Best Climate Activism Books To Read in 2023

Earth Day is fast approaching. In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together a list of books to read about climate change. Last year, we focused on reduction of all kinds – consumption, plastic, waste. We liked the idea of exploring how our individual actions could play a part in the conversation. This year, we take climate action to the next level – tired of the “planet is doomed” framework, this NKM Earth Day cut features literature that recognizes where the possibilities for change lie, and what our own roles in them can be.

mikaela loach it's not that radical book

It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action to Transform Our World

Written by Mikaela Loach

Fresh off the presses, It’s Not That Radical begins by tackling the stigma around the term ‘radical’. Too often, author Mikaela Loach argues, radical is equated with – and dismissed as – extreme. In reality, she explains, radical simply means starting at the root, and this book calls for change that does just that. To understand and dismantle the systems of oppression that foster inequality and exploitation, Loach calls for both personal and collective action. She makes a strong case for the impact that small actions can have when they are part of a larger movement, reinforcing the book’s central message: that creating a more just society is not a radical idea, but instead one based on common sense solutions that require all of us to play our part.

Not too late by rebecca solnit and thelma young lutunatabua book

Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility

Edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua

Not Too Late is a collection of essays seeking to underscore the progress we’ve made on climate change. Make no mistake, this is not a downplay of the devastation that has been wrought. Instead, in the face of truly terrifying climate science, these writings reject the pessimistic ‘nothing to be done’ mentality and make the case for hope. There is no guarantee that everything will be fine, just, as Lutunatabua puts it, “the recognition that there’s spaciousness for action, that the future is uncertain, and that we have the space to step up.” This book is for anyone who needs a reminder that our efforts aren’t futile, that climate action has won victories, and that it can win more.

naomi klein this changes everything book

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Written by Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein’s 2014 book was one of the first to examine the intersection of climate change and capitalism, calling for a fundamental transformation of our economic practices. Arguably the catalyst for the growing awareness of fashion’s destructive social and environmental impacts, This Changes Everything emphasizes the need for collective action to address the root causes of the climate crisis. Reading it nearly a decade after its publication is a bit of a trip: seeing what’s changed and what remains to be done means this book can be used both as a source of knowledge and a yard stick for measuring the progress we’ve made.

Rise and Resist: How to Change the World

Written by Clare Press

Clare Press’s Rise and Resist examines the role that fashion can play in creating positive change. We recently got the chance to chat with the author/podcaster/climate badass about fashion’s recent reconnaissance with activism. Activism, Clare maintains, happens when consumers start to recognize the agency their purchasing decisions afford them. In this book, she proposes a number of ways to go from consumer to fashion activist – empowering readers with the knowledge that our choices, actions, and clothes matter.

the future we choose climate crisis book

The Future We Choose: The stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis

Written by Christiana Figueres & Tom

The central argument of this book, penned by two key architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate, goes like this: the climate crisis is a complex, systemic problem that can be fixed only through collective action – from citizens, corporations, and governments alike. There is still time to temper climate change, but we must act now, and fast.

The book predicts two possible futures: one where we rise to the challenge and create a sustainable and better world for future generations, and one where we don’t. The authors offer a roadmap for the former, which underscores the importance of rethinking the social and economic status quo.  

rebecca burgess fibershed book

Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy

Written by Rebecca Burgess with Courtney White

Rebecca Burgess founded Fibershed in 2010. The project was to create a wardrobe in which everything – fibers, dyes, labor, etc – was sourced within 150 miles. A pioneer of the farm-to-closet movement, Fibershed was an experiment in a textile production system based on economic justice and soil carbon-enhancing processes. The initiative’s success is clearly documented and laid out in Burgess’s book, making it a valuable resource and guide for anyone interested in the opportunities for alternative ways of making.

-Steph Lawson