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The Clock's Ticking: A reading list for climate change


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There’s a lot going on in our planet at the moment and seeing headlines about the damage done to our Earth can be pretty scary.

The scariest part is the amount of news being produced regarding different areas of climate change, a new topic emerging what feels like every five minutes.

But the important thing to remember is that, to paraphrase the great Jane Goodall, if you think of things globally it is impossible to do anything with your own little piece of the world. Reading about climate change, learning about the people it effects, those researching it and how you might be able to help reduce your impact on the globe can be a good place to start with handling your worries.

Here are a few books about climate change and what it is, starting from the basics to help you learn everything you need to know to start making a positive difference to our planet.

Whilst they don’t offer definitive points or answers, they do provide the information every individual on our planet needs to know about our influence upon the environment and how we can start trying to make things better.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay


1.No. More. Plastic. - Martin Dorey


You might think that single-use plastic doesn't that much of an impact, but it really does. For example, a recent river clean-up found that 60% of litter in the River Thames wouldn’t be there at all if plastic wasn’t being used in so many everyday products such as drinking straws and water bottles.

This little book about little things that you can do to make a big impact on the planet has been a sensation so far, mentioned recently in Stylist Magazine as an editor’s weekly favourite. Written by expert in all things anti-plastic, Martin Dorey, this is an incredibly useful and quick read that will get you up to speed on how you can get rid of single-use plastics from your lifestyle.

Plus, you can carry it around in your pocket to make sure that next time you’re worrying about your plastic use you have a go to guide on what is best to do.

2. The Uninhabitable Earth - David Wallace-Wells


In what Penguin describes as a ‘travelogue to the near future’, David Wallace-Wells explores at length the destruction that Global Warming will cause to our planet if it continues at the pace it is currently. From famine to flood, the picture painted is a frightening one that can leave behind it a sense of claustrophobia and time running out akin to a tale of biblical apocalypse.

This is an impressive and important discomfort, one that will evoke and encourage action in any reader who wants to understand what climate change is and why it is important to act now.

The thing to bear in mind whilst reading is that so much of this devastation can be prevented if we all start to make small changes to our lifestyle to render the future an environmentally friendly one.


3.Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development - Vandana Shiva


Gender stereotypes exist everywhere, in this case most notably in the fact that we refer to our very planet as Mother Earth, a collection of lands which nurture, feed and nourish us. And whilst our world certainly does provide an awful amount for us, the problem is what we are giving back - in this case, what we aren’t.

Vandana Shiva explores in her research how environments, particularly in India, could benefit from equality being proffered to the women there who have been marginalised and violated.

In rejecting the masculine valued principles of violence and immediacy, Vandana suggests that everyone can benefit from listening to these women and adopting those less self-destructive, more feminine ideas that will lead Earth to recovery from its current damaged state. Eco-feminism at its finest.


4.This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate - Naomi Klein


You might recognise her name from another bestseller, No Is Not Enough, about the presidency of Donald Trump. In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein looks not only at the ways we can help improve the current environmental situation or the terrible things to come as a result but instead focuses on how we have got to this point: capitalism.

Naomi suggests it is in redesigning our markets and taking a step back from the piles of material items being made every day that we as a global community might make systems less toxic than those of our present.

Part economic analysis, part manifesto for a climate motivated revolution, this is an excellent starting point for any person who wants to know the full history of our current headlines.


5. Climate Changed - Philippe Squarzoni


As a graphic novel lover myself, I had to include Philippe Squarzoni’s Climate Changed. Originally written in French, the novel has been translated to English (amongst many other languages) after being received to high acclaim.

With a little less pressing doom and gloom than Naomi Klein, Philippe explores his personal journey in learning what climate change is all about through his character educating a friend on what he knows; in essence, you are that friend being told - sometimes bluntly, but always reassuringly - what has happened, what is happening and what needs to happen next.

Slightly more creative in its approach, I think this is an important one to keep on this list because it offers that human creativity it is so important to bear in mind.

Whilst the Anthropocene age, the age of humans and technology, has caused so much damage, it has also led to the creation of many wonderful things. As Philippe states, it is that creativity and ability to do good that now needs to be prioritised above all else.

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