100 books like Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century

By George Sessions,

Here are 100 books that Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century fans have personally recommended if you like Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Tao Te Ching

Neal Allen Author Of Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic

From my list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Until my early 50s, I detested all things spiritual. These books showed up practically on their own, without dogma or jargon, mainly to convince me that the divine existed. They’re easy to read and open to interpretation. They tricked me into a spiritual life by making it seem logical and simply a place to explore at my leisure. I try to write things that are clear and simple, and these books persuaded me that the ineffable isn’t so hard to write about. Also, I could return to these books years later, and they still speak to me. Each is capable of opening something new to me later in life.

Neal's book list on books on spirituality for people who hate books on spirituality

Neal Allen Why did Neal love this book?

Most ancient wisdom texts require a lot of effort. I love the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Discourses, Dogen, Plato, Krishnamurti, and so on. But to read them, I have to take some time out of my day.

This book is a scroll of 81 aphorisms. I can pick any one, spend a little time with it, and get on with my day.

Plus, it starts with a bang: “The Way that you hear about is not the real Way.” I am invited to be confused! That takes all the pressure off me to figure it out. 

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator) , Toinette Lippe (translator)

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Tao Te Ching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nearly two generations, this bestselling translation of the Tao Te Ching has been the standard for those seeking access to the wisdom of Taoist thought. Now Jane English and her long-time editor, Toinette Lippe, have refreshed and revised the translation, so that it more faithfully reflects the Classical Chinese in which it was first written, while taking into account changes in our own language and eliminating any lingering infelicities. This beautiful oversized edition features over a hundred new photographs by Jane English that help express the vast spirit of the Tao. Also included is an introduction by the well-known…


Book cover of Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

My all-time favourite ecology book, playfully but rigorously exploring complexity, co-evolution, a living systems language, and knowledge itself. “The major problems in the world,”  Bateson warned, “are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” In Bateson’s world, all divisions of nature are arbitrary. We only witness relationships, not things in themselves. Bateson links our mental process with evolutionary process and urges ecologists to see those patterns that connect the apparent parts of the whole. 

By Gregory Bateson, Gregory Bateson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A re-issue of Gregory Bateson's classic work. It summarizes Bateson's thinking on the subject of the patterns that connect living beings to each other and to their environment.


Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

Limits To Growth summarized the first major computer simulation of world society. It was comprehensive, including the influence of: human population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. The results were sobering! It showed that, if major limits were not established for human population, pollution, and resource depletion, a severe collapse of human society would follow in the near future. What most people do not know is, the report was so disturbing it was accepted by the United Nations for action. It was so well received by world leaders that, by 1974, almost every world nation agreed to take major steps to set such limits. China, for example, established its one-child family policy. Ironically, the U.S. refused any commitment. By 1978, carbon industry disinformation killed all the commitments.

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Limits to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Examines the factors which limit human economic and population growth and outlines the steps necessary for achieving a balance between population and production. Bibliogs


Book cover of Steady-State Economics

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

Want solutions? Start with our failed economic system. Daly, a World Bank senior economist, examines the economic restructuring necessary to live on a finite planet. He corrects the errors of classic economics by showing that a human economy is a subsystem embedded in a finite, fragile ecosystem, maintained by extracting limited resources and exporting waste. A steady-state economy accounts for the limits of both resources and waste. 

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steady-State Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


First published in 1977, this volume caused a sensation because of Daly's radical view that "enough is best." Today, his ideas are recognized as the key to sustainable development, and Steady-State Economics is universally acknowledged as the leading book on the economics of sustainability.


Book cover of Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on understanding and acting on climate change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a chronicler of nature and life in our organic vineyard for nearly two decades. In that time, I have seen the climate crisis accelerate and create increasing weather extremes with devastating consequences for our crops. This led me to dive deep into understanding the climate crisis and how we can solve it. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, I explore how we are already impacted by climate change and how things like biodiversity can help us address it. If you are unsure of where to start, these books will help you understand why action is necessary and the best way for you to get involved.

