But if there is any hope in righting this awful course, we need to think of every day as Earth Day. With contributions from the likes of Richard Powers, Rebecca Solnit, Elizabeth Rush, Aminatta Forna, Maja Lunde, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Francesca Angiolillo, Stephen Sparks, Amy Brady, Jean-Baptiste del Amo, and many more, this collection is neither exhaustive nor fixed, and with the help of readers and writers alike, we hope to add to it in the coming months and years, if we can.
Divided broadly—and subjectively! Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass. It is our commitment to human exceptionalism and our belief that we make our own meaning—personal, exempt, and autonomous. No reductions in our carbon footprints, no miraculous increase in sequestration will save us, without our surrendering that commitment to purely private meaning. Our survival requires a revolution in seeing and being, one that is also a homecoming. We will not continue long on this Earth without becoming indigenous again, and that means remembering that human existence is wholly dependent on the lives of plants.
Kimmerer is a bryologist and ecologist who teaches and conducts research at a major scientific institution. At the same time, she is a mother and an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Nation. Her attempts to braid together, through writing, those three ways of knowing the world lead her into an exploration of traditional ecological knowledge. We must unblind ourselves and learn how to see green things again. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever. Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe.
Kolbert is a seasoned journalist, and this book was one of the first to collate international studies about climate change. She provides a brief summary of the history of climate change research, then gives an overview of where and how climate change is being observed: melting permafrost, record melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet, changes in sea ice, shifts in ocean currents, the increasing number and intensity of hurricanes, etc.
Which is surely the best argument there has ever been for changing those rules. Written by an Army veteran-cum-English professor, this provocative collection of essays sheds light on the systemic nature of war and climate change. The essays are well researched, beautifully written, and deeply felt. Moreover, they offer new frameworks for discussing and thinking about our very social structures—and how those structures reinforce the behaviors and beliefs we need to change most.
Michael E. Charles Wohlforth, The Whale and the Supercomputer. You think climate change feels scary from Miami or New York? It feels even scarier—and more real—on its northern front, in Alaska, where it has already radically changed daily life for its inhabitants. In this book, Wohlforth follows both scientists and Native Alaskans as they grapple with the massive effects of global warming.
For when nothing but philosophy will do: a slim volume that wonders how we should relate to the death of the planet, along with our own deaths, and how we should live when both are certain.
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender
Mary Robinson, Climate Justice. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, explores climate activism at the grassroots level in Climate Justice. Her research takes her around the world, where she speaks with all kinds of people—a hair stylist, a farmer, a grandmother—who are mobilizing their communities to take action against climate change. Most of the people she profiles are women, and all of their stories are inspiring. Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement. Perhaps one of the best—and most controversial—academic treatises on how novelists are responding to climate change, The Great Derangement argues that climate change is almost too big, too unwieldy, and too downright strange to be rendered into familiar narrative forms.
by Nora Ephron (2006)
And yet, Ghosh argues, climate change should also be the focus of all great literature. Ghosh combines memoir, postcolonial theory, history, philosophy, science and other disciplines to support his arguments. Anyone interested in how writers are thinking about climate should pick up this book. In this volume, Anderson takes an unconventional approach to climate change, assembling science, fiction, testimony, news reports, personal narrative and poetry in a kind of elegiac collage to our dying world.
This page-turning account of a culture on the verge of being capsized by the monoculture of global capitalism is an unexpected page-turning. I recommend it highly.
The book goes beyond swimming and looks at English history, woodland, rights of way and ancient hedgerows and advocates for open access to the countryside and waterways. Waterlog was the only book that Deakin published in his lifetime, but it was a bestseller in the UK and helped create the wild swimming movement.
Dahr Jamail, The End of Ice. Ken Ilgunas, Trespassing Across America. An epic account of walking the route of the proposed, and for the moment quashed, Keystone Pipeline. Buffalo has Lake Erie and the Niagara River as well as mountainous landfills in the outlying areas: Gulls are no strangers here. Initially addressing the anthropocentric nature of gulls and human waste disposal, it becomes much more than the subtitle promises. Dee writes like a charismatic literature professor lecturing in front of a room of environmentalists and birders auditing a class.
