6 Books To Help You Understand Climate Change & Live More Sustainably

Monday is Earth Day, the annual spring holiday that reminds us — or should remind us — to be nicer to the environment. With all the climate change-related doom and gloom looming on the horizon, I've got six books to read for Earth Day this year, because saving the planet is more important now than ever.

We are fast approaching the 50th annual Earth Day. The holiday has been celebrated every April 22 since 1970, when it preempted the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Today, according to the Earth Day website, "more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world." That's a lot of celebrants, but unfortunately, celebrating Earth Day and taking action to stop climate change are two different things.

In October 2018, the United Nations released a climate change report that got a lot of people talking. Authored by nearly 100 researchers from 40 countries around the world, the report predicts that the world will experience major food shortages, wildfires, and other manmade disasters, as soon as 2040, if politicians do not take action to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible.

Although the vast majority of the world's carbon problem is linked to big business and industry, there's no reason to feel that you, personally, cannot live more sustainably and push for change. The six Earth Day reads on the list below will help inspire and educate you, so that you can do what's best for both you and the planet.

'Here: Poems for the Planet,' edited by Elizabeth J. Coleman

Edited by The Fifth Generation author Elizabeth J. Coleman, this collection contains environmentally inspired poems from Natalie Diaz, Kimiko Hahn, Mary Oliver, and others.

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'Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash' by Shia Su

If, like me, you want to be one of those people who can fit all of their trash in a single Mason jar, Shia Su's Zero Waste is the perfect Earth Day read for you.

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'How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy' by Jenny Odell

Living a greener life is made infinitely more difficult by media messages to spend, spend, spend. Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing is a great guide to deprogramming yourself from those urges, so that you can spend more time doing what matters.

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'The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming' by David Wallace-Wells

Billed as a "travelogue of our near future," The Uninhabitable Earth grimly examines the ways in which our interconnected, global lives will change over the next several decades if politicians allow carbon emissions to continue unchecked.

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'Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life' by Jen Chillingsworth

If you're looking for an all-around guide to greener living, check out Jen Chillingsworth's Live Green, which contains one tip you can use to reduce your carbon footprint each week for the next year.

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'Flight Behavior' by Barbara Kingsolver

Set in Tennessee, The Poisonwood Bible author Barbara Kingsolver's environmentally conscious novel centers on a young woman named Dellarobia, whose life is changed forever when she discovers a swarm of orange butterflies, dislodged from their usual migration pattern, and transplanted into a valley near her home.

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