100 books like Drawdown

By Paul Hawken (editor),

Here are 100 books that Drawdown fans have personally recommended if you like Drawdown. 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 How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

Alessio Terzi Author Of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe

From my list on the relationship between the economy and nature.

Who am I?

As an economist at the European Commission, Adjunct Professor in Paris, former fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and now a first-time author, I thrive at the intersection of academia, think-tanks, and policy-making. My academic soul leads me to seek answers to the big questions: what is economic growth and how does it relate to the success of civilization, to science and technology, to people’s wellbeing, and to nature. My practical focus leads me to draw the policy implications of all this for how we ought to fight climate change. My critics accuse me of being an optimist. I take it as a compliment: the future of humanity is in our hands.

Alessio's book list on the relationship between the economy and nature

Alessio Terzi Why did Alessio love this book?

Bill Gates has managed the impossible task of writing a detailed book on the technological fixes we need across the board to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, but doing so in plain language that is appropriate for the widest of audiences.

This is key because the green transition will affect everybody’s life and cannot be left in the hands of experts and technocrats. Perhaps my only grievance towards the book is that at times it feels like a long laundry list of green desiderata, without taking time to think about the social, economic, and political implications of the transformation.

Nonetheless, it remains a go-to reference for anybody working in the decarbonization space. 

By Bill Gates,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked How to Avoid a Climate Disaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions…


Book cover of The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

Erik D. Curren Author Of The Solar Patriot: A Citizen's Guide to Helping America Win Clean Energy Independence

From my list on solving the climate crisis.

Who am I?

Drawing on my own experience as a local elected official and citizen lobbyist at all levels of government, I write books to help get citizens involved in the biggest challenges of our day. As an activist for clean energy, I wanted to write an easy-to-use guide to help ordinary citizens to become effective champions for more solar power in America. The Solar Patriot is my third book and my second on solar power. For two decades I have worked as a communications consultant and advocate for solar power, renewable energy, and climate solutions. Now, I’m writing a call to action for America off of fossil fuels as soon as possible to meet the urgent challenge of the climate crisis.

Erik's book list on solving the climate crisis

Erik D. Curren Why did Erik love 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.

By Michael E. Mann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year award

A renowned climate scientist shows how fossil fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a battle plan for how we can save the planet.

Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the ways that we've been told can slow climate change. But the inordinate emphasis on individual behavior is the result of a marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals.

Fossil fuel…


Book cover of The Third Horseman: A Story of Weather, War, and the Famine History Forgot

Brian Fagan Author Of The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization

From my list on climate change today and in the past.

Who am I?

Brian Fagan is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous books about archaeology, the past, and climate change for general audiences. I was asked to write my first climate change book (on El Niños) and was astounded to find that few archaeologists or historians focused on the subject, whether ancient or modern. Now that’s all changed, thanks to the revolution in paleoclimatology. I’m convinced that the past has much to tell us about climate change in the future. Apart from that, the subject is fascinating and vital.

Brian's book list on climate change today and in the past

Brian Fagan Why did Brian love this book?

The Third Horseman combines a discussion of climate change with a major disaster, the great famine of the fourteenth century. Vividly written and fast-paced, this well-written book makes history enjoyable. The author wears his research lightly, which makes for a rattling good story. Not a global book, but it will make you think.

By William Rosen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The incredible true story of how a cycle of rain, cold, disease, and warfare created the worst famine in European history—years before the Black Death, from the author of Justinian's Flea and the forthcoming Miracle Cure

In May 1315, it started to rain. For the seven disastrous years that followed, Europeans would be visited by a series of curses unseen since the third book of Exodus: floods, ice, failures of crops and cattle, and epidemics not just of disease, but of pike, sword, and spear. All told, six million lives—one-eighth of Europe’s total population—would be lost.

With a category-defying knowledge…


Book cover of A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe's Encounter with North America

Brian Fagan Author Of The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization

From my list on climate change today and in the past.

Who am I?

Brian Fagan is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous books about archaeology, the past, and climate change for general audiences. I was asked to write my first climate change book (on El Niños) and was astounded to find that few archaeologists or historians focused on the subject, whether ancient or modern. Now that’s all changed, thanks to the revolution in paleoclimatology. I’m convinced that the past has much to tell us about climate change in the future. Apart from that, the subject is fascinating and vital.