Caro's book list on understanding and acting on climate change

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

If there is only one book you read on the climate and other ecological crises, it is this. In fact, you will need this book after you read books 4 and 5 on my list. It is a book I constantly return to. Almost every page is dog-eared.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s zen teachings on deep ecology, engaged activism, community building, and collective awakening help to see ways forward in the face of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, injustice, and inequality. He offers guidance on how to use spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness to look deeply at ourselves and our world. We don’t need more material goods. What is available in the here and now is "sufficient to be nourished and happy."

This is a must-read and offers an antidote to the climate crisis facts in some of the books that follow. It offers ways forward in peace and positivity.

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“When you wake up and you see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth… We have to wake up together. And if we wake up together, then we have a chance. Our way of living our life and planning our future has led us into this situation. And now we need to look deeply to find a way out, not only as individuals, but as a collective, a species.”

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

We face…


Book cover of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy

Timothy Beal Author Of When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way in the Anthropocene

From my list on facing the climate crisis without losing your shit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love being a college professor, teaching and learning from young adults. In fact, I wrote When Time Is Short in close conversation with my students. As climate crisis and collapse loom ever larger on the horizon, more and more of them are sharing experiences of climate anxiety and even climate trauma. They are not alone. Many of us are almost paralyzed by such feelings. We need help processing and moving through them in order to find hope—deep hope, as opposed to shallow optimism, which easily slides into despair. These books, most of which I've used in my "Religion and Ecology" class, can help show us the way.

Timothy's book list on facing the climate crisis without losing your shit

Timothy Beal Why did Timothy love this book?

Joanna Macy is an environmental activist and a scholar of Buddhism and deep ecology. Her writing is at once direct and gracious, inviting us to explore new ways of understanding ourselves and our world. Central to her message of hope is what she calls the "Great Turning," a revolution in which humankind will turn from industrial capitalism, which seeks infinite growth through extraction, to a sustainable civilization of compassion and interdependence. This new edition of Active Hope, co-authored with Chris Johnstone, acknowledges that the Great Turning may in fact happen in the midst of a massive societal and ecological collapse, a "Great Unravelling." Yet, even in the midst of collapse, we can find deep hope by investing heart, mind, and strength in the Great Turning. "What's the best we can hope for? And how can we be active in making that more likely or even possible?"

By Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play…


Book cover of The Great Work: Our Way into the Future

Ursula Goodenough Author Of The Sacred Depths of Nature: How Life Has Emerged and Evolved

From my list on an ecospiritual orientation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m working with others to develop what we call a religious naturalist orientation or an ecospiritual orientation, and these books have deeply guided my path and inspired the writing of my own book. 

Ursula's book list on an ecospiritual orientation

Ursula Goodenough Why did Ursula love this book?

Thomas Berry called himself a geologian, and wrote this book at the same time as Everybody’s Story, neither author aware of the other. An ordained Catholic priest, he later said that “the bible should be put on the shelf for 100 years” while we attend to planetary exigencies. Seminal quotes: “The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” “The environmental crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis.”

By Thomas Berry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Great Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Berry is one of the most eminent cultural historians of our time. Here he presents the culmination of his ideas and urges us to move from being a disrupting force on the Earth to a benign presence. This transition is the Great Work -- the most necessary and most ennobling work we will ever undertake. Berry's message is not one of doom but of hope. He reminds society of its function, particularly the universities and other educational institutions whose role is to guide students into an appreciation rather than an exploitation of the world around them. Berry is the…


Book cover of The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom

Jon Marro Author Of The Keepers of Color: A Creative Hero's Journey Into the World Within

From my list on to help you become unafraid of the dark.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the time I could hold a crayon, I was drawing. I often don’t know how I truly feel about something until I make art about it. Led by imagination and curiosity, I'm a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and love guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. With 20-plus years of experience as an Artist and Creative Director, I've discovered that solutions to any problem can be found through triumphs in imagination and a willingness to view the situation from a different perspective. By peeking into my own shadow, darkness, and hidden places, I've gained a profound reverence for the human soul and deeper compassion for what it is to be alive.

Jon's book list on to help you become unafraid of the dark

Jon Marro Why did Jon love this book?

