While tackling the climate crisis can seem overwhelming, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the ways we can individually and collectively take action. If fiction is more your speed, we invite you to explore the growing genre of “cli-fi.” While some cli-fi is speculative and apocalyptic, other works reflect on the effects of climate change on contemporary daily life. Of course, the Library is here to help. We’ve selected titles to help educate and inspire.
The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times
by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
Looking at the headlines–the worsening climate crisis, a global pandemic, loss of biodiversity, political upheaval–it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed. In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist, and Douglas Abrams, the internationally bestselling co-author of The Book of Joy, explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit. Drawing on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world, The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? What is the relationship between hope and action? Filled with moving and inspirational stories and photographs from Jane’s remarkable career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in the world today. While discussing the experiences that shaped her discoveries and beliefs, Jane tells the story of how she became a messenger of hope, from living through World War II to her years in Gombe to realizing she had to leave the forest to travel the world in her role as an advocate for environmental justice. And for the first time, she shares her profound revelations about her next, and perhaps final, adventure. The second book in the Global Icons Series–which launched with the instant classic The Book of Joy with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu–The Book of Hope is a rare and intimate look not only at the nature of hope but also into the heart and mind of a woman who revolutionized how we view the world around us and has spent a lifetime fighting for our future. There is still hope, and this book will help guide us to it. – Description from the catalog
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Edited by Paul Hawken
In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world. – Description from Libby
Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World
by Gaia Vince
Drought-hit regions bleeding those for whom a rural life has become untenable. Coastlines diminishing year on year. Wildfires and hurricanes leaving widening swaths of destruction. The culprit, most of us accept, is climate change, but not enough of us are confronting one of its biggest, and most present, consequences: a total reshaping of the earth’s human geography. As Gaia Vince points out early in Nomad Century, global migration has doubled in the past decade, on track to see literal billions displaced in the coming decades. What exactly is happening, Vince asks? And how will this new great migration reshape us all?
In this deeply-reported clarion call, Vince draws on a career of environmental reporting and over two years of travel to the front lines of climate migration across the globe, to tell us how the changes already in play will transform our food, our cities, our politics, and much more. Her findings are answers we all need, now more than ever. – Description from Libby
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis
by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
Receptionist Pam Beesly and accountant Angela Martin had very little in common when they toiled together at Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. But, in reality, the two bonded in their very first days on set and, over the nine seasons of the series’ run, built a friendship that transcended the show and continues to this day. Sharing everything from what it was like in the early days as the show struggled to gain traction, to walking their first red carpet—plus exclusive stories on the making of milestone episodes and how their lives changed when they became moms—The Office BFFs is full of the same warm and friendly tone Jenna and Angela have brought to their Office Ladies podcast. – Description from Libby
Our House is On Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis
by Greta Thunberg, Svante Thunberg, Malena Ernman, and Beata Ernman
When climate activist Greta Thunberg was eleven, her parents, Malena and Svante, and her little sister, Beata, were facing a crisis in their own home. Greta had stopped eating and speaking, and her mother and father had reconfigured their lives to care for her. Desperate and searching for answers, her parents discovered what was at the heart of Greta’s distress: her imperiled future on a rapidly heating planet. Steered by Greta’s determination to understand the truth and generate change, they began to see the deep connections between their own suffering and the planet’s. Written by a remarkable family and told through the voice of an iconoclastic mother, Our House Is On Fire is the story of how they fought their problems at home by taking global action. And it is the story of how Greta decided to go on strike from school, igniting a worldwide rebellion. — From back cover
The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go From Here
by Hope Jahren
Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist, a brilliant writer, a passionate teacher, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. In The Story of More , she illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles—that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming—from superstorms to rising sea levels—and the actions that we all can take to fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of global change and a lively, personal narrative given to us in Jahren’s inimitable voice, The Story of More is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it. – Description from the catalog
How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos
by David Pogue
A practical and comprehensive guide to surviving the greatest disaster of our time, from New York Times bestselling self-help author and beloved CBS Sunday Morning science and technology correspondent David Pogue. – Description from the catalog
American War: A Novel
by Omar El Akkad
An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike. – Description from the catalog
Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood
Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey—with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake—through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining. – Description from Libby
The Ministry for the Future
by Kim Stanley Robinson
From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us—and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 “If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future .” —Ezra Klein “The best science fiction-nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem, Vanity Fair “A breathtaking look at the challenges that face our planet in all their sprawling magnitude and also in their intimate, individual moments of humanity.” — Booklist (starred) “A sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity’s ability to cooperate in the face of disaster. This heartfelt work of hard science-fiction is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet.” — Publishers Weekly (starred) ” The Ministry for the Future ranks among Robinson’s best recent works, a collection of actions and observations that adds up to more than the sum of its eclectic and urgent parts. – Description from the catalog
by Barbara Kingsolver
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible. – Description from Libby
Migrations: A Novel
by Charlotte McConaghy
Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish. As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward–and running from. Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is both an ode to our threatened world and a breathtaking story about the lengths we will go for the people we love. – Description from the catalog