11 Great Books You Need to Read About the Environment

By Charlotte Dawson

Here at MILJÖ, we have selected a great range of books for those who are interested in developing their understanding of the environment and the world we live in. The ever-changing climate and suggestions on how to make a difference can make you feel incredibly overwhelmed, as though you just aren’t doing enough. Don’t despair! You’re here now, so keep reading to see which books you would like to delve into.

In this article, we are going to be talking about non-fiction books you can read to learn about the environment and some fiction novels that will get your brain ticking.

Reading is a fantastic way to expand your knowledge of the environment. There are so many authors out there sharing advice and their own experiences on what's going on in the world, and how you can become a better, greener human. Not green, you know what I mean.


Non-Fiction Books About the Environment


There are tons of non-fiction books on the topic of the environment. You can find books on scientific evidence on nature, and even guides on being sustainable.

If you’re already an avid environmentalist, you may want to dig deeper into further intense reading on the topic of the environment. However, if you’re a beginner then great! Some of the following books are perfect for advising on changes you can make today.

If you don’t want to contribute to buying any more physical paper books, you can always download them on kindle.

Or, if you would rather buy a physical copy, you can purchase second hand, or once you are finished reading, donate or regift the book.

Live Green – 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life (2019)
by Jen Chillingsworth

Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth is a very aesthetically pleasing beginners guide to becoming more sustainable. This guide will help you create new daily habits to create less waste and live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

This particular book is set out as a year-long guide. Super easy to follow and understand, with great tips you can pick up on immediately.

You are given 52 weeks’ worth of habit changes to become a better human. Each week touches on different topics, from food waste, fast fashion, to a sustainable Christmas.

You can find some of the sustainable swaps here at MILJÖ in our store!

Essentially this book will teach you to live fully and more intentionally, even teaching you how to create your cleaning products! That’s right, living green still means you need to clean.


How Bad are Bananas? (2009/2020)
by Mike Benners-Lee

How Bad are Bananas by Mike Benners-Lee will teach you how everything you do, buy and think about has an impact on your carbon footprint.

What is a carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the name for the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from your actions and choices. Carbon Dioxide is a gas that becomes poisonous when there is too much of it. Hugely linked to climate change and changes in the ecosystem, for example, warmer oceans, impacting sea life.

You may not have known some aspects of your everyday life even impacted the planet! Hopefully, once completing How Bad are Bananas, your lifestyle will change completely and forever.

Mike’s book touches on topics from plastic bags, litter, and food production, to de-forestation and the electronic world.
You can find a substitute for buying and using plastic bags here at MILJÖ by using one of our Fairtrade organic cotton tote bags!

This book will order in importance how your carbon footprint affects the planet. We all want to do as much as we can, however, sometimes this isn’t possible. Hence why even the smallest things can make a huge impact on our environment.

 

This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs Climate (2015)
by Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein is an incredibly interesting read about how capitalism is effecting our planet by creating or enabling climate change.

Is the world we live in pushing the environment to the side to fulfil the greedy needs of businesses, factories and other industries? Or are the changes because of our actions?

This book delves deeper into what is causes climate change, and how it's not just because you’re using straws.

Naomi Klein discusses how it’s not just our carbon footprint that is impacting the environment, but the world itself we live in. Money, growth, and power are all things that are increasing the damage to the planet and making things even harder for us, those who are trying their hardest to make a difference.

It isn’t all sad within in this read. This Changes Everything teaches you that if the world, businesses, and people can make huge changes, then we can create a healthier world to live in before it’s too late.


Let My People go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman (2016)
by Yvon Chouinard

Let My People Go Surfing is written by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, the leading and most respected company that helps to support the environment.

This book is a memoir about Chouinard who is not only a businessman but also a climber, surfer and environmentalist, a fantastic one at that!

You will be taken through the journey of how the sports equipment and clothing brand came to life to be after Yvon’s climbing expeditions, where he sees and notices the world in ways some of us never have and may never experience.

If you're also an entrepreneur who loves the outdoors, this will be a great read for you. An all inspiring read about caring for the environment, from someone who started from the bottom of the mountain and climbed their way up.

The Future We Choose: Surviving The Climate Crisis (2020)
by Christiana Figueres Tom Rivett-Carnac

The Future We Choose by Christina Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac is an extremely well written informational book. Covering how climate change has impacted the earth and how we as humans can make vital decisions right now to change the future.

If you're not into reading doom and gloom stories, don’t worry. The Future We Choose has an optimistic outlook on climate change which does warn against human action at the same time.

The Future We Choose shows two different outcomes for the planet.

The first outcome is set in 2050 showing what the world will be like if we do not take action against climate change right now. The other shows us how our carbon-neutral world will look like if we do change.


