The best books to inspire you to fight climate change

Elizabeth Cripps Author Of What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care
By Elizabeth Cripps

Who am I?

I’m a philosopher and former journalist. I’ve been teaching, writing, and thinking about climate justice for nearly two decades. Ever more frustrated by the gulf between what’s morally and scientifically imperative, and what governments are prepared to do, I determined to speak (and listen) to a wider audience than my academic bubble. Climate change is a moral emergency, not just a technical, scientific, economic, or political one. The more people who recognise that, the better. As a writer, I couldn’t have managed without the experiences and wisdom of others, personal, scholarly, or professional. These books, among many others, have moved me and helped me to figure out a way forward.


I wrote...

What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care

By Elizabeth Cripps,

Book cover of What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care

What is my book about?

We owe it to our fellow humans, and other species, to save them from the catastrophic harm caused by climate change. This book explains why. It uses clear reasoning and poignant examples, starting with irrefutable science and uncontroversial moral rules. It unravels the legacy of colonialism and entrenched racism, and exposes the way we live now as fundamentally unjust. 

Then it asks where we go from here. Who should pay the bill for climate action? Who must have a say? How can we hold multinational companies, organisations—even nations—to account? And what should each of us do now? Recognise climate justice as the fundamental wrong it is, and climate activism is a moral duty, not a political choice.

The books I picked & why

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Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

By Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway,

Book cover of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

Why this book?

Terrifying and eye-opening, this tells the true story of machinations worthy of a John Grisham thriller. A small but powerful group is determined to deny science and subvert democracy by manufacturing a lucrative new product: doubt. As the authors meticulously document, this is done deliberately and cynically, by corrupting a handful of scientists, destroying the lives of incorruptible ones, and going heavy on lobbying and media spin. But unlike the thrillers, the ending on climate denial has still to be written; the ball is in our court.


A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis

By Vanessa Nakate,

Book cover of A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis

Why this book?

Writing about climate justice from the relative security of Scotland, with the unearned privileges of being white, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t read, hear, and try to absorb the insights of the women and girls of colour, especially in the global south. This book is both an inspiration and stark reminder of what a fundamentally global injustice this is. As a Ugandan, Vanessa Nakate knows too well what climate change can do: the pain is already real, in countries like hers. As an activist, she has been kept out of the picture when it comes to decision-making. (Quite literally, when a news agency cropped her from an image and left only the white activists.) But Nakate has persisted. This compelling, open, personal account shows why.


Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future

By Danielle Celermajer,

Book cover of Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future

Why this book?

I’ve been researching climate justice for years, but it took Celermajer’s exquisite, heart-breaking prose to bring home to me the devastation wrought by human-caused climate change on non-human animals. She tells the story of the Australian summer of bushfires, unflinchingly, as it devastated her own community of rescue animals, and the wildlife around them. Witnessing the searing grief of her pig, Jimmy, for his lost companion, we come to understand our commonality with other animalsand how much, beyond ourselves, is truly at stake.


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?

Here’s what Don’t Look Up got horribly right: in the face of one of the greatest catastrophes that humankind has faced, we remain not only apathetic but largely indifferent. Stoknes shows why, and how to overcome this. The book blends the personal and relatable with professional expertise and clear, practical guidance: at once an invaluable primer in climate psychology and a roadmap towards a kind of hope, on the other side of terrible grief. 


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

By Katharine Hayhoe,

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

Why this book?

To tackle climate change, we need social change, and we won’t get it without communicating the challenges we face to those around us. But how do we do that? Enter Katharine Hayhoe, climate communicator extraordinaire and a long-term heroine of mine. She shows how we can all start dialogues, and so build a network for collective action. She’s a renowned climate scientist herself, but she knows well that facts are only one part of this process. To build true connections, and really motivate people, she explains, we need to find shared values. And she talks us through exactly how to do that.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Uganda, climate justice, and Australia?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Uganda, climate justice, and Australia.

Uganda Explore 10 books about Uganda
Climate Justice Explore 3 books about climate justice
Australia Explore 178 books about Australia

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bad Pharma, and The Closed World if you like this list.