I have to admit, part of me squarely into midlife, is still scared of my own shadow. This was the first book I read after my father passed away, and not only was it the perfect guide through the grief, loss, and rite of passage, but also a homecoming of sorts. Roshi Joan Halifax has clearly wandered the vastness of her own inner landscape and offers up treasures from the dark, mysterious depths. She makes it clear, that yes, darkness exists. And also, yes, evil and other unspeakable things may hide within it. But upon her travels and fearless exploration, she has found other luminous gifts that only the soul houses, and only a valiant seeker could discover. The Fruitful Darkness as she calls it is akin to the night sky filled with stars, the fertile soil with seeds, or the womb brimming with new life. It is alive, inviting…

By Joan Halifax,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buddhist teacher and anthropologists Joan Halifax delves into - the shadow side of being, found in the root truths of Native religions, the fecundity of nature, and the stillness of meditation.


Book cover of Erosion: Essays of Undoing

Loretta Pyles

From my list on rewilding and falling in love with outdoor adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I built snow forts, climbed the white birch tree in my front yard, and talked to a rabbit named Bobby who lived in the bushes. I rode my bike on adventures, getting lost and exploring woods, ditches, and surrounding landscapes. In a household where I often felt unsafe, time outdoors was a refuge. Working in a career as a university professor of social work for the past 20 years, I have used mindful outdoor experiences, as well as yoga and meditation, as a source of healing. And I have loved sharing these practices with my students. Today, I am documenting my rewilding adventures in my van which has been a joyful way to honor my inner child.

Loretta's book list on rewilding and falling in love with outdoor adventure

Loretta Pyles Why did Loretta love this book?

A few years ago, I took a road trip from the East Coast to the Southwestern United States, camping in my car and exploring New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. This was the first book I had queued up in my audiobooks for the trip.

The author lives in Utah and explores her love affair with the arid, desolate landscapes of the Southwest as she grieves accruing environmental and personal losses. It’s a poignant, poetic book by an environmental activist that deepened my own commitment to the connection between love of the earth and a willingness to stand up for it. 

By Terry Tempest Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Terry Tempest Williams is one of our most impassioned defenders of public lands. A naturalist, fervent activist, and stirring writer, she has spoken to us and for us in books like The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. In these new essays, Williams explores the concept of erosion: of the land, of the self, of belief, of fear. She wrangles with the paradox of desert lands and the truth of erosion: What is weathered, worn, and whittled away through wind, water, and time is as powerful as…


Book cover of Healing Earth: An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship

Owen Wormser Author Of Lawns Into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape

From my list on regeneration and restoring ecological health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my childhood growing up off-grid in rural Maine, I’ve been fascinated by the natural world. Out of that fascination grew an abiding interest in weaving people and the landscape back together, something I’ve focused on and explored for over two decades, both personally and in my capacity as a landscape designer. The books I’ve shared here all provided me with know-how and perspective that has inspired me to pursue ecological regeneration. If you’re interested in these topics you won’t be disappointed! 

Owen's book list on regeneration and restoring ecological health

Owen Wormser Why did Owen love this book?

John Todd is one of the preeminent ecologists on the planet. Over the course of his 5-decade career, he has been innovating and exploring ways in which we can work with nature to find solutions for major environmental conundrums. In this book, Dr. Todd explains the theory behind ecological design while also sharing inspiring examples of his work, ranging from restoring ocean fisheries, cleaning wastewater in hopelessly polluted ponds, to providing inexpensive access to sewage treatment in shantytowns with open, untreated sewers. This book shows that with the right mindset and commitment, ecological solutions are readily available for almost any situation. 

By John Todd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A true pioneer and respected elder in ecological recovery and sustainability shares effective solutions he has designed and implemented.

A stand-out from the sea of despairing messages about climate change, well-known sustainability elder John Todd, who has taught, mentored, and inspired such well-known names in the field as Janine Benyus, Bill McKibben, and Paul Hawken, chronicles the different ecological interventions he has created over the course of his career. Each chapter offers a workable engineering solution to an existing environmental problem: healing the aftermath of mountain-top removal and valley-fill coal mining in Appalachia, using windmills and injections of bacteria to…


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