Some places to find our suggestions –

  • CareerOneStop, managed by the U.S. Department of Labor, allows you to find your nearest local, free public library by entering your (or your school’s) zip code.
  • IndieBound has a bookstore finder tool that helps you find local, small book shops to support if you choose to purchase a copy.

Image: Beacon Press

1. As Long as Grass Grows

Author: Dina Gilio – Whitaker 

Publisher: Beacon Press

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13: 9780807073780

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice,” Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. As Long As Grass Grows gives readers an accessible history of Indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism and policy. Throughout 2016, the Standing Rock protest put a national spotlight on Indigenous activists, but it also underscored how little Americans know about the longtime historical tensions between Native peoples and the mainstream environmental movement. Ultimately, she argues, modern environmentalists must look to the history of Indigenous resistance for wisdom and inspiration in our common fight for a just and sustainable future.”

Image: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mariner and Clarion Books 

2. A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis

Author: Vanessa Nakate

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mariner Books and Clarion Books 

Year of publication: 2021 

ISBN 13: 9780358654506

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): A manifesto and memoir about climate justice and how we can—and must—build a livable future for all, inclusive to all, by a rising star of the global climate movement. Leading climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate brings her fierce, fearless spirit, new perspective, and superstar bona fides to the biggest issue of our time. In A Bigger Picture, her first book, she shares her story as a young Ugandan woman who sees that her community bears disproportionate consequences to the climate crisis. At the same time, she sees that activists from African nations and the global south are not being heard in the same way as activists from white nations are heard. Inspired by Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, in 2019 Nakate became Uganda’s first Fridays for Future protestor, awakening to her personal power and summoning within herself a commanding political voice… From a shy little girl in Kampala to a leader on the world stage, A Bigger Picture is part rousing manifesto and part poignant memoir, and it presents a new vision for the climate movement based on resilience, sustainability, and genuine equity.

Image: W.W. Norton & Company

3. Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment

Author: Denis Hayes, Gail Boyer Hayes 

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company

Year of publication: 2015

ISBN 13:978-0-393-23994-2

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “In Cowed, globally recognized environmentalists Denis and Gail Boyer Hayes offer a revealing analysis of how our beneficial, centuries-old relationship with bovines has evolved into one that now endangers us… In their quest to find fresh solutions to our bovine problem, the authors take us to farms across the country from Vermont to Washington. They visit worm ranchers who compost cow waste, learn that feeding cows oregano yields surprising benefits, talk to sustainable farmers who care for their cows while contributing to their communities, and point toward a future in which we eat less, but better, beef. In a deeply researched, engagingly personal narrative, Denis and Gail Hayes provide a glimpse into what we can do now to provide a better future for cows, humans, and the world we inhabit. They show how our relationship with cows is part of the story of America itself.”

link to Bookshop.org to purchase Don't Even Think About It Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

Image: Bloomsbury USA

4. Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

Author: George Marshall 

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Year of publication: 2015

ISBN 13: 9781632861023

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): Most of us recognize that climate change is real yet we do nothing to stop it. What is the psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall’s search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and Texas Tea Party activists; the world’s leading climate scientists and those who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. What he discovers is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own, gaining authority as they are shared, dividing people in their wake. With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall argues that the answers do not lie in the things that make us different, but rather in what we share: how our human brains are wired–our evolutionary origins, our perceptions of threats, our cognitive blind spots, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. Once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink climate change, for it is not an impossible problem. Rather, we can halt it if we make it our common purpose and common ground. In the end, Don’t Even Think About It is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human and how we can deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.

Image: MacMillan Publishers 

5. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Author: Bill McKibben

Publisher: MacMillan Publishers 

Year of publication: 2011

ISBN 13: 9780312541194

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): Twenty years ago, with The End of Nature, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about global warming. Those warnings went mostly unheeded; now, he insists, we need to acknowledge that we’ve waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We’ve created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth. That new planet is filled with new binds and traps. A changing world costs large sums to defend—think of the money that went to repair New Orleans, or the trillions it will take to transform our energy systems. But the endless economic growth that could underwrite such largesse depends on the stable planet we’ve managed to damage and degrade. We can’t rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends, McKibben argues, on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance.

Image: The New Press

6. The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

Author: Dahr Jamail 

Publisher: The New Press

Year of publication: 2020

ISBN 13:978-1-62097-597-8

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice… Accompanied along the way by climate scientists and people whose families for centuries have fished, farmed, and lived in the areas he visits, Jamail begins to accept the fact that Earth, most likely, is in a hospice situation. Ironically, this allows him to renew his passion for the planet’s wild places, cherishing Earth in a way he has never been able to before.”

Image: Simon and Schuster

7. How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other 

Author: Naomi Klein, Rebecca Stefof

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Year of publication: 2021

ISBN 13: 9781534474529

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “Warmer temperatures. Fires in the Amazon. Superstorms. These are just some of the effects of climate change that we are already experiencing. The good news is that we can all do something about it. A movement is already underway to combat not only the environmental effects of climate change but also to fight for climate justice and make a fair and livable future possible for everyone. And young people are not just part of that movement, they are leading the way. They are showing us that this moment of danger is also a moment of great opportunity—an opportunity to change everything. Full of empowering stories of young leaders all over the world, this information-packed book from award-winning journalist and one of the foremost voices for climate justice, Naomi Klein, offers young readers a comprehensive look at the state of the climate today and how we got here, while also providing the tools they need to join this fight to protect and reshape the planet they will inherit.”

