Article

5 great
green reads

5 great
green reads

Words: Julia Gorodecky

Photos: 5

Main image: Koekkoek / Connected Archives

You are what you read, right? So feed your mind with our roundup of some of the top titles around on our climate and environment.

The Carbon Almanac: It’s Not Too Late, edited by Seth Godin
Out now from Penguin Business

What happens when a team of 300-plus researchers, writers, thinkers and illustrators from around the world collaborate on a book about the climate? Well, in The Carbon Almanac’s case, you get something quite unexpected. Because instead of a tome full of complex data that overwhelms or page-upon-page of doom-mongering information, this almanac by The Carbon Almanac Network bypasses opinions and statistics to provide established facts, insights, existing solutions and plausible plans for collective action, leaving the reader feeling more knowledgeable and like we actually do have the power to do something.

What’s more, the use of cartoons, quotes and illustrations alongside histories, essays and articles to explain carbon’s impact on everything in our society – from our economy, food system and health to agriculture, energy and extreme weather events – makes it an engaging and fun book. Once you’ve read it, you’ll want to share its contents with others, be it by passing on a copy or having properly-informed chats about what you’ve learned.

For younger readers, The Carbon Almanac has a little sister edition called Generation Carbon: Its Time to Start, filled with facts, experiments and ideas. It’s also available as a free download.

140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth, edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Kostas Stasinopoulos
Out now from Penguin Books

And now for something completely different. No, we’re not referring to the 1971 Monty Python film, we’re referring to an environmental book with a creative twist: a collection of ideas from some of the best artistic minds of our generation. ‘Ideas for what?’ we hear you say… ‘Ideas on how to create a more ecological and equitable future,’ they reply.

The book is part of the Serpentine Gallery’s long-running Back to Earth project, in which 60 artists, scientists, designers and thinkers respond to climate change through art. The content ranges from drawings and poems to thought experiments and DIY instructions to recipes and gardening ideas, from the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Yoko Ono, Olafur Eliasson, David Lynch and Marina Abramović. Whether you rip out the pages or keep the book intact, just be sure to keep an open mind and embrace the ‘completely different’ with eco-loving flair.

Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge by Erica Gies
Out now from Head of Zeus/Bloomsbury 

From Slow Fashion to Slow Food, Slow Living to Slow Travel and all the Slow Movement sectors in between, it’s fair to say we’ve got the whole ‘slowing life’s pace’ down to a tee. But how about Slow Water? How many of us have grasped that concept – or even heard of it? Well if you haven’t, don’t worry, as award-winning science journalist Erica Gies introduces us to it in the pages of this book. 

By taking us on an inspiring and poetic journey through time, around the world and alongside fascinating stories and case studies, Gies addresses a question very few ask: What does water want? Well one thing’s for sure: not to be controlled and contained for our own desires and needs, no matter how hard we try. And it always trumps in the end. Because, as extreme weather conditions and cycles of severe floods and droughts become an increasing part of our daily lives, we have to face the fact that our endeavours to manage water are actually intensifying our problems. It’s time to meet the ‘water detectives’ who are innovating Slow Water solutions and collaborating with this aqueous wonder to help heal our planet. And it’s time to realise that what water wants is for us to relinquish control, let it do its natural thing, and adapt ourselves to serve its demands.

Green Traveller by Richard Hammond
Out now from Pavilion

It’s safe to say that anyone who isn’t aware of the negative impact air travel has on the environment has had their head in the clouds these past few years. And yet, hands up, while we’re all happy to talk the talk, how many of us are prepared to fully clip our wings and give up our holidays abroad in a bid to address the issue?

Well, with Richard Hammond’s Green Traveller, we don’t have to. Because inside, the sustainable travel writer and founder of greentraveller.co.uk guides us eco-tourists through the ins and outs of low-impact escapes. From planning tips (think low-carbon transport, how to pack, and finding hotels with genuine green credentials) through itineraries and guides (on, among others, water sports, wildlife watching, heritage holidays, slow travel and long-distance journeys) to Top 10s (such as best off-grid places to stay, glampsites, citizen science projects, foraging courses, rewilding projects and even railway station restaurants). It also gives you the lowdown on how to be a greener guest yourself. So pack your bamboo toothbrush and set off on that conscious, low-carbon adventure.

Sustainable Kitchen by Sadhbh Moore and Abi Aspen Glencross
Out now from Quarto/White Lion Publishing 

Is it a cookbook? Is it a guide? Is it a how-to? No, it’s actually all of these. And more. Because, with their combined expertise as a foraging/eco-chef/scientist/nutritionist/farmer duo, the founders of The Sustainable Food Story have served up a veritable feast of tips, tricks and step-by-step projects on how to make your shopping, cooking, eating and other kitchen habits (more) ecologically sustainable. There’s info on where best to source your food (from shopping locally to growing your greens to full-on foraging), recipes and food-storage tips that help minimise food waste, DIY projects (think fashioning reusable kitchen roll and making your own eco-cleaners…), ways to get connected with the like-minded community, and more. And best of all? They’re all as easy as pie. Which makes the whole ‘healthy for you, healthy for the planet’ approach even more palatable than ever.

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