Brian's book list on climate change today and in the past

Brian Fagan Why did Brian love this book?

Written by a first-rate historian of wide learning, this is one of those rare books that causes one to rethink your assumptions about history. White brings climate change to the forefront in a book that ranges widely over the European settlement of America and looks at it from a climatic perspective. This is technically an academic book but is so nicely written that you’ll be glued to the page.

By Sam White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Europeans first arrived in North America, they faced a cold new world. The average global temperature had dropped to lows unseen in millennia, and its effects were stark and unpredictable: blizzards and deep freezes, droughts and famines, and winters when even the Rio Grande froze. This period of climate change has come to be known as the Little Ice Age, and it played a decisive role in Europe's encounter with the lands and peoples of North America. In A Cold Welcome, Sam White tells the story of this crucial period in world history, from Europe's earliest expeditions in an…


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

Bethany Stahl Author Of Save the Ocean

From my list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, herbalist, and aromatherapist with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. I’ve spent years working with native flora and fauna from propagating endangered plants back into their natural habitats and swimming through alligator-infested waters to rescue baby manatees who’ve been abandoned. This list is a look into the wonderful works that have touched me deeply and pivoted me deeper into understanding the world we share.

Bethany's book list on non-fiction that inspire you to love earth

Bethany Stahl Why did Bethany love this book?

I loved diving deeply into my personal connection with Mother Earth.

Robin Wall Kimmerer brings a knowledgeable and spiritual connection that has left me appreciating the native sweetgrass and flora in my yard as something deeper and more profound than their ecological definition. Forever now will I see sweetgrass as the hair of Mother Earth.

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

43 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 Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America

Karl F. Seidman Author Of Coming Home to New Orleans: Neighborhood Rebuilding After Katrina

From my list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans.

Who am I?

After hurricane Katrina, I was shocked by the scale of displacement and devastation, and the failed government response. I decided to use my planning classes at MIT to assist with rebuilding efforts. Over the next ten years, my students and I worked with several dozen organizations across New Orleans and provided ongoing assistance to three neighborhoods. Through this work and my relationships with many New Orleanians, I learned so much about the city and came to appreciate how special New Orleans, its way of life and people are.   

Karl's book list on understanding and appreciating New Orleans

Karl F. Seidman Why did Karl love this book?

There is no New Orleans without the Mississippi River.  

Rising Tide tells the story of government and engineers’ flawed efforts to control this mighty river, and how they contributed to the disastrous 1927 flood that left over one million people homeless and destroyed scores of towns. 

It provides a rich picture of the enduring social and racial divides in early twentieth-century New Orleans.

Moreover, it reveals how the city’s wealthy white leaders chose to flood neighboring communities to protect the city while undermining efforts to compensate the victims—creating a precedent for injustice and corruption, and ensuring a long-standing distrust of the city’s levees and flood control system.    

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Rising Tide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.

An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of almost one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of African Americans north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

The flood brought with it a human storm: white and black collided, honor…


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From my list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Who am I?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Nick Fuller Googins Why did Nick love this book?

I read this novel when I was about three-quarters finished with my novel, and was just blown away by the attention to detail, possibilities, and hope between the pages.

This is another hopeful near-future novel, in which humanity is trying its best to overcome the worst of climate change. Unlike my novel, however, which is told from the perspective of one family, Ministry for the Future is a truly global story, with dozens and dozens of narrators, many unnamed, who give us snapshots everywhere from the Arizona border to Antarctica to Switzerland to India, all coalescing into what becomes a global movement to try to save the planet.

This novel is a little lighter on plot, but fascinating as a menu of hopeful options and possibilities for what could be done if humanity really got its act together. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World

Laura Krantz Author Of Is There Anybody Out There?: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, from Amoebas to Aliens

From my list on the search for alien life.

Who am I?

I was never going to hack it as a scientist. So I became a journalist instead. After all, both careers stem from a sense of wonder about the world and asking questions, looking for answers, and accepting that there might not be any. In 2018, I started my narrative podcast Wild Thing, which let me explore some of our weirder collective fascinations (like aliens) using science, history, psychology, and humor. I’d never aimed the podcast at kids, but I realized that all those big open-ended questions that I had about everything were the same kinds of questions that kids had - which really set me up to write the Wild Thing book series. 

