100 books like Unsustainable Inequalities

By Lucas Chancel, Malcolm DeBevoise (translator),

Here are 100 books that Unsustainable Inequalities fans have personally recommended if you like Unsustainable Inequalities. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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

Christopher Gould Author Of Carbon-Free Power: The Role of Small Modular (Nuclear) Reactors

From my list on climate change powering the planet in 21st century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many believe the planet's energy needs can be provided carbon-free, with solar, wind, and water carrying the load. Coal, oil, and natural gas use will fade away. It’s an appealing vision. But the numbers don’t back it up for seven billion people, many looking in on the comfortable lifestyles of the wealthy countries and thinking: “What about us?”. Humanity needs a mix of energy sources, and nuclear energy is a carbon-free power source that can deliver at scale. I’m a nuclear physicist by training, recently retired from North Carolina State University, with interests in cosmology, energy research and policy, science education, and neutron and neutrino physics. 

Christopher's book list on climate change powering the planet in 21st century

Christopher Gould Why did Christopher love this book?

Putting in the numbers is what Gates does in his book. Climate change is real, no question. How to address it is where the controversy comes in. I really like that from the outset, Gates proposes five questions to consider whenever climate change is discussed: what fraction of the annual carbon dioxide emission are you removing? What’s your plan for cement? How much electrical power will be needed, what’s the cost, and how much space will it take up? 

But he’s optimistic that zero emissions can be reached. He argues there are many options to explore, including nuclear, and says, contrary to much of the news reporting, don’t focus on 2030; focus instead on 2050 to give the best solutions time to emerge.

By Bill Gates,

Why should I read it?

8 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 Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

Carissa Carter and Scott Doorley Author Of Assembling Tomorrow: A Guide to Designing a Thriving Future from the Stanford d.school

From my list on help you design a better future.

Why we are passionate about this?

We are the academic and creative directors at the Stanford d.school. Our students study design, but they really hope to navigate a world of unknowns and make their way to a better future. We believe the best way to do that is not to limit yourself to a single domain or area but to find new possibilities in the overlaps, patterns, and discoveries that linger between ideas. We love books that stretch us beyond the design domain and into new places of inspiration and investigation. The ones on our list have all delighted us with their ability to reframe our thinking about design, even though none are squarely about the topic.

Carissa and Scott's book list on help you design a better future

Carissa Carter and Scott Doorley Why did Carissa and Scott love this book?

Kate Rayworth speaks our language. This book explains how to develop an economy that takes human and planetary flourishing into account and, most importantly, explains how we might think differently to get there.

This is a 300-plus-page book about economics—to be honest, even we haven't finished it cover to cover—but we feel a little bit wiser and more hopeful every time we crack it open!

By Kate Raworth,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Doughnut Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics"

800-CEO-Read "Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs"

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.

Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That's why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth,…


Book cover of More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources--And What Happens Next

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

All of McAfee’s work is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and technology in changing the world.

This important book marks no exception, addressing the key problem of managing scarce natural resources in spite of a growing human population and economy. In the process, McAfee challenges some widely-held views, such as the idea that ‘you cannot have an ever-growing economy on a finite planet.’

As a matter of fact, you can and the book shows that since the mid-1990s the US economy has continued to expand while extraction of the 72 raw materials tracked by the US Geological Survey, from aluminum to timber, has diminished (even when considering imports).

To me, More from Less is a testament to the power of technical progress.

By Andrew McAfee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Everyone knows we're doomed by runaway overpopulation, pollution, or resource depletion, whichever comes first. Not only is this view paralysing and fatalistic, but, as Andrew McAfee shows in this exhilarating book, it's wrong... More from Less is fascinating, enjoyable to read, and tremendously empowering' Steven Pinker
Bestselling author and co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Andrew McAfee says there's a new reason for optimism: we're past the point of 'peak stuff' - from here on out, it'll take fewer resources to make things, and cost less to lead a comfortable life.

This turn of events invalidates the…


Book cover of Climate Chaos: Lessons on Survival from Our Ancestors

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Because the speed at which the atmosphere is warming is unprecedented in human history, we are prone to assume we are facing an unprecedented climatic challenge. However, this is not entirely true.

Archeologists Fagan and Durrani remind us that, at least locally, the climate has changed several times in the past, profoundly affecting the history of civilizations that were less advanced than ours. Some societies were able to deploy technical and social innovation to buffer environmental shocks. Others proved too rigid, slow and eventually collapsed.

