10 Best Books On Climate Change – Fiction & Non-Fiction

The Climate emergency is urging us to act unanimously and immediately. If you are unsure where to start, how about starting by reading the best books on climate change mentioned in this blog.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that climate anxiety has kicked into our minds by now given the alarming pace at which climate is changing and global warming is set to achieving its zenith point. Several plant and animal species are already on the brink of extinction. Every other day climate change catastrophes are being reported from some corner of the world. Climate strikes by youth activists are gaining the limelight to pressurize world governments, G7 economies, and major business conglomerates into serious action to reduce carbon emissions.

A famous quote from the Hollywood movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” floats to the mind at this juncture – “Only at the precipice, we change.”

Even after several attempts to educate us at the individual and institutional level about climate change, the message has still not penetrated deeper into every consciousness present on the globe in this Anthropocene epoch. The reason for this lies in the inability of news and environmental reports to reach the masses in a relatable and fathomable manner.

Here comes the importance of books and cli-fi novels to help people envision the gravity of the situation. Though climate activists and scientists have been creating awareness about climate change for over a century, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to say that there are still some understanding gaps that need addressing. Thus, in this post, we would look at the books to read on climate change from both the fiction and non-fiction categories.

5 best books on climate change – Fiction

Fiction helps to articulate facts in a relatable and comprehensible manner. A message portrayed through poems and poignant lines from a novel’s character can evoke our emotions that can in turn compel us into serious action. Here are the top five books about climate change in the category of fiction.

1.   Clade by James Bradley

Published On: 28 January 2015

Publisher: Titan Books & Penguin eBooks

Kindle Price: $7.99

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Clade-James-Bradley/dp/1543624308

Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

best books on climate change
Image Credit: Penguin.com

James Bradley, the celebrated author of The Resurrectionist, Paper Nautilus, and many more books, portrays a family’s struggle amid climate breakdown. While, Adam Leith, a climatologist is in Antarctica marking the passage of the solstice, his wife Ellie anxiously awaits the results of IVF treatment back at home. Later Ellie will also turn into an apiarist.

The author has based his near-future apocalyptic predictions upon scientific facts. In the backdrop of apocalyptic storms, civil unrest, uncontrollable wildfires, and mass fish and bird deaths, the book delivers one message aptly and that is what lies in the aftermath of our reckless attitude towards Earth’s climate.

2.   Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Published On: February 2014

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Kindle Price: Available with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Annihilation-Novel-Southern-Reach-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EGJ32A6

Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

best books on climate change
  Image Credit: Goodreads

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer comprises the books Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. Annihilation is the first book of the series and is described by reviewers and readers as “weird” fiction. The uncanniness of Area X will seep into you as you go through the plot and it is this feeling that will keep you hooked to the book.

As a reader, you become part of the twelfth expedition team’s experiences.  An all-women team consisting of a surveyor, an anthropologist, a psychologist & de-facto team leader, and a biologist cum the narrator visit the Area X which is segregated from the rest of the world. Nature has reclaimed its throne inside Area X, eliminating humankind’s footprints.

Annihilation has been adapted into a Netflix movie by Paramount Pictures starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac and  was released on February 23, 2018. The novel has also won a few accolades like the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel and more.

3.   The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

Published On: 2013

Publisher: Giramondo Publishing

Kindle Price: $12.99

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Swan-Book-Alexis-Wright/dp/1922146412

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

best books on climate change
Image Credit: Simon & Schuster

Critically acclaimed and nominated for the Miles Franklin Award, The Swan Book is a story of a young aboriginal girl in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world. Described as “astonishingly inventive” and unconventional, this book takes you through the journey of this young girl who is guided by black swans.

Set in the future where climate change has taken its toll on human civilization, this book is undoubtedly one of the good books on climate change because it makes you contemplate life in an eco dystopian era. In a satirical way, the author also celebrates the ability of indigenous people to coexist with nature as opposed to the modern world that is in the habit of making a living by exploiting nature.

4.   Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Published On: 6 November 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins

Kindle Price: $9.90

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Behavior-Novel-Barbara-Kingsolver-ebook/dp/B007HBY89E

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit: Five Books

Flight Behaviour featured as New York Times “Bestseller” and USA Today & the Washington Post declared it to be the “Best Book of the Year.”

All forms of animal species interact with nature more intimately than humans and therefore they are the first to perceive even the subtle changes in nature before we do.

One such story is depicted in the novel Flight Behaviour where the protagonist of the story, a bored housewife discovers millions of monarch butterflies nesting in the valley behind her home and this event itself triggers a warning of severe climate change and species extinction on a global scale.