Image: Bookshop.org

8. Living Downstream: A Scientist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

Author: Sandra Steingraber

Publisher: Vintage

Year of publication: 1998

ISBN 13: 9780375700996

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from Bookshop.org): “With this eloquent and impassioned book, biologist and poet Sandra Steingraber shoulders the legacy of Rachel Carson, producing a work about people and land, cancer and the environment, that is as accessible and invaluable as “Silent Spring” –and potentially as historic. In her early twenties, Steingraber was afflicted with cancer, a disease that has afflicted other members of her adoptive family. Writing from the twin perspectives of a survivor and a concerned scientist, she traces the high incidence of cancer and the terrifying concentrations of environmental toxins in her native rural Illinois. She goes on to show similar correlation in other communities, such as Boston and Long Island, and throughout the United States, where cancer rates have risen alarmingly since mid-century. At once a deeply moving personal document and a groundbreaking work of scientific detection, Living Downstream will be a touchstone for generations, reminding us of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the integrity of our air, land, and water.”

No Planet B link to Bookshop
Image: Haymarket Books

9. No Planet B

Author: Edited by Lucy Diavolo

Publisher: Haymarket Books

Year of publication: 2021

ISBN 13:978-1642592597

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “An urgent call for climate justice from Teen Vogue, one of this generation’s leading voices, using an intersectional lens – with critical feminist, indigenous, antiracist and internationalist perspectives. As the political classes watch our world burn, a new movement of young people is rising to meet the challenge of climate catastrophe. This book is a guide, a toolkit, a warning and a cause for hope.”

Image: Simon and Schuster

10. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

Author: Naomi Klein 

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13:9781982129910

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “For more than twenty years, Naomi Klein has been the foremost chronicler of the economic war waged on both people and planet—and an unapologetic champion of a sweeping environmental agenda with justice at its center. In lucid, elegant dispatches from the frontlines of contemporary natural disaster, she pens surging, indispensable essays for a wide public: prescient advisories and dire warnings of what future awaits us if we refuse to act, as well as hopeful glimpses of a far better future. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal gathers for the first time more than a decade of her impassioned writing, and pairs it with new material on the staggeringly high stakes of our immediate political and economic choices.”

Image: Southern Illinois University Press

11. Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland

Author: Jeff Biggers

Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press

Year of publication: 2014

ISBN 13:978-0809333868

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “Set in the ruins of his family’s strip-mined homestead in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, award-winning journalist and historian Jeff Biggers delivers a deeply personal portrait of the overlooked human and environmental costs of our nation’s dirty energy policy. Beginning with the policies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, chronicling the removal of Native Americans and the hidden story of legally sanctioned black slavery in the land of Lincoln, Reckoning at Eagle Creek vividly describes the mining wars for union recognition and workplace safety, and the devastating consequences of industrial strip-mining. At the heart of our national debate over climate change and the crucial transition toward clean energy, Biggers exposes the fallacy of “clean coal” and shatters the marketing myth that southern Illinois represents the “Saudi Arabia of coal.” Reckoning at Eagle Creek is ultimately an exposé of “historicide,” one that traces coal’s harrowing legacy through the great American family saga of sacrifice and resiliency and the extraordinary process of recovering our nation’s memory.”

Image: North Atlantic Books

12. Seed Sovereignty, Food Security: Women in the Vanguard of the Fight Against GMOs and Corporate Agriculture 

Author: Vandana Shiva

Publisher: North Atlantic Books

Year of publication: 2016

ISBN 13:9781623170288

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “In this unique anthology, women from around the world write about the movement to change the current, industrial paradigm of how we grow our food. As seed keepers and food producers, as scientists, activists, and scholars, they are dedicated to renewing a food system that is better aligned with ecological processes as well as human health and global social justice. Seed Sovereignty, Food Security is an argument for just that–a reclaiming of traditional methods of agricultural practice in order to secure a healthy, nourishing future for all of us. Whether tackling the thorny question of GMO safety or criticizing the impact of big agribusiness on traditional communities, these women are in the vanguard of defending the right of people everywhere to practice local, biodiverse, and organic farming as an alternative to industrial agriculture.”

Image: The University Press of Kentucky

13. Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Author: Vandana Shiva

Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky

Year of publication: 2016

ISBN 13: 9780813166551

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds 

Description (from publisher): “In Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, Shiva explores the devastating effects of commercial agriculture and genetic engineering on the food we eat, the farmers who grow it, and the soil that sustains it. This prescient critique and call to action covers some of the most pressing topics of this ongoing dialogue, from the destruction of local food cultures and the privatization of plant life, to unsustainable industrial fish farming and safety concerns about corporately engineered foods. The preeminent agricultural activist and scientist of a generation, Shiva implores the farmers and consumers of the world to make a united stand against the genetically modified crops and untenable farming practices that endanger the seeds and plants that give us life.”