To me the lesson is clear: history can be an important ally when charting the policy path ahead in a warming world. 

By Brian Fagan, Nadia Durrani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Human-made climate change may have begun in the last two hundred years, but our species has witnessed many eras of climate instability. The results have not always been pretty. From Ancient Egypt to Rome to the Maya, some of history's mightiest civilizations have been felled by pestilence and glacial melt and drought.

The challenges are no less great today. We face hurricanes and megafires and food shortages and more. But we have one powerful advantage as we face our current crisis: the past. Our knowledge of ancient climates has advanced tremendously in the last decade, to the point where we…


Book cover of Of Modern Extraction: Experiments in Critical Petro-theology

Larry L. Rasmussen Author Of The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing

From my list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been engaged as a teacher of religion and ecology since the first Earth Day 50 years ago. That has entailed writing some prize-winning books, Earth Community, Earth Ethics (1996) and Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (2013). Now I want to pass along distilled learnings to my grandchildren as they face a planet in tumult. The form—love letters—and the audience—future generations as represented by my grandkids—moves me to focus on effective communication of a highly personal sort to young people on matters vital to their lives. It’s a nice bookend near the end of my own life.

Larry's book list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty

Larry L. Rasmussen Why did Larry love this book?

This work is one in the series of Explorations in Theology, Gender, and Ecology. Its distinction is a deep dive into the religious, ecological and gender dimensions of the modern fossil-fuel extractive economy that has become destructive of nature’s economy and human well-being at the same time that it has captured our way of life. Rowe takes the reader into the gender and theological underpinnings of corporate capitalism, thereby contributing to an emerging field of study, the Energy Humanities. Of Modern Extraction is cutting-edge work by a lucid writer who rewards anyone patient enough to take on this vital but complex topic.

By Terra Schwerin Rowe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Predominant climate change narratives emphasize a global emissions problem, while diagnoses of environmental crises have long focused a modern loss of meaning, value, and enchantment in nature. Yet neither of these common portrayals of environmental emergency adequately account for the ways climate change is rooted in extractivisms that have been profoundly enchanted.

The proposed critical petro-theology analyzes the current energy driven climate crisis through critical gender, race, decolonial, and postsecular lenses. Both predominant narratives obscure the entanglements of bodies and energy: how energy concepts and practices have consistently delineated genres of humanity and how energy systems and technologies have shaped…


Book cover of Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

From my list on American environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! When I was teaching courses in environmental history and women’s history, I kept noticing the intriguing intersections, which inspired me to write Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers. Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library and on YouTube). 

Nancy's book list on American environmental history

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

The environmental justice movement grew out of recognition of the disproportionate environmental burdens faced by low-income communities, including many communities of color. Zimring provides a detailed and compelling analysis of the long history of environmental racism that the environmental justice movement seeks to remedy. He reveals how ideas about race, hygiene, and waste have shaped where and how people (including Native Americans, immigrant groups, and African Americans) have lived and worked.

By Carl A. Zimring,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the United States focusing on constructions of race and hygiene
When Joe Biden attempted to compliment Barack Obama by calling him "clean and articulate," he unwittingly tapped into one of the most destructive racial stereotypes in American history. This book tells the history of the corrosive idea that whites are clean and those who are not white are dirty. From the age of Thomas Jefferson to the Memphis Public Workers strike of 1968 through the present day, ideas about race and waste have shaped where people have lived, where people…


Book cover of Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands

Adam M. Sowards Author Of Making America's Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands

From my list on bringing the public into the public lands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started studying public lands by accident in the 1990s for a class project before I really knew what they even were. Since then, I've published hundreds of thousands of words about them, including my latest book Making America’s Public Lands where I’ve brought together much of what I’ve learned. I’m convinced the national forests, parks, rangelands, and refuges are among the most interesting and important experiments in democracy we have. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying the public lands, I've appreciated hiking, sleeping, teaching, and noticing things in them even more.

Adam's book list on bringing the public into the public lands

Adam M. Sowards Why did Adam love this book?

Whose lands are these? Jacqueline Keeler squarely addresses the nature of American lands in her investigative and personal account of two 2016 standoffs: the Bundy family’s (and allies’) takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s (and allies’) protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For each standoff, Keeler shows how competing stories animated the actors in their understanding of past and future, as well as the reactions to them. Her account powerfully forced me to reckon with the sacredness of land in the traditions of myriad Americans. Standoff brings intellectual enrichment and moral outrage in equal measure; that’s hard to beat! 

