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These books provide insight into the problems plaguing our planet and our people. They also offer hope and solutions.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein. In clear and unassailable detail, Klein lays out the disastrous impact of deregulated global capitalism on the environment. With the help of politicians and lobbyists, corporations rack up massive profits for destroying the planet at breakneck speed. “Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life,” writes Klein. The only way forward is a radical restructuring of the global economic system that centers social and environmental justice.
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, by Harriet A. Washington. This book is part call to action and part exposé. The author outlines the extent to which environmental racism is linked to the usual culprits -- corporate greed, government irresponsibility, discrimination -- that leave Black Americans exposed to pollution. She also offeres a wide variety of solutions including community involvement and activism.
Under A White Sky, by Elizabeth Kolbert. For the more scientifically and solutions-inclined, journalist and author Elizabeth Kolbert guides readers through the consequences of our actions on the ecosystems and human populations and catalogues the many solutions to the environmental crisis that humans have come up with. Under A White Sky is also a warning of how far down the wrong road we have already gone and to what damaging effect.
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock, by Dina Gilio-Whitaker. For centuries, indigenous people have been victimized by broken promises, food insecurity, ancestral land loss and the disproportionate effects of the climate crisis. Journalist, columnist and American Indian Studies lecturer Dina Gilio-Whitaker spotlights the unending fight for the planet, environmental justice and Native sovereignty through what she calls an “Indigenized environmental justice” lens.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. Climate news can be bleak and overwhelming but this provocative and illuminating collection of essays by 60 female climate activists manages to be hopeful and inspiring. They make the case that all is not lost if we act now: talk about climate change, work to change policy, support climate journalism and take to the streets.
Revolutionary Power: An Activist’s Guide to the Energy Transition by Shalanda H. Baker. Instead of framing climate change from a western world perspective, Baker argues for an energy revolution on behalf of people of color, poor people, and Indigenous communities around the world. She outlines how attention to energy justice through key areas of energy policy can reshape the world in incredible ways.
Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World, edited by John Freeman. In many parts of the globe, we can see the effects of climate change with our own eyes. This compilation features writings by Lauren Groff, Edwidge Danticat, Margaret Atwood and many more that address the inequality of climate change.
Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices From the Grassroots by Robert Bullard with a foreword by Benjamin Chavis. If you want to understand the environmental racism/justice movement, this is the book for you. Robert Bullard is considered the father of the environmental justice movement and Chavis is widely credited for coining the phrase “environmental racism” following the 1982 Warren County protests. Published more than 20 years ago, the groundbreaking anthology grew out of the National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit and is still very relevant today.