Culling from the works of Beckett, Borges, Chekhov, Larkin, and so many others, he explains and illuminates both purposeful and forced adaptation. There is much to be learned about planetary destruction from studying birds. Barry Lopez, Horizon. I think in the future two human habits will baffle those who occupy earth after us: what we eat, as in how much meat and how we factory farmed it; and how we traveled.
As in how little we thought of journeying thousands of miles across the globe for small purposes. From Australia to Japan, to parts of Africa and the remote Arctic, this book follows the contrails of memory back to journeys Lopez took and describes what he saw and why he went. Tries to divine them, or at least pay tribute on the hope that some day maybe we will. It turns out we need a horizon of human knowledge just as much as we need a record of who and what was here: beautifully, elegantly, this book manages to provide us with both things.
Lauret E. Lauret Savoy is an environmental studies and geology professor whose work often searches for the overlap of personal, national and natural histories. Savoy is a woman of mixed heritage, and in Trace she goes back in time to follow the circuitous paths her ancestors took to reach her—all the while documenting the ways in which these European colonists, African slaves, and indigenous Americans impacted the earth.
Savoy, Alison H. Savoy also teamed up with science writer Alison H. It is a volume that demands both ecological and cultural awareness. In this provocative book, science writer Emma Marris explores conservation—of spaces and species—in the context of climate change. She also advocates for accepting green or wild spaces in urban areas as functioning ecosystems. This perspective in particular has taken off in the past five years, with an increasing number of scientists studying urban ecology. Moore, a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, taps into her own experiences at both her Alaska cabin and her Oregon home to outline a moral and ethical approach to our responsibilities re: climate change.
Who even knows about the Declaration? Who is thinking about the moral issues around climate change? While Moore skillfully weaves personal experience with philosophical approaches to sustainable living on planet Earth, I suspect her audience is limited to the privileged few, and will likely not reach the marginalized people most affected by climate change.
We could do a lot worse than Thich Nhat Hanh as our global moral leader. Here, he makes a very Buddhist argument for the interconnectedness of humanity with the earth—one is simply not possible without the other, and in fact both are the same, and if we love ourselves and, not for nothing, want to survive we need to love the planet in the same way. Mark Lynas, High Tide. An early climate change classic. Come with me—see what I have seen—and try to understand what global warming really means for us and for our children. Wendell Berry, Our Only World. Stern, sometimes grumpy, always independent, Berry is at his best when the gap between idea and practice is as small as can be.
Passionately, he argues we need to make this gap almost invisible when it comes to the planet. We need to think of values and activities, Berry says, which are intolerant of abstracting. Is it crazy to think of love, when we think of our planets forests? But not an impossibility. William T. Vollmann, No Immediate Danger. Nothing can be done to save it; therefore, nothing need be done.
Hence this little book scrapes by without offering solutions. There were none; we had none. Vollmann, No Good Alternative. Volume two of the account of the end of our world. Vollman will still be writing these even after the world is over. Edward O. Wilson, Half Earth. This would stabilize the environment and save everyone who lives on earth, he argues—including, of course, us. Fred Pearce, The New Wild. She makes food for wild bees and hummingbirds, and watches gorgeous, magenta-tinged grasshoppers feed on her flowers.
But her connection to landscape is also spiritual. Sometimes late at night in the wind you can hear them sing or on a long hot summer afternoon you can hear them laughing and talking in the shade.
Every Day is Earth Day: Books to Start Your Climate Change Library | Literary Hub
Turquoise Man [travels] with the rain. When Scranton arrived home to America from his Army tour in Iraq, he was confronted with problems even bigger than Al Qaeda: hurricanes, rising seas, disease outbreaks, and other catastrophes resulting from climate change. Scranton combines memoir, reportage, history, science, and literary analysis to explore what it means to be alive today—and what it might mean in the future. Provocative, erudite, and wonderfully lucid, Learning to Die might be one of the most important books of the Anthropocene.
Too often in conversations about climate change the voices of Indigenous people are absent.
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