Summer Reading for Climate Activists
High summer is here, and many of us are taking a break from our schedules, even if it's just for an afternoon. Whether you escape the the beach, the mountains, or your backyard, you'll probably be looking for something to read. So we asked some of our editors to share their favorite books for clean energy activists (or anyone else who wants to look smart while lounging by the pool).
Check out our list, then share your fave summer reads in the comments.
REBUILD THE DREAM by Van Jones -Think of it as a textbook for political change. Especially valuable to activists is Jones's analysis of the Obama campaign and presidency, the Tea Party, and Occupy. He explains what worked, what didn't, and why, using his deceptively simple "Grid" theory.
MAKING GOOD by Billy Parish and Dev Aujla - Billy and Dev start by acknowledging that people who want to change the world still need to make a living, and that they can, without sacrificing their values. The central concept is that almost all our systems, from media to healthcare, are broken. That means there are endless opportunities to find solutions and profit from them.
THE WORLD IS BLUE by Sylvia A. Earle -All climate advocates should understand something about ocean issues, and Sylvia Earle's book is a great place to start. Earle has a lifetime of experience in marine science, and she explains issues like overfishing and ocean acidification in a brilliantly straightforward style.
NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION: A LANGUAGE OF LIFE by Marshall Rosenberg -This book offers some really empowering tools for communicating effectively. In the intro Arun Gandhi writes about physical violence versus passive violence. Passive violence perpetuates physical violence and conflict, and it's carried in unconscious thought and communication patterns. Non-Violent Communication helps with realizing those destructive patterns in our interactions and communicating and listening more constructively.
NO LOGO by Naomi Klein -The classic critique of consumerism is still fiercely relevant over a decade after its original publication. From Publishers Weekly,
...Klein methodically builds an angry and funny case against branding in general and several large North American companies in particular…. Looking around her, Klein finds that the breathless promise of the information age—that it would be a time of consumer choice and interactive communication—has not materialized.
THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi Klein -In this alternative history of Milton Friedman's free-market economics philosophy, Naomi Klein challenges the popular idea of this movement's peaceful global victory. From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, Klein shows how Friedman and his followers have repeatedly harnessed shocks and violence to implement their policies.
SO MUCH PRETTY by Cara Hoffman -Set in a rural community steeped in silence and denial, So Much Pretty explores all parents’ greatest fear, that their child will be hurt. But it also examines a second, equally troubling question: What if my child hurts someone else? The disappearance and murder of nineteen-year-old Wendy White is detailed through the eyes of journalist Stacy Flynn and a host of other richly drawn characters, each with their own secrets and convictions.
CLIMATE ETHICS: ESSENTIAL READINGS by Sephen Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson, Henry Shue, and Rajendra Pachauri - This collection of essays includes some classic texts on global ethics mixed with very very recent and innovative policy proposals.
A NEW CLIMATE FOR THEOLOGY: GOD, THE WORLD, AND GLOBAL WARMING by Sallie McFague - For any Christian readers or those interested in religion generally. A New Climate for Theology paints a new idea of what being human means and what a just and sustainable economy might mean. McFague argues for an alternative economic order and for our relational identity as part of an unfolding universe that expresses divine love and human freedom.
OUR CHOICE by Al Gore - A really accessible intro to all the different energy sources and infrastructure that go into building a renewable energy future. User friendly while still quite wonky.
THE CLIMATE WAR by Eric Pooley - The most comprehensive and in-depth account of the rise and fall of comprehensive climate legislation in 2009-2010. Definitely the must-read book on the subject.
BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo - From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities, Mumbai. In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.
Now it's your turn. Tell us what you're reading this summer in the comments below!