conscious consumer consumption eco minimalism environment sustainability

The Books I’ve Read, I’m Reading or Planning to Read on Sustainability and Environment

Many books, blogs, articles, and videos extensively cover environmental and sustainability subjects – so deciding what to commit your time to might be rather tricky at times. I usually allow the books I’m reading to lead my reading choices as I know that one title will reveal the next. Since most of us are stretched for time, I put together a short list of my reads. The sustainability and environmental topics are fast changing, and sometimes what was accurate a year ago might be somewhat outdated a year after, when new data, research, and possibly positive implementation of required changes start producing results. However, I believe that some classics are worth reading regardless of the fast evolution of the subject.

The books I’ve read since 2022:

“The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard, who in 2014 became the executive director of Greenpeace US. The book was an exciting read. It is one of the classics a person interested in environment and sustainability should read. However, it needs updating in some parts as some big changes have occurred since its publication in 2010. I also think it would be more inclusive to expand the book beyond the US-centric focus as the whole world is struggling with the climate breakdown. National borders won’t stop the environmental devastation and degradation.

“Being the Change” by Peter Kalmus – this book is worth reading if you are in search of a deeper dive into environmental subjects with some practical advice in place. However, some of his proposed solutions are not quite feasible for ordinary people.

“Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth” by James Lovelock. I like the concept behind the book and the idea of Gaia. I instantly felt a strong connection to this book. I can confidently say this has been one of my favourite reads so far. But I would recommend re-reading it at least twice.

“The One-Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka and Larry Korn reads like a meditation; it spoke to the part of me that strongly longs for a simpler life. I don’t think I was the core target audience for this title, but I did enjoy it immensely. It should be your must-read if you have a garden or a farm. It is a slow read, just like a meditation practice.

“Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson this book is a must-read and is a testament to one woman’s determination to change the world despite all the power trying to stop her. This book shows hope that we can still change our ways, but we must take decisive actions.  

“The Mushroom at the End of the World” by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is another of my favourite reads so far; the book is as much about mushrooms as it is about community, the “old ways”, living in harmony with nature, reconnecting to nature and ourselves.

“The Day the World Stops Shopping” by J.B. MacKinnon wasn’t really my cup of tea, maybe because I was developing a very different project. But I will put it on my list of books to re-read as it might speak to me more now.

Books I’m reading currently:

“Sustainability in Interior Design” by Sian Moxon, I actually work with Sian on another of her projects, Rewild My Street. She is the go-to person for re-designing urban environments with long-term sustainability in mind.

“Hollywood’s Dirtiest Secrets: The Hidden Environmental Costs of the Movies” by Hunter Vaughan – I have just started reading the book despite buying it in the summer. The title is self-explanatory. But I feel that once I’m done with it, I’ll never look at films the same way despite having worked as a filmmaker since 2004.

“Go Gently” by Bonnie Wright – I got the book as I liked her YouTube videos. It is a very much coffee table book and a good start for beginners in the environmental and sustainability sphere. One can easily dive in and out of it, which is a nice feature.

Planning to Read (already have either audiobooks or physical copies):

“Water in Plain Sight” by Judith D. Schwartz

“The Book of Hope” by Jane Goodall, Douglas Abrams

“A Bigger Picture” by Vanessa Nakate – this book was recommended by one of the panellists of a talk I attended last year. He recommended the read as a fresh voice of the African climate movement.

“Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin

“Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson. I read some bits a couple of years ago when working on the “Another Way…” documentary. My intention is not to become a zero-waste household, as I’m not sure how feasible that would be living in the UK with two kids, but I would definitely like to move my life toward as little waste as possible.

“The Zero Waste Solution” by Paul Connett

Books for Kids:

“Mikolay & Julia Meet the Fairies” by Magda Olchawska. Of course, I need to include my book (a little bit of self-promotion never hurts 😊). I published this book in 2012 before sustainability and environment were such hugely trending words.

Logline: One day, Mikolay and Julia discover a hidden wardrobe in Mikolay’s mummy’s secret office. A fantastic wonder occurs: the wardrobe is full of magical, gentle creatures with wonderful singing voices. Unfortunately, they desperately need Mikolay’s and Julia’s magic skills to help them fight the monster that took over their forest.

“The Lost Words” by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris – the drawings, lost words, and short poems are like one extended meditation. I got the book for my daughter, who loves leafing through the pages, and so do I.

I hope the list is helpful and will help you make informative decisions. Don’t forget to check if any titles are available in your local library. You can also borrow them from friends or get them as audiobook/s.