Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Nine climate book stocking stuffers » Yale Climate Connections

Books can be expensive, especially for young people on limited budgets. Young people may, nevertheless, want to change the minds or habits of their elders. For these people, or anyone seeking an affordable gift for a sustainable future, Yale Climate Connections has put together this list of nine climate-themed paperbacks — all recent releases, eight priced at under $20.

Three come with a positive YCC review, interview, or book club discussion: “Advocating for the Environment” (review), “Climate Resilience” (interview), and “Not Too Late” (book club discussion). 

And while you’re choosing books for the stockings hanging from the family mantel, consider picking one for your bookshelf. You deserve it!

As always, the descriptions are adapted from copy provided by the publishers. When two dates of publication are provided, the second is for the release of the paperback.

A blue book cover

Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather Your Power and Take Action, by Susan B. Inches (North Atlantic Books 2022, 368 pages, $19.95 paperback)

What can ordinary citizens really do about climate change? A lot! Written by environmental policy expert Susan B. Inches, Advocating for the Environment is an empowering guide to help you enact environmental change. Part I explains how we must learn to think differently. It discusses storytelling, empathy, worldviews, and how effective communication can help us collaborate with others. Part II of the book is all about action: how to use power for good, work with decision-makers, organize events, manage a coalition, communicate with the public, and work with the media. The book also includes case studies and templates to deepen learning. Teachers, students, and community activists will find useful ideas and strategies on every page. 

A beige book cover with colorful text

Climate Resilience: How We Keep Each Other Safe, Care for Our Communities, and Fight Back Against Climate Change by Kylie Flanagan (North Atlantic Books 2023, 256 pages, $19.95 paperback)

In Climate Resilience, climate justice, and resilience strategist Kylie Flanagan invites us to see and act beyond status-quo solutions, Big Tech promises, and everything we’ve been told about saving the planet. Centering the voices of Native Rights activists, queer liberation ecologists, youth climate-justice organizers, Latinx wilderness activists, and others on the front lines, Climate Resilience urges us toward a vision of climate care that invests in place-based, community-led projects. Each section offers practical blueprints for engaging with different aspects of climate-change action. And each includes ideas for readers to apply these strategies in their communities.

a green book cover

Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua (Haymarket Books 2023, 200 pages, $16.96 paperback)

Not Too Late is the book for anyone who is despondent or unsure about climate change and seeking answers. As the contributors to this volume make clear, the future will be decided by whether we act in the present to counter institutional inertia, fossil fuel interests, and political obduracy. These dispatches feature the voices of organizers like Guam-based lawyer and writer Julian Aguon and The Tyranny of Oil author Antonia Juhasz; climate scientists like Dr. Jacquelyn Gill and Dr. Edward Carr; and poets like Marshall Islands activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijner. Guided by Rebecca Solnit’s clear-eyed wisdom, Not Too Late leads readers from climate despair to climate hope.

a green book cover with an illustration of a house

At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth by Madeline Ostrander (Holt Paperbacks 2023, 352 pages, $19.99 paperback)

Once a distant forecast, climate change is now reaching into the familiar, threatening our basic safety and forcing us to reexamine who we are and how we live. In At Home on an Unruly Planet, science journalist Madeline Ostrander reflects on this crisis not as an abstract scientific or political problem but as a palpable force that is now affecting all of us at home. She offers vivid accounts of people fighting to protect places they love from increasingly dangerous circumstances. Pairing deeply reported stories of hard-won optimism with lyrical essays on the strengths we need in an era of crisis, the book is required reading for anyone who wants to make a home in the 21st century.

a book cover with a photo of older adults, smiling

Am I Too Old to Save the Planet? A Boomer’s Guide to Climate Change by Lawrence MacDonald (Changemaker Books 2023, 228 pages, $15.95 paperback)

Think you’ve waited too long to do something about climate change? Think again. Am I Too Old to Save the Planet? A Boomer’s Guide to Climate Action explains how America’s most promising generation allowed climate change to become a planetary emergency―and what to do about it now. A former foreign correspondent and vice president of the World Resources Institute, Lawrence MacDonald shares his journey to becoming a passionate climate activist. Packed with practical advice, his book invites fellow boomers to join the growing global movement to save the planet.

*Editor’s Note: The author of this title wants young people to give it to their grandparents.

a book cover with a patched jacket on it

The Future of the Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 50 Years by Vincent Stanley with Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia 2023, 2008 pages, $22.00 paperback)

Patagonia has been recognized as much for its groundbreaking environmental and social practices as for the quality of its clothes. And then, in an unprecedented action, in 2022, the Chouinard family gave their company away, converting ownership to a simple structure of trusts and nonprofits, so that all the profits from the company can be used to protect our home planet and work to reverse climate chaos. In this exceptionally frank account, Stanley with Chouinard recounts how the company and its culture gained the confidence, by step and misstep, to make its work progressively more responsible, and to ultimately challenge other companies to do the same.

a book cover with an illustration of a tree

The Nature Book: A Novel by Tom Comitta (Coffee House Press 2023, 272 pages, $17.95 paperback)

What does our nature writing say about us, and more urgently, what would it say without us? Tom Comitta investigates these questions and more in The Nature Book, a “literary supercut” that arranges writing about the natural world from three hundred works of fiction into a provocative re-envisioning of the novel. With fiction’s background of flora and fauna brought to the fore, people and their structures disappear, giving center stage to animals, landforms, and weather patterns. The Nature Book challenges the confines of anthropocentrism, traversing mountains, forests, and oceans, to shift our attention toward the complex and interconnected world around us. 

a book cover with neon pink text

The Last Catastrophe: Stories by Allegra Hyde (Penguin Random House 2023, 288 pages, $17.00 paperback)

A vast caravan of RVs roams the United States. A girl grows a unicorn horn, complicating her small-town friendships and big-city ambitions. A young lady on a spaceship bonds with her AI warden while trying to avoid an arranged marriage. In Allegra Hyde’s universe, nothing is as it seems, yet the challenges encountered in these pages mirror those we face in our modern age. Spanning the length of our very solar system, the fifteen stories in this collection explore a myriad potential futures through the concept of “global weirding,” planetary and social disruptions due to climate change. In unexpected and genre-defying ways, this revelatory collection reminds us that our world is precious and that protecting it has the potential to bring us all together.

a book cover with an illustration of a river

The River You Touch by Chris Dombrowski (Milkweed Editions 2022/2023, 336 pages, $18.00 paperback)

“What does a mindful, sustainable inhabitance on this small planet look like in the Anthropocene?” Poet Chris Dombrowski answers this question by listening lovingly to rivers and the land they pulse through in his adopted home of Montana. Transplants from the postindustrial Midwest, he and his partner, Mary, assemble a life based precariously on her income as a schoolteacher, his as a poet and fly-fishing guide. Then children arrive. Moving seamlessly from the quotidian — diapers, the mortgage, a bare bank account — to the metaphysical — time, memory, integrity — Dombrowski illuminates the experience of fatherhood with intimacy and grace. In his children’s sense of wonder, he finds the wisdom essential for the possibility of transformation.

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