The best books to help Christians navigate the climate crisis

Why am I passionate about this?

I was never an outdoorsy kid. But I was a church kid. As I grew up and moved into a calling to serve the church in ordained ministry, that calling took an unexpected turn when I visited West Virginian hollers poisoned by nearby mining operations and met the people living with the consequences. Subsequent trips to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, drought-wracked Kenyan hillsides, and to international climate negotiations in Paris all solidified for me the truth that loving my neighbor required loving God’s creation too. I’ve spent the last 10 years speaking, writing, and teaching Christians across the country the same simple truth.

I wrote...

Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action

By Kyle Meyaard-Schaap,

Book cover of Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action

What is my book about?

Have you ever looked at the effects of climate change and the apathy of so many around you and wondered, "What are we missing here?"

I understand this feeling deeply. But in my years of equipping Christians to work for climate action, I've seen that more and more Christians are waking up to the realities of climate change. They want to help, but they're not sure how. Through stories from the field, theological and scriptural exploration, and practical advice, this book offers hope to Christians paralyzed by the scale of the crisis, helping us turn our paralysis into meaningful action. Following Jesus in a Warming World is a field guide for Christian climate action grounded in the joy of caring for creation.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Why did I love this book?

This book was my gateway into Christian climate action 16 years ago.

When my older brother came home from a semester abroad in New Zealand and told my conservative Christian family that he was now a vegetarian because of his environmental convictions, he handed me this book to help me understand why.

It was the first time that I was given permission to engage pollution, environmental destruction, and climate change because of my faith, rather than in spite of it. Nothing has ever been the same.

By Steven Bouma-prediger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For the Beauty of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Caring for the environment is a growing interest among evangelicals. This award-winning book provides the most thorough evangelical treatment available on a theology of creation care. "Authentic Christian faith requires ecological obedience," writes Steven Bouma-Prediger. He urges Christians to acknowledge their responsibility and privilege as stewards of the earth. The second edition has been substantially revised and updated with the latest scientific and environmental research.

Book cover of Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Why did I love this book?

I used to think that the ultimate Christian hope was in life after death. NT Wright convinced me I was wrong.

The true hope of the gospel, says Wright, is “life after life after death”. In other words, resurrected life in a renewed heaven and renewed earth. This book completely reframed what I believe about the end of God’s story for creation and held out for me a gospel way bigger than the one I had been given before.

Understanding that God has a good future in store for his entire creation and that, even now, he is reconciling all of it back to himself means that we live differently right now. This book remains my theological anchor for my climate advocacy.

By N T Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Surprised by Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking book—available in paperback for the first time—renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright argues that Christians have not distorted the Bible’s message about heaven and what happens after we die.

For years, Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.

Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian’s future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright asserts that Christianity’s most distinctive idea is…

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Why did I love this book?

This may seem like a strange choice. Kimmerer is a poet, a botanist, an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Band of Oklahoma, and—as far as I know—not a Christian

But the beauty and poignance of this book had me in tears often. Kimmerer has a way of training our modern, Western eyes to encounter creation not as inert raw material meant for little more than firing our industrial machines, but as sacred kin shot through with the glory of God.

Her indigenous wisdom is a crucial counterpoint to the prevailing post-Enlightenment worldviews and ideologies that most of us swim in every day, and it helps us get closer to the Hebrew cosmologies and anthropologies of the Bible. Cosmologies and anthropologies which are, after all, indigenous themselves. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

46 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…

Book cover of Prophetic Lament

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Why did I love this book?

I get asked a lot in my line of work about hope.

How do we find hope in the midst of climate calamity? And I always had a hard time finding an answer that didn’t feel trite. Until I read this book. Yes, we need hope, says Rah, but the right kind of hope.

Not a saccharine, false hope that ignores the dire facts on the ground. Rather, we need to recover a truly biblical hope. What is the biblical formula for hope? It is a hard-won, clear-eyed hope that has lived in and become comfortable in lament first.

It is a hope that rejects triumphalism, that centers those most harmed, and that moves forward together through lament into new creation.

By Soong-chan Rah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prophetic Lament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Missio Alliance Essential Reading List
Hearts Minds Bookstore's Best Books
RELEVANT's Top 10 Books
Englewood Review of Books Best Books When Soong-Chan Rah planted an urban church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his first full sermon series was a six-week exposition of the book of Lamentations. Preaching on an obscure, depressing Old Testament book was probably not the most seeker-sensitive way to launch a church. But it shaped their community with a radically countercultural perspective. The American church avoids lament. But lament is a missing, essential component of Christian faith. Lament recognizes struggles and suffering, that the world is not as it…

Book cover of New and Selected Poems

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap Why did I love this book?

I used to think things like beauty, joy, and affection were indulgences that I just didn’t have time for if I was going to solve the climate crisis.

I used to do my climate work bare-knuckled and through gritted teeth. And I burned out. Fast.

Then I had a friend suggest to me that I read Mary Oliver.

I’ve since come to understand that meditation and contemplation on the beauty of creation, on the joy and delight of being in communion with it, and on the affection that God has for all his handiwork are necessary ingredients for sustained, effective action.

And nobody helps me focus my buzzing mind on the goodness of God’s creation better than Oliver.

By Mary Oliver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked New and Selected Poems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Oliver was awarded the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems, Volume One. Since its initial appearance it has become one of the best-selling volumes of poetry in the country. This collection features thirty poems published only in this volume as well as selections from the poet's first eight books.

Mary Oliver's perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death have won high praise from critics and readers alike. "Do you love this world?" she interrupts a poem about peonies to ask the reader. "Do you cherish your humble and…

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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

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Why am I passionate about this?

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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…

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