Image: Simon and Schuster

14. The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health – And How We Can Make It Better

Author: Annie Leonard

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Year of publication: 2011

ISBN 13: 9781451610291

Recommended age range:  15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “A classic exposé in company with An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring, The Story of Stuff expands on the celebrated documentary exploring the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the “stuff” we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet…From sneaking into factories and dumps around the world to visiting textile workers in Haiti and children mining coltan for cell phones in the Congo, Leonard, named one of Time magazine’s 100 environmental heroes of 2009, highlights each step of the materials economy and its actual effect on the earth and the people who live near sites like these.”

clink to go to A Terrible Thing to Waste on Bookshop
Image: Hachette Book Group

Image: Hachette Book Group

15. A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind

Author: Harriet A. Washington

Publisher: Hachette Book Group

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13: 9780316509428

Recommended age range:  15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “environmental hazards in staggeringly disproportionate numbers. This systemic onslaught of toxic exposure and institutional negligence causes irreparable physical harm to millions of people across the country-cutting lives tragically short and needlessly burdening our health care system. But these deadly environments create another insidious and often overlooked consequence: robbing communities of color, and America as a whole, of intellectual power. The 1994 publication of The Bell Curve and its controversial thesis catapulted the topic of genetic racial differences in IQ to the forefront of a renewed and heated debate. Now, in A Terrible Thing to Waste, award-winning science writer Harriet A. Washington adds her incisive analysis to the fray, arguing that IQ is a biased and flawed metric, but that it is useful for tracking cognitive damage. She takes apart the spurious notion of intelligence as an inherited trait, using copious data that instead point to a different cause of the reported African American-white IQ gap: environmental racism – a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services. She investigates heavy metals, neurotoxins, deficient prenatal care, bad nutrition, and even pathogens as chief agents influencing intelligence to explain why communities of color are disproportionately affected — and what can be done to remedy this devastating problem.”

Image: Simon and Schuster

16. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

Author: Naomi Klein

Publisher: Simon and Schuster 

Year of publication: 2015

ISBN 13: 9781451697391

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.”

Image: The New Press

17. Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret

Author: Catherine Coleman Flowers

Publisher: The New Press

Year of publication: 2020

ISBN 13: 978-1-62097-713-2

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Catherine Coleman Flowers, a 2020 MacArthur “genius”, grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that’s been called “Bloody Lowndes” because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it’s Ground Zero for a new movement that is also Flowers’s life’s work—a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor, lack an affordable means of disposing cleanly of the waste from their toilets and, as a consequence, live amid filth. Flowers calls this America’s dirty secret. In this “powerful and moving book” (Booklist), she tells the story of systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that foster Third World conditions not just in Alabama, but across America, in Appalachia, Central California, coastal Florida, Alaska, the urban Midwest, and on Native American reservations in the West. In this inspiring story of the evolution of an activist, from country girl to student civil rights organizer to environmental justice champion at Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, Flowers shows how sanitation is becoming too big a problem to ignore as climate change brings sewage to more backyards—not only those of poor minorities.”

Image: Penguin Random House

18. The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed

Author: Robin Broad, John Cavanagh 

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Year of publication: 2021

ISBN 13: 9780807029022

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): The David and Goliath story of ordinary people in El Salvador who rallied together with international allies to prevent a global mining corporation from poisoning the country’s main water source…Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about progress and prosperity, while providing valuable lessons for those fighting against destructive corporations in the United States and across the world.

Image: WorldHunger.org

19. World Hunger: Twelve Myths

Author: Frances Moore Lappe, Peter Rosset, Luis Esperza 

Publisher: Grove Press

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13: 9780802150417

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “At a time of unprecedented wealth, when almost one-half of all Americans own stocks and are able to watch their wealth and economic power grow on the nightly news, it is good to remember that over 800 million people worldwide are passing the same nights unable to feed themselves and their children. A full quarter of other Americans, especially children, have much in common with the world’s hungry, experiencing their own hunger intermittently. Frances Moore Lappe and co-authors Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset in World Hunger: 12 Myths are there to remind us. Remind us of the plight of the world’s hungry, as Frances Moore Lappe has done for over 20 years, and remind us too that there is enough food; that hunger is not necessary; that hunger is a social creation; hungry people a social phenomenon, and consequently one that depends on us and that we can change. While Frances Moore Lappe has been alerting the “baby boom” generation, as it has grown wealthier and older, to the alarming plight of the world’s poor and to the destruction of the environment to which their marginalization has contributed, she, herself, has remained as vibrant and timely as the search for an evening meal is in a poor household. World Hunger: 12 Myths includes snapshot reports from around the world, gathered from research, personal experience and the life situations recounted by the poor, which together create a picture very different from the one we receive nightly on the news, when we receive one at all.”

Image: Penguin Random House

20. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Author: Paul Hawken 

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Year of publication: 2017

ISBN 13: 9780143130444

Recommended age range: 15 – 18 year olds

Description (from publisher): “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.”

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