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Best Books to Read About Sustainability

Author: Apeel Team

Summer’s coming and there are a couple things you can count on: it’s gonna be hot, and chances are it’ll be a little bit hotter than last year. Because, well, climate change. As you find yourself keeping cool by the pool, we’ve got you covered with some reading lists suggestions about how climate change is affecting us, what we can do about it, and how we can break down barriers at the same time, working together for a happier and healthier future. 

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Edited By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

Over 60 women came together to create All We Can Save, which is a collection of poetry, prose, illustrations, and stories that weave together varied stories of climate change. They show the tragic truths of our changing planet, and reflect its cries for help through their writing. The diverse perspectives bring emotion and clarity to readers, and offer invigorating hope to move forward and make positive change. 

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

By Bill Gates

Always an innovator, Bill Gates has written a fascinating and accessible book to explain what technologies we have at our disposal to mitigate climate change, and how we can make progress towards “net zero” emissions in time to head off climate disaster. Gates analyzes technologies and technical possibilities for a net-zero transition, breaking down the complex issues that contribute to climate change into two categories: what needs to be done and how can we do it? He emphasizes that changing our technologies and our lifestyles will be hard, but articulates a hopeful path to a better future. 

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Edited by Paul Hawken 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the reality of climate change, or anxious that we won’t be able to develop new technologies to combat it fast enough, pick up this book and take a deep breath. Edited by Paul Hawken, this book was written by a bevy of researchers, scientists, and professionals who each contributed in the area they know best. The result is a long list of viable solutions to climate change issues that are already in action around the world, from farming techniques to education opportunities to clean energy initiatives, which taken together could add up to significant change. 

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

By Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Author Hans Rosling argues that we see the world the wrong way, often misinterpreting important facts. In Factfulness he, along with his co-authors, points out the ten reasons why we’re often wrong, and how they add up to give us a skewed worldview. Actually, the book argues that  we’re often better off than we think and that it’s a problem of prioritization of problems that is making things seem worse than they are.

The Happy Hero

By Solitaire Townsend

Want to figure out the secret to happiness? It’s saving the world! At least, that’s what author Solitaire Townsend is trying to tell us in her book, The Happy Hero. The basic idea? Living in a media saturated era has made us more anxious, worried, and negative, but, we can help ourselves fix that by improving the world we live in. Every little action makes a difference, and they add up to make each and every one of us a hero. 

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era

By Amory B. Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute

True or false? As climate issues are brought to the forefront of our society and our policy, we can either have productive businesses or a healthy planet. If you guessed false, you would be right. Reinventing Fire points this out, showing readers how transportation, building, electricity, and manufacturing companies can turn a profit by going green. That’s huge, because they’re some of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. (EPA)

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors

By Carolyn Finney

In a well-rounded study, author Carolyn Finney confronts the stereotype that Black individuals just don’t ‘do’ the outdoors, going beyond whether the stereotype is true and diving into where it came from and why it lingers. She dissects historical literature and media of all kinds to help her identify and showcase how the color of a person’s skin affected the way  they were able to interact with nature. She shows us the very real ways that Black people have been written out of stories of the great outdoors, as well as the barriers that still need to be broken down.

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It

By Anna Lappé

We know that what we eat has an impact on the planet, from how the food was farmed to where it came from. Diet for a Hot Planet exposes the ways that our food has an impact on climate change, and how those facts are largely being ignored by policymakers. After outlining the problems, Anna Lappé talks with farmers that are moving to more sustainable techniques. And with six principles to adopt for a climate-friendly diet, you can take what you’ve learned and start making an impact immediately. 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

This collection of essays offers a look at the botanical world from a Western scientific point of view, as well as a traditional ecological knowledge one. By employing a mindframe akin to indigenous peoples, the book argues we can rethink our relationships with nature and create more sustainable ways of life. Author Robin Wall Kimmerer points out that we are stronger when we work together, taking into account the newer, quantitative ways of problem solving, along with the adaptive, longstanding methods that native groups have been perfecting for centuries. 

To realize a better future, often the best place to start is with educating ourselves. Small actions, like casting a vote or composting your kitchen scraps, can make a huge difference when enacted by an entire community. It may not seem like it, but saving our planet can start with something as simple as crawling into bed with a good book. 

To learn more about Apeel's own sustainability mission, check out our Sustainability webpage:

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