5.   The Wall by John Lanchester

Published On: 15 January 2019

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Kindle Price: $9.30

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Wall-John-Lanchester/dp/0571298737

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit: Goodreads

Acclaimed British author John Lanchester’s dystopian novel – The Wall depicts the story of Joseph Kavanagh, a new defender of a section of the wall that has been raised on the British shoreline for two purposes – one to keep the rising sea waters away and another to keep the refugees at bay.

This novel has made it to this list of top books on climate change because it draws our attention to the immigrant crisis that would be inevitable in the near future when the global climate collapses.

5 best books on climate change – Non-Fiction

If you are the kind of reader that wants to straightaway cut to the chase then here are the best five non-fiction climate change books for you.

1.   Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

Published On: 9 February 2021

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Kindle Price: $10.99

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Under-White-Sky-Nature-Future/dp/1847925456

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit: Amazon

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Elizabeth Kolbert traveled across the globe to document how scientists, biologists, physicists, and conservationists are making an earnest effort to save our planet and its natural elements.

She recounts her meeting with biologists who are attempting to preserve the rarest fish on earth. She also recalls meeting with engineers in Iceland who are converting carbon emissions into stone and marine researchers in Australia who are busy developing a super coral that can sustain global warming. In her book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, she is seen lauding physicists who are planning to shoot tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to curb global warming.

Thus, this book provides insight on how humanity is gearing into fight back against human actions that have led to the current state of ecological imbalance.

2.   How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates

Published On: 16 February 2021

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Kindle Price: $13.99

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/How-Avoid-Climate-Disaster-Breakthroughs/dp/B082QYFLDR

Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit: Amazon

Well, the next author needs no introduction. Bill Gates is known for his philanthropic activities and has been an avid advocate of preserving nature and preventing climate change. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been funding global health initiatives, promoting social justice, and funding research for innovating technology to reduce GHGs.

Bill Gates’ book on climate change, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, focuses on the need for hastened efforts to achieve net-zero. Thus, the five key takeaways from his book include sharing insight on poor economies being more susceptible to the aftermaths of climate change, how the development of cutting-edge green technology and clean energy can save the day, the role of governments in promoting green living, how change is the only constant thing in the world, and how awareness needs to be created at an individual level.

3.   Our House Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet by Jeanette Winter

Published On: 24 September 2019

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Kindle Price: $4.03

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Our-House-Fire-Thunbergs-Planet-ebook/dp/B07WW9YCM4

Formats: Hardcover, Kindle

Image Credit:  Amazon

Greta Thunberg emerged as the face of youth activism regarding climate change in recent years and has garnered the attention of global political leaders and news reporting agencies.

This book chronicles her journey from a mere teenage student who learns about climate change in her classroom to becoming a youth activist urging world governments to take the necessary steps to save Earth for the future generation. The book targets young children encouraging them to save the future of our home planet.

4.   Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security by Todd Miller

Published On: 21 August 2017

Publisher: City Lights Books

Kindle Price: $17.42

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Storming-Wall-Migration-Homeland-Security/dp/1713601958

Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit:  Amazon

Climate destabilization is bringing several existential crises and along with it one potentential problem that is already knocking on the doors of stable economies – the refugee crisis.

In this book, Miller documents his globetrotting observations about humans displaced already due to climate catastrophes with no other place to go as nations like the United States have increased border militarization to prevent an influx of illegal refugees. As per the new Groundswell report, by 2050, there would be more than 216 million climate migrants who would be in catastrophic situations.

5.   Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by McKenzie Funk

Published On: 23 January 2014

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Kindle Price: $6.32

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Windfall-Booming-Business-Global-Warming/dp/1594204012

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Image Credit: Amazon

Opportunistic entrepreneurs from around the world are devising ways to make profits out of the three key problems of climate change, and they are – melt, droughts, and floods. The author of Windfall spent six years investigating the matter to unravel the highly lucrative side of global warming for selective businesses.

Funk has traveled to multiple nations and the front lines most susceptible to climate catastrophes to gather insight on how the melt will expose new mineral-rich parts of the Arctic and droughts will raise global food prices. Besides this, Dutch architects are seeing new opportunities in building floating cities for deluge-prone areas and American scientists are patenting newly designed hurricane defenses.

Conclusive Note

Even though geologists, climate activists, and scientists have been warning everyone about the consequences of heavy industrialization, unbalanced human activities, deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuels, the world failed to act on it soon.

However, the IPCC’s special report published in 2018 on the impact of global warming rising 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial era has pushed everyone to the edge of their seats.

Earlier, we were even lacking the existence of good literature on this matter. Only over the last two decades, can it be said that we have some books to read on climate change in both the fiction and non-fiction categories. Hopefully, you would like our recommendations and would enjoy coming back to our blog for reading more interesting articles.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.