Nine books that can (help) save the planet

Laudato Si books

It still amazes me that there has not been more discussion of climate change in the media in the United States, nor have the presidential candidates said much. But we seem, finally, to have turned a corner; more people are paying attention.

Recently, stories have been published about Exxon’s alleged campaign of climate change disinformation and denial, while another industry leader has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. This week’s Hurricane Patricia was the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, while climate scientists expect 2015 to be the hottest year on record. I’ve a son living temporarily in southern California, and I just read that mosquitos carrying dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever have arrived. Scientists believe they are rapidly reproducing in part because of the drought.

Countries around the world are preparing for the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris November 30 – December 11. There will be climate marches in major cities around the world on November 28 and 29 and a Mass Mobilization and Civil Disobedience Action in Paris on December 12.

When Pope Francis visited the United States in September, he spoke to Congress, the United Nations, and other groups about the need for action on climate change, framing it as the greatest moral issue of our time. His climate change encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, calls for the world to adopt an integrated ecology that combines eco-justice, which understands the earth has limits, with social justice, which recognizes that the poor are the hardest hit by the ravages of climate change.

The Pope calls for “a revolution of tenderness, a revolution of the heart” in regards to the earth and the earth’s poor.

The Huffington Post article at this link is a brief and excellent introduction to the concept of integral ecology. The author of the article, a former NASA researcher, says: “The fates of all peoples are linked, and they are linked ultimately to the fate of the earth. What befalls the earth befalls us all.”

Here is a link to the Buddhist perspective on climate change: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change

If you will be following the UN Conference on Climate Change and would like to do some reading beforehand, here are eight more of my favorite fiction and nonfiction titles that are relevant:

Arcadia book coverArcadia, by Lauren Goff

Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

The Collapse of Western Civilization, by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway (See my next blog post about this fascinating fictitious “report,” written in 2393 from the Second People’s Republic of China, chronicling reasons for the collapse of western culture.)

This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Great Disruption, by Paul Gilding

The End of Nature, by Bill McKibben

The Only Kayak, by Kim Heacox

And if you are an earth and nature lover, you absolutely must acquaint yourselves with these writers if you haven’t already:

Wendell Berry (essays and poetry); Mary Oliver (poetry); Barry Lopez (See “The Case for Going Uncivilized.”)

This Changes Everything book cover

Pope Francis spoke with great passion and love about families during his visit to the US. There are many parallels between our nuclear families and the family composed of all creatures on mother earth, aren’t there?

Are you planning to participate in any climate change events before or during the UN Climate Change Conference? Do you belong to a climate change group? If you’ve read other good books about the topic, please let us know in the comments.

If you believe we need to act to prevent disastrous climate change, please share this post on your favorite social media.


10 thoughts on “Nine books that can (help) save the planet”

  1. Having just read The Sixth Extinction, I really enjoyed this post! It definitely convinced me that you’re right – it’s crazy we’re not talking about climate change more than we are.

  2. Hi Val,

    I’m pleased to say to say my book group has read The Sixth Extinction (my choice) and is currently reading This Changes Everything. We all try to do our best to leave a small footprint, but sometimes the issues seem overwhelming.

    1. Wow, that’s great your book group is doing this. I found Sixth Extinction incredibly depressing to get through. I try to keep in mind that if we all take part in a mass social movement, maybe that can make the larger forces – political, corporate – who have the power, see the light and marshall what it will take. You might want to take a look at Joanna Macy’s Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy. (I haven’t read it, though.) Be sure to see my next blog post about a very short book that would make a great book club read.


    ________________________________ Da: Books Can Save A Life Inviato: domenica 25 ottobre 2015 04.19 A: Oggetto: [New post] Nine books that can (help) save the planet

    Valorie Grace Hallinan posted: ” It still amazes me that there has not been more discussion of climate change in the media in the United States. But we seem, finally, to have turned a corner; more people are paying attention. Recently, stories have been published about E”

  4. Great post, Valerie! I took the opportunity to have a look at a couple of your other reviews/posts that you linked to. I love this environmental book project you have going here (whether intentional or not). There are so many books out there about this stuff that it’s nice to get some recommendations that have been read and liked by other bloggers. I have bumped several of these up higher on my to-read list!

    1. Thanks, Naomi. I don’t think I’ve quite found my audience yet with my blog. It’s so great to know someone else feels this is all so important. Yes, the environmental slant is intentional and is a prominent theme in the blog – as I read and began to write about these books I discovered how much I cared about this.

      1. My husband and I have read quite a bit on environmental issues, but find that we need to take breaks from it. It can become depressing and frustrating, even though so important. I do like to keep my toes in it, though.

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