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Books on Sustainability

A comprehensive list of books on topics related to sustainability that won’t only entertain, but also educate.

Awareness is the core of grass-roots environmental movements and is most effectively raised through media ventures, cinema, and written pieces. This list of books on sustainability-related topics are all profound, educational, and entertaining in their own right. Each item listed below is set to inspire you and refuel your passions towards sustainability and the environment as a whole.


Silent Spring

Author: Rachel Carson

Published in 1962, Silent Spring is credited for sounding the alarm on environmental issues related to rampant pesticide use. The novel started a discussion that led to the ban of DDT and even triggered conversation surrounding the need for state and federal environmental regulations. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is one of the most transformational and significant pieces of literature in the environmental genre.


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Author: Elizabeth Kolbert

A Pulitzer Prize-winning story published in 2014 that evaluates the five mass extinctions throughout history and then claims that we are amidst Earth’s sixth and most devastating extinction yet. Elizabeth backs her claims through a journalistic story of her interactions with different researchers across the world. This novel focuses on the impact that humans are having on biodiversity at large.


Drawdown

Author: Paul Hawken

New York Times Best Seller published in 2017, Drawdown boasts over 5,000 references, sources, and citations put together by about 300 teams of researchers in an effort to provide a comprehensive list of solutions to reverse the effects of climate change. For the novel’s sake, the list was narrowed down to 100 solutions ranked by their effectiveness, resulting in the closest thing that we have to a blueprint to reverse the effects of global warming.


Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Authors: Michael Braungart, William McDonough

Published in 2002, the concept of this novel takes ‘cradle-to-grave’ one step further and insists that products should be designed with end-of-life planned for. The idea is that all products should be able to be upcycled into a new product. In this world, products at the end of their life are no longer wastes, but nutrients.


From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement

Authors: Luke W. Cole, Sheila R. Foster

Published in the year 2000, this book was inspired by the environmental justice movement of 1994. Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on Environmental Justice sparked a conversation surrounding environmental racism. Particularly, how underprivileged communities are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards such as toxic wastes generated from industrial activities.


Ecological Design

Author: Sim Van Der Ryn

A 1996 novel that triggered discussion amongst city planners, architects, and designers to shift their focus towards green design as we continue to develop our natural world. The book challenges design professionals and provides them with a framework to create an infrastructure that is mutually beneficial to both humans and nature.


Sustainability for the Rest of Us: Your No-Bullsh*t, Five-Point Plan for Saving the Planet

Author: John Pabon

A controversial book written for the average Joe. This novel takes a look at changes that we can make on a personal level in our daily lives to help save the planet. John Pabon tackles topics such as heartlessness as it relates to sustainability, China’s impact on the natural world, how modern-day hippies are tainting the environmental movement, and even overpopulation.


The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win

Authors: Jeffrey Hollender, Bill Breen

Hollender and Breen are leading the way in corporate sustainability as chairman at Seventh Generation. The book interviews other companies that are champions in their own right within the corporate sustainability world to explore how profit doesn’t necessarily need to come at the price of the environment.


Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe

Author: Greta Eagan

The clothing industry has long been ridiculed for exploiting child labor and committing other social injustices. This 2014 novel is written by the eco-fashion founder and CEO of Beauty Scripts and takes a close look at the fashion industry as it relates to sustainability. There is a balance been fashion and sustainability to be found in this novel.


Grow Food For Free: The Sustainable, Zero-cost, Low-effort Way to a Bountiful Harvest

Author: Huw Richards

A do-it-yourself and self-help book published in 2020 that obliterates the stigma that healthy fruits and vegetables are only reserved for the wealthy. Huw Richards explains his journey of how he was self-sufficient by growing his own fruits and vegetables for an entire year. Huw summarizes his successes and failures so that you can start growing food of your own. The novel also dives into detail on sustainability as it applies to agriculture.


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