10 Must-Read Books About Sustainability: The Future Is Green

There are many books on sustainability, and each one offers its unique perspective on this vital topic—books about sustainability cover many topics, including green building, green architecture, sustainable living, and a lot more. 

This list presents some of the best books about sustainability – it’s full of stories about sustainability initiatives empowering us to pursue something bigger than ourselves. They are authored by industry experts with years of sustainability in their field. In contrast, others are written by people who have made their mark through their work in the green movement. 

Reading by Nature

Top Books About Sustainability

1. Cradle to Cradle – William McDonough and Michael Braungart

From a ‘cradle to grave’ to a ‘cradle to cradle perspective, this ground-breaking book seeks to question our linear economy and how we build things.

William McDonough and Michael Braungart created the cradle-to-cradle design concept in 2002. That’s when the two architects wrote about a new design approach that could help make our production cycle more sustainable. 

This book describes a product’s lifecycle and design, where the harmful by-products can repeatedly use with no adverse effects on the environment or human health.

2. A Life on Our Planet – David Attenborough

David Attenborough, who is 94 years old, has seen dramatic changes to our world firsthand. In this real and somber ecological memoir, Attenborough muses how we’ve allowed things to deteriorate to the point of no return and reminds readers of the interconnection of the natural and human worlds. Despite having seen the destruction of the Planet’s wild regions, the author thinks that the human race can alter its present course.

3. This Changes Everything – Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything is a Canadian writer’s book about climate change and capitalism. The book criticizes capitalism’s relationship with climate change in an articulate fashion; the author argues that humans have become proficient in exploiting and enslaving the elements of the natural world for their benefit. 

She asserts that we cannot win the fight against climate change without any amount of voluntary action by capitalists; instead, we can win through political action.

Klein transforms the discourses surrounding climate change into customized arguments with the rhetorical force of revolution. She describes climate change as the world’s most urgent crisis and argues earnestly for global political action, calling for collective societal transformation. 

Klein’s argumentation stems from a Marxist framework and reveals a distrust of corporations and the capitalist system and calls for significantly higher taxes on them.

4. Doughnuts Economics – Kate Raworth

Humans are destroying the Planet, but Kate Raworth argues that this doesn’t need to be the case. She argues we only have to think about what we want for our future, not look to past theories like capitalism or communism, or socialism to help humanity. 

She talks about what any corporation can achieve when you give out its plan toward a sustainable globe instead of only giving all its attention to current financial and economic growth.

For us to have a well-shaped environment that can sustain us in the future, our activities will need to be done in ways that do not damage the Planet or upend its climate balance. 

To understand the current state of the economy, we need to know where the current model has gotten us and where our current aspirations for progress have brought us. We must look at trends, the future, and the drivers of progress over the last hundreds and thousands of years. 

5. Drawdown – Paul Hawken

Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming and outlines the measures we need to take to reverse global warming. These measures will cut emissions in 2050 by 80%. 

By looking at the worldwide impact of global warming, the author broke down how this affects life on the Planet because of our dependence on our climate system. He highlights the importance of each step and lays out pathways to implement them to reduce greenhouse gases. 

Drawdown has swept the internet off its feet, and this book shows up in every nook and cranny of the internet. This document compiles a list of 100 ideas of the most effective things you can do to lower greenhouse gas emissions, compiled by climate scientists, environmentalists, and scientists.

6. Green Swans – John Elkington

The green swan is a metaphor for the fears around change. It’s often a “what if” scenario—where the future becomes a challenge rather than an opportunity because we fear the unknown and are afraid of looking at its eye. 

As humans, we are supposed to adopt—a fundamental characteristic that helps our species survive– but too often, we like to live in a comfort zone by avoiding conflict or uncertainty.

This is not the way of a sustainable business; you either adapt or perish due to massive disruption. The next decade is set to be even more disruptive than the past decade. 

Our reliance on fossil fuels has led to increasing greenhouse gas emissions that have increased the risk of global climate change combined with urbanization and human activities such as deforestation, mining, and unplanned urbanization, leading to the overconsumption of natural resources. This is causing major lifestyle disruptions and placing unprecedented pressure on water resources.

In this book, Elkington compiles his expertise from boardrooms throughout the globe, exhibiting case studies and examples of real-world technology to demonstrate how firms may withstand the impending change in global priorities over the next decade.

7. Grow the Pie – Alex Edmans

This best-selling book by Edmans caused quite a stir among business economists who believed there was nothing new under the sun. The argument put forth by the Harvard professor was that there is a fundamental need for an economy to grow along with the population if the standard of living is to be maintained. The only way for that is for the economy to expand faster than the rising population to sustain economic growth.

In 1990, the author presented this theory and shone the spotlight on an increasing labor force and stagnating rates of growth in the economy. Edmans demonstrated through statistical data and other methods how we could increase the output of goods and services in every economic sector. He arrived at his conclusions by crunching the numbers, but his message stayed simplistic enough for anybody to understand and apply in everyday life.

8. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster – Bill Gates

Bill Gates’s book is all about a global calamity that we know is coming our way, but that can be avoided with the help of the top companies in the world working together. It talks about what we should do to be better prepared for the climate change that will inevitably occur. 

And it could be the biggest disaster the world has ever experienced if all countries worldwide don’t work together relatively quickly and try to mitigate the effects of climate change.

9. Silent Spring – Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962. In her book, Carson argues that pesticide like DDT can wreak havoc on wildlife by causing bird population to decline drastically. She pointed out that even though DDT was efficient against the pests it was supposed to eradicate, it was not worth the environmental cost. Silent Spring encourages the audience to use their voices for good and shows that books can change the course of the world.

Reading at the sea

10. Quenching The Thirst – George Annadale

Water scarcity on a global scale is no longer something that can be disregarded. The world population is expanding at an alarming rate, the amount of available water is decreasing, and all three of these factors are helping to bring about a disaster for which we are all responsible.

This book aims to educate readers about the problem and provide potential remedies. This heavy book has received positive reviews for being intelligent and fascinating. It was written for both the general audience and experts alike.

Author’s Note

Humans have a massive impact on the environment. To avoid undesirable problems like climate change, we need to change how we live, which can only happen if people change how they view the way we live. We need to consider the Planet as something that breathes and deserves our cooperation instead of something to be exploited.

To create a sustainable planet, we need to understand our connection to it and treat it like a living organism, something we refer to as holobiont. Holobiont will help create sustainable principles such as reduce, reuse, recycle, reinvent, and repair. By exploring these principles, we can better understand our connection to the Planet and our need for sustainability. 

As a society, we’ve evolved to care about future generations not because we want them to be in the same kind of trouble we’re in but because we want them to be better off than we are.

Check out these organizations and activists that help us be greener: 14 Environmental Activists Who Changed the World, Environmental Organizations, Top 10 Environmental Movies

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