The RYA Planning and Sustainability Team have put together a list of our favourite environmental books and podcasts.
Whether you want to help shape the world or simply learn a bit more about your environmental footprint, this list of books and podcasts on all things sustainability will help get you started!
How Bad are Bananas?:The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee: This is Phil’s new favourite! A decade on from its first publication, this ground-breaking green guide has been fully updated and expanded. Mike Berners-Lee, brother to internet inventor Tim, is an Oxford educated professor of social futures. This book focuses on humanity’s carbon footprint, revealing the effect that everything from Google searches to volcanoes (and, of course, bananas) has on carbon emissions. He arms the reader with clear figures and tools to help us reduce our own carbon footprint and lobby government and businesses. This is serious stuff delivered with a light touch, and never patronising.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein: Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.
No More Rubbish Excuses by Martin Dorey: Green activist Martin Dorey is the founder of #2minutebeachclean, which encourages beachgoers to spend two minutes picking up all the litter they can see. His new book takes this successful approach further, suggesting a host of ideas for making a difference every day, even when you’re busy. The chapters on where our waste goes, the uncluttered guide to what we can recycle and the suggestions for simple product swaps are particular highlights.
Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth: A guide to living life more thoughtfully, less buying, more doing, less wanting and more enjoying. Live Green is a collection detailing 52 changes anyone can make no matter where you live or what you do.
The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson: During lockdown, those of us lucky enough to have some outdoor spacehave been indulging our inner Monty Dons. But did you know that there are ways of gardening that are kinder to our planet than others? This book by bumblebee expert Dave Goulson will inspire you to grow your own wildflower meadow that bees, moths and his beloved earwigs will be thrilled to call home. This guide overflows with passion and Goulson’s lists of his favourite plants for pollinators and birds are particularly handy
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson: Too often sustainability and human rights are thought of as separate issues instead of intersecting ones. Climate Justice, written by former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy, tells stories from all over the world of people who have faced environmental and human rights injustices and then done something about it. A great read for people who like stories of resilience, this book offers hope for community-based change.
The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing Abundance by William McDonough: Upcycle is actually a follow-up to one of the most popular sustainability books, Cradle to Cradle, The Upcycle addresses the next steps we need to take to improve the world we live in by how we create, live, and build. Throughout this book the authors take you on a journey to reimagine a truly “green” world, where instead of approaching sustainability from a mindset of “protecting the planet from humanity” we focus on redesigning the very ways in which we live to activity improve the environment with our human existence.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson: Addresses the real life and scientifically proven impact of pesticides on wildlife, bees, and humans. Silent Spring calls for individuals to question what is allowed by the government to enter into our environment, and in many ways inspired the modern day environmental public health movement.
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline: Whether you are well versed in the social, environmental, and economic issues associated with the fast-fashion industry, or are just beginning to open your eyes to the impact our clothing has on the world, Overdressed is an eye-opening must read that will absolutely change the way you view your clothing.
Top-tip: think about if you need to buy books new in the first place! My new found favourite site is World of Books which is a certified B Corp selling excellent condition second hand copies. And once you’ve finished reading why not do a book swap with a friend of colleague.
A Better Future– if you want to live a more sustainable life without it impacting your life, this podcast is for you. Available on Spotify.
BBC NatureBang– The mystery and astonishing complexity of the natural world. Science meets storytelling with a philosophical twist. Available on BBC Sounds.
Sustainababble– a podcast with a comedic twist about the environment, sustainability, and all the total guff people talk about it the name of saving the planet. Available on Spotify.
Breaking Green Ceilings– spotlights passionate environmentalist we don’t often hear from or hear enough from including those from underrepresented Learn about the journeys of success, failure, challenges overcome and aspirations of our eco-warriors. Available on Spotify.
The Green Alliance Podcast– The latest ideas, debate and insights on the UK environmental policy and politics. Available on Spotify.