Good Reads

This is an entirely subjective list of the best books on the topic of climate change that I have read:

The Geography of Hope – A Tour of the World We Need by Chris Turner. The back cover summarizes the book this way:

You’ve heard the dire warnings of The Weather Makers and An Inconvenient Truth – now, in The Geography of Hope, read how people all over the world are already combating climate change. Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Chris Turner breathes new life into hope for our planet’s future on a global adventure through  the state-of-the-art in sustainable living, a patchwork map of the solutions to potentially catastrophic climate change already available, and an argument for a new environmentalism built on exuberance in place of fear.

I read The Geography of Hope last year, and found it inspirational. Click here for more.

No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan.


I love this book!  It’s an interesting, funny, well-written account of a New Yorker and his young family who attempt to live for a year with as little impact on the planet as possible.  Marion Nestle wrote this summary of the book: (click here for more)

Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan (with Richard Littlemore).  “This book explains how the propaganda generated by self-interest groups has purposely created confusion about climate change. It’ s an imperative read for a successful future,”  says the quote from Leonardo Dicaprio from the jacket of Climate Cover-Up. This book will disturb you and make you angry, but it is an important book to read, as this excerpt demonstrates:

We are standing at the edge of a cliff. Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting, and below in a…(click here for more)

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis by former American Vice President Al Gore.  Mr. Gore has written a book that clearly outlines that humanity has available to it all of the tools needed to solve the climate crisis. The solutions are there, and Mr. Gore shows them to us in 404 fact-filled and objective pages.  If we collectively choose to end our addiction to fossil fuels, Gore assures us:

We can solve the climate crisis. It will be hard, to be sure, but if we can make the choice to solve it, I have no doubt whatsoever that we can and will succeed.

In the final chapter Mr. Gore offers two versions of a letter from our generation to the next. The first one  explains what we did right and why it worked to avert a climate-change disaster. The other attempts to explain why we did not act, in the face of undeniable evidence that we must. This, Mr. Gore reminds us, in the choice we are faced with.  Click here to go to the Our Choice website.

“Recent scientific evidence has…given us a picture of the physical impacts on our world that we can expect as our climate changes. And those impacts go far beyond the environmental. Their consequences reach to the very heart of the security agenda.” Margaret Beckett, former British foreign secretary

This is the quote that opens Gwynne Dyer’s book, Climate Wars. Mr Dyer is a London-based independent Canadian journalist, syndicated columnist and military historian. In 2010 he received the Order of Canada.

Climate Wars takes a look at the world faces in the coming decades, because of the (to date) grossly inadequate response of most governments to the threat that         climate change poses. Some of the expected consequences of runaway climate change in the decades ahead are dwindling resources, massive population shifts, natural disasters, spreading epidemics, drought, rising sea levels, plummeting agricultural yields, devastated economies, and political extremism. Any one of these could tip the world towards conflict. Mr. Dyer points out that the military forces of both the United States and Britain have taken this threat seriously for years, although under George W. Bush’s presidency,  it was dangerous to one’s career to be seen treating climate change as a real and serious phenomenon.  Climate Wars was a difficult read for me, because it paints a very unpleasant picture of the future if we continue down the path we are on, and my children are going to be part of that future.  However, this is the kind of well-documented truth-telling that needs to be heard these days, so I recommend it.  More links: Gwynne Dyer’s home page, and Climate Wars on Random Also, the book is discussed on the blog Climate Insight in some detail – click here to read that discussion.

These books are on my bookshelf waiting to be read and possibly added to this list in the future:

  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman
  • The Weather Makers: How We Are Changing the Climate And What It Means for Life On Earth by Tim Flannery

4 thoughts on “Good Reads”

    • Very helpful pages again, Alan. I’m going to refer to your politics page in the future, it looks like it has excellent links.

      And I guess I should update my page – thanks for the reminder! I have now read “Climate Wars”, although I did find it difficult to get through, as a mother concerned about what the future holds for her children, because much of what he lays out is pretty grim. Although he hasn’t yet given up hope (as James Lovelock has), as he said recently “we’re not doomed, we’re just in big trouble”. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about “Climate Wars” and the risk climate destabilization is to national security:

      FYI – Eric Pooley’s “The Climate War” isn’t looking at it the issue from a national security perspective, but rather a look at the political maneuvering around this issue in the U.S. Pooley is the deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. Here’s a link to the book’s website:

  1. Christine. I like your list. There is so much to read and so little time. I would suggest the following
    .Heat by George Monbiot
    Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
    Dirt by David R. Montgomery
    Deep Economy by Bill McKibbin
    Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill Mckibbin
    Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken
    Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
    Hot by Mark Hertsgaard
    The Leap by Chris Turner
    EcoMind by Frances Moore Lappe
    Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen
    Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile
    by Taras Grescoe

    • Thanks for sharing your list – and for the reminder to update mine! Anything by Michael Pollan is well worth a read, and same for Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben. I haven’t yet read “The Leap” but Chris Turner is definitely one of my favourite Canadian authors on the coming paradigm shift. A number of the books on your list I’m not familiar with – David Montgomery’s “Dirt” (although I have Vandana Shiva’s “Soil Not Oil” sitting in my must-read pile beside my bed), as well as Taras Grescoe. Now I just need a few more hours in my day (which I could gain by turning off my computer more regularly!).


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