What we’re reading, listening to, and watching this summer to get smart on climate
Looking to get smart on the climate crisis this summer? We’ve compiled a Climate Summer Reading List to read, listen, or watch, guaranteed to spark informed conversations with friends and family.
Has a book on this list changed the way you thought about something? Or is one of your favorites not on this list? Drop us a comment to let us know which book, podcast, or film documentary you’re most excited about!
1. How Bad Are Bananas?
We understand the calorie consequences of what we eat, but understanding the carbon footprint associated with our decisions is another story. From a cup of tea to your computer, Mike Berners-Lee reveals the carbon footprint of everything to help you build a carbon intuition. For anyone interested in making informed carbon tradeoffs, How Bad are Bananas?is a go-to source.
2. Silent Spring
If you’re looking to dig deep into your environmental activist roots this summer, Silent Springis the classic read. Published in 1962, Rachel Carson’s foundational book highlights the negative impacts of chemicals on biodiversity and wildlife populations – not to mention on the food we eat. Silent Spring is key to understanding the beginnings of the US environmental movement.
3. The Uninhabitable Earth
Without apology, David Wallace-Wells tells the story of our planet if we do not slow global warming. From deadly famines to ravaging hurricanes and rising sea levels, Wallace-Wells shares the cold, hard underbelly of climate change. While at times uncomfortable, The Uninhabitable Earth will tip you from someone who cares about our planet to someone who understands the consequences of not taking action.
4. The Great Derangement
In a rare work of nonfiction, acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh explores how the imagination of literature and society have failed to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. The reality of hundred-year storms and droughts is too implausible for most novels, leaving us with few options to process how climate change is altering human history. He argues that future generations will look back and ask, “Were we deranged?”
5. Climate Justice
Mary Robinson’s Climate Justice brings the climate crisis to a personal, human level. Robinson travels the world to share stories of ordinary people starting grassroots movements to ensure the future and health of their communities. From matriarchs in Mississippi to small farmers in rural Uganda, each story is relatable and instills a sense of hope.
6. No One is Too Small To Make a Difference
When Greta Thunberg delivered her first speech to the UN, she commanded the world’s attention. Since then, she has delivered speeches to the world’s most powerful leaders and inspired thousands of students to walk out of school and strike for climate. This compilation of her speeches captures her sense of urgency and hope: no one is too small to make a difference.
7. Natural Capitalism
While business doesn’t hold the key to solving the climate crisis on its own, Paul Hawken highlights the potential for capitalism to amend environment and profitability. A great starting point for the social entrepreneur rethinking how they do business.
8. The Lorax
Children’s books often hold lessons for adults, too. The Lorax begins with a young boy hearing story of how a thriving ecosystem was nearly wiped out by the hand of unrelenting capitalism. With only one Truffula Tree seed remaining, the Lorax implores the boy, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Sound eerily similar to the recent UN IPCC report on the potentially devastating effects of climate change? The Loraxreminds us that even in the face of the global climate crisis, individuals choosing to care matters.
Jason Jacobs, a self-defined “recovering entrepreneur”, reorients his career to understand the climate crisis by interviewing experts from a broad range of fields to see how each contribute solutions. Ever skeptical, he debates the impact of individual action for the climate with Sanchali Pal, CEO and Co-Founder of Joro, in episode 4. Other recent guests include Daniel Hullah, MD at GE Ventures, and Dan Yates, Co-Founder of OPower, among others.
Hands down our favorite podcast, Mothers of Invention explores climate change as a man-made problem with feminist solutions. Hosted by former Irish Prime Minister Mary Robinson and comedian Maeve Higgins, the show narrates climate solutions and celebrates stories of inspiring women leading the way. We love every episode, but if you only have time for one, check out Season 2, Episode 1, Nothing Happens Unless You Press the Button.
AOC narrates the story of climate change beginning in the 1970s and imagines a future where everyone has access to healthcare, dignified labor, and a low-carbon lifestyle due to green infrastructure changes. Not without natural disasters – parts of Miami below water – AOC tells the story of the Green New Deal and how we can be whatever we have the courage to see.
“The seas are rising in Louisiana, but so are the people.” Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, shares how climate change is causing the displacement of vulnerable communities and how those communities are leading the way to fight back against big oil. If you are looking for inspiration, listen in to hear about how grassroots organizers at the front lines are making real change.
Reading conventional news can be depressing, that’s why we appreciate John Oliver. In this 20 minute video you will laugh your way through learning the contents of the Green New Deal, featuring none other than Bill Nye. Spoiler alert, the GND isn’t about farting cows.
4. Planet Earth [11 episodes, <50 mins]
Thinking of traveling a little less to reduce your carbon footprint? You can still see the world through Planet Earth. This 11-episode Netflix series shows you our planet’s breathtaking beauty as it is today and describes how climate change is impacting plant and animal populations.
5. An Inconvenient Sequel [1h 39 min]
9 Years after releasing the original Inconvenient Truth, An Inconvenient Sequel narrates our progress toward a greener society as well as our shortcomings. A documentary illustrating the painfully destructive consequences of climate denial and the role of government in leading us toward a sustainable future, An Inconvenient Sequel is perfect for a potluck meal and film with friends to spark discussion and individual advocacy.