The Oak Papers (2021)
by James Canton

The Oak Papers is an autobiography by Professor James Canton.
James spent two years meditating underneath an 800-year-old Oak Tree in England when his relationship ended. Whilst meditating and questioning his personal life, James began to think about the existence of the oak tree he was perched beneath for all this time.

He further tells the story of the history of the oak tree he sat beneath and also how nature plays a huge, vital role in sustaining us as a human race.
Canton delves into the fact that we no longer need trees to build homes for ourselves, or to fuel many fires, or keep industries and businesses around that can now use machines and technology.

So now that we seemingly don’t need as many trees, what are they doing here?


Earth's Wild Music: Celebrating and Defending the Songs of the Natural World (2021)
by Kathleen Dean Moore

Earth’s Wild Music is a collection of essays that reminds the reader of the small fragments of nature we sometimes take for granted. This book also makes us realise these beautiful parts of the world could still be taken from us forever.

Some of these essays touch on extinction and nature that has long been and gone. You may find when reading some of these essays that there is an emotional tone that may personally connect with you. Kathleen herself found some parts of writing this book moving for herself.

This collection of essays aims to inform the reader that we must act now to keep our natural world alive and to not create any more human errors leading to extinction.

If we want to keep hearing the music of nature and help the ecosystem and evolution to keep on doing its job, we must understand the detrimental impact humans are creating.


Fiction Novels About the World

Every book you read will have a message at the end that resonates with you, that’s the whole point of reading, right?

If you're not someone who enjoys non-fiction, seriously informational, in-depth books about the environment, here are a few fiction novels that touch on the subject of our ever-changing world.

Immerse yourself into the following stories to further learn more about humans and the world we live in.

 

Flight Behaviour (2013)
by Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behaviour is a fiction novel written by Barbara Kingsolver, a book that holds scientific facts and knowledge alongside a relatable and deeply touching fictional story.

Barbara creates the story of Dellarobia, a woman who lives in poverty on a farm in the Eastern United States. She is a young mother who makes a life-changing discovery one day when admiring the world around her and notices the change in the butterflies behaviour.

When animals or insects change their behaviour, we know this is due to climate change, something is wrong within the ecosystem causes a detrimental domino effect.

Dellarobia is unsure whether the change in the monarch butterflies behaviour is a sign from God, climate change or maybe both…

This novel has elements of science and will make the reader think about their actions throughout this deeply captivating novel.

 

The Overstory (2019)
by Richard Powers

The Overstory by Richard Powers is a novel about how several completely different characters are connected by trees, and how they come together to save a forest.

This novel is extremely highly rated by all of those who have read, especially for those who want to learn more and read more about the environment.

The Overstory is written with entwined stories from characters in different locations, times and ages, who have all had some kind of involvement with a tree or trees that has majorly impacted their life.

For example, one character is hearing impaired and believes the trees can speak to her, another is a photographer who has been capturing the essence of the same trees for years on end.

A passionate novel that will connect you to the story, its characters and leave you thinking about your connection with the world.

 

The Last Bear (2021)
by Hannah Gold

The Last Bear written by Hannah Gold is a beautifully illustrated children's novel that encapsulates the friendship of understanding the world and doing the right thing by making a difference on this planet.

The story follows a father and daughter, who travel to Bear Island, which is now uninhabited by bears…

They believe there are no more bears left on this island. However, April the daughter catches sight of a polar bear who needs desperate help.

Hannah Gold’s touching story helps to teach children to be environmentally aware and how to be kind to animals and others. A story that isn’t too sad but touching enough for children to become more aware of how the world is changing around them.

Since the children are the future, it is so important we teach them to be sustainable and protect the environment.

 

The Bees (2015) by Laline Paul 

The Bees by Laline Paul is a super interesting, dystopian read, a darker Bee Movie vibe if you have ever seen the film…

This story sets you inside an actual beehive, so you can involve yourself within the life of bees.

You will read about the life of Flora, a bee who should have been destroyed at birth due to being slightly deformed and seemingly not up to par with the rest of the worker bees.

She works through a series of jobs within the hive, eventually being able to sneakily enter the Queen's inner sanctum (the part of the hive where the Queen bee lives).

Flora faces a struggle for survival throughout this novel and the reader is there every step of the way.

I have mentioned this book because bees are a huge sign within our world that the climate and the environment are changing.

This rather chilling novel will suck you into the story and also, rather oddly make you think within the mind of an actual bee.

 

Final Notes

We hope that the above reads will find you and connect well within your mission to save the planet.

We care so much about the environment here at MILJÖ it would be amazing to hear from you if you have read any of the above books.

If you can recommend other great pieces that taught you a lot about the environment and how to be a better individual that would be fantastic.

Remember, if you are looking for any sustainable swaps, we offer a curated range of products here at MILJÖ!

Once again, thank you for reading it, please share it with any other environmentalists you may know!

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