personal reflection, Lynna’s story unfolds incrementally, like climate change itself. Her gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity.

Single mother and limnologist Lynna witnesses disturbing events as she works for the powerful international utility CanadaCorp. Fearing for the welfare of her rebellious teenage daughter, Lynna sets in motion a series of events that tumble out of her control with calamitous consequence. The novel explores identity, relationship, and our concept of what is “normal”—as a nation and an individual—in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing.

A Diary in the Age of Water

By Nina Munteanu,

What is this book about?

Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past—to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred—events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust—and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins—Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. This gritty memoir describes a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in climate change, sustainable development, and economics?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about climate change, sustainable development, and economics.

Climate Change Explore 189 books about climate change
Sustainable Development Explore 31 books about sustainable development
Economics Explore 381 books about economics