The best books on environmentalism 📚

Browse the best books on environmentalism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can

Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can

By Guido Girgenti, Varshini Prakash

Why this book?

I was one in a world of frustrated and increasingly anxious people back in 2018. Politicians just weren’t talking about the severity of the environmental crisis and the vast actions that we need (and can) undertake to tackle it. And then Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and Fridays for the Future, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal, and the Sunrise Movement came along. Suddenly everyone was talking about it. This set of essays brings so many of those thinkers and doers together to give us an inspiring road map for getting out of the crisis and realizing a better world…

From the list:

The best books to help us face up to the environmental crisis

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Book cover of The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism

The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism

By Adam Ward Rome

Why this book?

Adam Rome examines an underappreciated topic in environmental history: the environmental costs of the ever-growing American suburbs. Mass migration to the suburbs coincided with the rise of the environmental movement. That convergence was followed by political controversy, and ultimately codes, regulations, and guidelines. Rome is a great storyteller who reveals important shifts in growth management and environmental policy. 

From the list:

The best books on the environmental history of the United States

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Book cover of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

By Michael Shellenberger

Why this book?

The impending doom of climate change has been stressing me out for over a decade. It feels like my son will inherit a world that resembles the dystopian futures of Mad Max or Blade Runner. But the future we’re entering into will be more nuanced than that. 

This book helped me realize that the future may not be as bleak as I had once imagined. The environmental alarmists may have good intentions, but their efforts might be causing more harm than good.

From the list:

The best books to understand the future potential of renewable energy

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Book cover of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth

Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth

By Margaret Klein Salamon, Molly Gage

Why this book?

I found this book to be an inspiring and practical self-help book for the 21st century, challenging us to overcome denial about the global climate emergency and honor our grief, fear, and anger, so we can better take part in the urgently needed transformation of our society and economy.

From the list:

The best books for building resilience in hard times

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Book cover of Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

By Ozzie Zehner

Why this book?

Most environmentalists today believe that wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars represent our path to a sustainable future. In Green Illusions, engineer Ozzie Zehner blows this thesis out of the water.

Green technologies, Zehner explains, require fossil fuels at every step in their production, maintenance, and disposal. But he is not advocating for continuing to use fossil fuels. Rather, Zehner argues that we have a consumption crisis, and that building more industrial products in factories will not solve the issue. He concludes by offering straightforward, common-sense solutions that actually move us in the right direction.

From the list:

The best environmental books of all time

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Book cover of Motor City Green: A Century of Landscapes and Environmentalism in Detroit

Motor City Green: A Century of Landscapes and Environmentalism in Detroit

By Joseph Stanhope Cialdella

Why this book?

Nature takes on different meanings in the landscape of the post-industrial city. On a city block in the middle of a shrinking city, the return of green space can signify abandonment, disinvestment, and decay instead of healing, flourishing, or balance. Cialdella brings much needed nuance and historical context to the place of nature in postindustrial Detroit, providing a wider range of stories about the ways in which gardens and green, from the wide expanse of Belle Isle to urban potato patches and backyard sunflowers, have helped connect communities to the city and each other. Nature in the city doesn’t replace…

From the list:

The best books on nature in the city

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