Laura's book list on the search for alien life

Laura Krantz Why did Laura love this book?

Imagine for a moment that we found life on Mars.

That discovery would shake our world, change our outlook on the universe, and answer the question of whether we’re alone.

Sarah Stewart Johnson, a planetary scientist, has spent her life thinking about this possibility and delves into both her and our obsession with the Red Planet in this beautifully written book. Part memoir, part historical account, and part scientific exploration, this book made me want to ditch a career in journalism and take up astrobiology. You’ll never look at Mars the same way again. 

By Sarah Stewart Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Sirens of Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a new wave of interplanetary exploration unfolds, a talented young planetary scientist charts our centuries-old obsession with Mars.

'Beautifully written, emotive - a love letter to a planet' DERMOT O'LEARY, BBC Radio 2

Mars - bewilderingly empty, coated in red dust - is an unlikely place to pin our hopes of finding life elsewhere. And yet, right now multiple spacecraft are circling, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium and Mare Sirenum - on the brink, perhaps, of a discovery that would inspire humankind as much as any in our history.

With poetic precision and grace,…


Book cover of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Carrie Firestone Author Of The First Rule of Climate Club

From my list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations.

Who am I?

I'm co-founder of a grassroots social justice, civic engagement, and service organization called ForwardCT, which I started with my friend and current state representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw with the intention of mobilizing community-centered action. Our work centers on these four pillars: Connect, Inform, Serve, and Lead. Those pillars guide my work as chair of my town’s Clean Energy Commission, as teacher and facilitator of workshops and events, and as an author of books for young people. I'm drawn to the powerful use of storytelling as a tool for starting conversations, stirring up “good trouble,” and inspiring activism. Read a book, approach your library or town to host a community conversation, leave with actionable takeaways, repeat!

Carrie's book list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations

Carrie Firestone Why did Carrie love this book?

This book. It’s like I found a treasure map for how to journey to a more beautiful, purposeful, just, and joyful planet.

It’s a collection of climate-centered essays and poems, a perfect balance of clearly-presented science education, relatable personal narratives, deeply-moving tributes to Mother Earth, strategic calls to collective action and policy re-invention, and effective, implementable solutions. And it’s written by a wonderfully diverse group of super-women, who understand that equity is more than a word, and systemic shifts are more than a concept.

I selected this book for my list because it’s a perfect format for a community read. You can choose a page, theme, section, or the whole book. They’ve even highlighted important passages for slackers who scramble to read right before the book talk.  

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (editor), Katharine K. Wilkinson (editor),

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked All We Can Save as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.

“A powerful read that fills one with, dare I say . . . hope?”—The New York Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they…


Book cover of Odds Against Tomorrow

Alice C. Hill Author Of The Fight for Climate After Covid-19

From my list on dealing with catastrophic risks.

Who am I?

I am a former white-collar crime federal prosecutor and California state court judge turned policymaker and author. Though I started in law, I joined the Department of Homeland Security mid-career where I ended up with an assignment that no one wanted: create the department’s first-ever climate adaptation plan. That experience showed me that climate change is a mounting risk affecting everything. I then joined President Barack Obama’s climate team in the White House, where I crafted policy to address catastrophic risks, including climate change and biological threats. Since then, I have become an author, media pundit, and frequent podcast guest, using my voice to call for action on climate.

Alice's book list on dealing with catastrophic risks

Alice C. Hill Why did Alice love this book?

Climate fiction, or “cli-fi” as it is now known, lets readers imagine the world about which scientists are warning, a world where climate-fueled extremes upend humanity’s everyday existence. This book tells the story of a Midwestern math whiz who studies “worst-case scenarios” for a living. When one of those scenarios collides with his own life, action, adventure, and love follow.

By Nathaniel Rich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York City, the near future: Mitchell Zukor works on the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming. A gifted mathematician, he spends his days in Manhattan calculating worst-case scenarios for FutureWorld, a consulting firm that indemnifies corporations against potential disasters. As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe, he exchanges letters with Elsa Bruner - a college crush with an apocalyptic secret of her own - and becomes obsessed by a culture's fears. When his predictions culminate in a nightmarish crescendo, Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit from the disaster. But at what cost?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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