Top 5 Books on Climate Change and Sustainability
9th October 2013

We are often asked about what books we recommend to act as further reading for people who are interested in sustainability generally and climate change in particular, and as resources for adults and young people who want to read more around the subject following their Carbon Literacy training.

After a few informal brainstorm sessions before and after meetings, and a very unscientific poll on twitter (@carbon_literacy in case you are curious), we’ve put together in a thoroughly unscientific way, this top 5 of the books people talked about most and recommended repeatedly.

There are some other excellent books that we thought of too late to include this time round, (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t include Polyp’s brilliant “Speechless” – an explanation of consumption without words…) ( Oh…Go on then: Amazon: Amazon:, Book Depository: ) so this post might well expand into a Top 10 before long…

A couple of books on wider sustainability rather than just climate change have crept in – but we just think they are great supportive resources.

Feel free to email or tweet us with your further suggestions ….

I’ve included shortlinks to both Amazon (I know, I know, but lots of people still use it to look things up), and, so that you can compare prices, find out more and order or buy. Think about borrowing them from your local library, or buying a good second-hand copy rather than new if you want to reduce the resources used to print and publish new books (although the authors may not thank me for saying so!), or think about an e-book version where available.

If you go to Book Depository via this link: (bookmark the landing page for future use), those lovely people at Friends of the Earth will receive a 5% donation from Book Depository (at no cost to you) based on whatever you spend anywhere on the site. Do your research first then use the link to start your purchase.*
For your convenience, all the individual Book Depository links below are already set to donate to Friends of the Earth whether you use the link above or not.**
This is permanent offer (checked September 2013), so how better to learn more about climate change and take positive action to help address it at the same time?

Happy reading !…

"How Bad are Bananas?" – The Carbon Footprint of Everything.

Mike Berners-Lee
Hugely Popular, Mike Berners-Lee's entertaining guide to the carbon footprint of the everyday activities and things all around us. "From text messages and plastic bags to wars and volcanoes, How Bad Are Bananas? has the carbon answers we need" Hugely useful.


Book Depository:
How Bad Are Bananas?
The Burning Question: We can't burn half the world's oil, coal and gas. So how do we quit?

Mike Berners-Lee & Duncan Clark
A concisely written primer in Climate Change, the position we're in and what needs to happen if we are to remain safe.

Another excellent and clearly written introductory (and some way beyond) book from Mike Berners-Lee.

"Tells it like it is" Prof Kevin Anderson, The Tyndall Centre


Book Depository:
The Burning Question - Cover
What Has Nature ever Done For Us?: How Money Really Does Grow On Trees

Tony Juniper
From Indian vultures to Chinese bees, Nature provides the 'natural services' that keep the economy going. Tony Juniper looks at the interconnectedness of natural life and through stories; negative and positive, explains how our lives, our economy and our planet interact.


Book Depository:
What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? - Cover
Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet

Tim Jackson
The best known book on what has become known as "zero growth economics", this is at times quite a technical but nevertheless seminal work. It lays out, explains and addresses the limitations of an economy predicated on a model of continuously increasing financial growth and material and resource consumption, and presents some alternatives. Required reading if the economics of consumption and its relationship to climate change is your area of interest !


Book Depository:
Prosperity Without Growth - Cover
Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources

Rob Dietz & Daniel O’Neill
Published Jan 2013 : "It’s time for a new kind of economy"

From the Cover:
"We’re overusing the earth’s finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth – an economy where the goal is _enough_, not more. Filled with fresh ideas and surprising optimism, Enough Is Enough is the primer for achieving genuine prosperity and a hopeful future for all."


Book Depository:
Enough Is Enough - Cover

* (For the sake of transparency, neither Cooler or the Carbon Literacy Project, or anyone associated directly with either, benefits financially should you choose to use this link – only Friends of The Earth.)

** The first version of this posting was edited to add the direct “donation” links for each book.