By Jacqueline Keeler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A powerful, illuminating book."

—LOUISE ERDRICH, author of The Night Watchman

Native young people and elders pray in sweat lodges at the Océti Sakówin camp, the North Dakota landscape outside blanketed in snow. In Oregon, white men and women in army surplus and western gear, some draped in the American flag, gather in the buildings of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. The world witnessed two standoffs in 2016: the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's protest against an oil pipeline in North Dakota and the armed takeover of Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge led by the Bundy family. These events unfolded in vastly different…


Book cover of Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice

Müge Akkar Ercan Author Of Regeneration, Heritage and Sustainable Communities in Turkey: Challenges, Complexities and Potentials

From my list on critical urbanism and building sustainable communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a researcher and professor of Planning and Urban Design at Middle East Technical University, Ankara (Turkiye). I am interested in how we can develop sustainable communities in urban and rural areas, modern and historical areas, and create a much more just world for all living beings. This question has become increasingly important for our life as uncertainties arise. New paradigms appear daily with climate change, wars, energy crises, pandemics, migrations, safety and security, growing diversity, and socio-spatial inequalities. I chose these books because they helped me think of new ways to achieve a sustainable and just world for all living beings. 

Müge's book list on critical urbanism and building sustainable communities

Müge Akkar Ercan Why did Müge love this book?

This is another favourite book of mine because it rigorously shows communities' environmental inequalities. Agyeman identifies the critical problems of local communities regarding environmental inequalities by reviewing a series of small cases and one larger case in the US.

I like Agyeman’s reviews of these cases because they allow readers to draw valuable lessons and inspire ideas for re-interpreting environmental injustices in different localities. I also like the methodology of the book, which can be used in different localities as an approach to measuring environmental justice.

By defining performance, outcome, and accountability indicators, Agyeman helps us to measure progress toward sustainability.

By Julian Agyeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible
Popularized in the movies Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action, "environmental justice" refers to any local response to a threat against community health. In this book, Julian Agyeman argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible in practical ways. Yet sustainability, which focuses on meeting our needs today while not compromising the ability of our successors to meet their needs, has not always partnered with the challenges of environmental justice.
Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice explores the ideological differences between these two groups…


Book cover of Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature

Paul Ong Author Of Uneven Urbanscape: Spatial Structures and Ethnoracial Inequality

From my list on the underlying foundation of racialized spaces.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an engaged scholar fighting racism. As a person of color, an Asian American raised in Chinatown and a low-income Black neighborhood, the fight is personal. My parents and those before them suffered from and struggled against discriminatory immigration laws that fractured and separated family members. My research and publications as a university professor are tools for exposing and redressing racial injustices, producing and sharing knowledge that leads to reconciliation and restorative justice.  

Paul's book list on the underlying foundation of racialized spaces

Paul Ong Why did Paul love this book?

Schlosberg covers the environment as an important sphere for societal inequalities, including those along racial lines.

People of color bear a disproportionate share of air, water, and land pollution and risk being left behind as the United States transitions to renewable energy in response to climate change.

Much of the inequality is anchored in stratified places. The author not only summarizes the existing literature on this, but also provides a very useful overview of the major justice paradigms as it applies to the environment.

By David Schlosberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book will appeal to anyone interested in environmental politics, environmental movements, and justice theory.

The basic task of this book is to explore what, exactly, is meant by 'justice' in definitions of environmental and ecological justice. It examines how the term is used in both self-described environmental justice movements and in theories of environmental and ecological justice. The central argument is that a theory and practice of environmental justice necessarily includes distributive conceptions of justice, but must also embrace notions of justice based in recognition, capabilities, and
participation. Throughout, the goal is the development of a broad, multi-faceted, yet…


Book cover of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Combining personal memoir and scrupulous history, this traces the long history of Indigenous resistance in the United States, showing it as a story of self-defence and struggles for sovereignty.

Starting with the remarkable Indigenous resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, Estes’s work manages to combine a readable introduction to complex history with an urgent recognition of the stakes involved in the fight for land, water, and natural resources today.

One of my favourite recommendations to anyone who wants to start understanding the deep roots of contemporary issues facing Indigenous communities.

By Nick Estes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our History Is the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan "Mni Wiconi"-Water is Life-was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue.

In Our History is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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