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  • Claire Kalikman

7 Sustainability Books for Your Reading List This Year


ONE RESOLUTION WE’RE DETERMINED TO STICK TO - READ MORE THIS YEAR. WRITING OUT A LONG LIST WITH ALL THE BOOKS WE WANT TO GET THROUGH IS INSPIRING IN ITSELF. HERE ARE SOME OF THE SUSTAINABILITY-THEMED READS WE RECOMMEND.


1.What Can I Do? My Path from Climate Despair to Action, by Jane Fonda

Watching Jane Fonda rouse the troops for Fire Drill Fridays in that glorious red coat (the last one she’d ever buy, she promised) was one of the highlights of the pre-Covid era, back when taking to the streets didn’t involve worrying about social distancing. Our favourite ageless actrivist writes warmly and instructively in this call-to-arms to stand up to the corrupt powers that be, and demand: climate action now.


2.Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth L. Cline

Published in 2013, Elizabeth Cline was one of the first authors to really pull back the curtain on the environmental and social costs of fast fashion, just as Rachel Carson did for chemicals in the 1960s. This book provides a frank and full picture of how we got to where we are with fast fashion. If you haven’t read it, it’s well worth going back to.


3.Glimpses of Utopia: Real Ideas for a Fairer World, by Jess Scully

Jess Scully, who also happens to by Sydney’s deputy lord mayor, describes her book as a call for optimism. “Humans everywhere are rising up to confront our challenges with creativity, resilience and compassion,” she says. Here, she describes some of their journeys - from care workers reclaiming control in India and Lebanon, to people turning slums into safe havens in Kenya and Bangladesh - to inspire the inner-activist in us all.


4. Rise & Resist, How to Change the World, by Clare Press

Okay, yes, we can’t help but do a bit of self-promotion, but it’s only because we promise this really is an inspiring book. Rise & Resist features stories and actionable tips about how to incorporate activism into your life in small and big ways. Meet the “craftivists” making provocative works out of yarn; the model activists leveraging social media to push for climate action, and the women behind Pussy Hat, Me Too and Fashion Revolution movements, as well as a host of zero waste warriors, off-grid-ers, movement builders and march-organisers.


5. Loved Clothes Last, by Orsola de Castro

We can’t wait for Orsola de Castro’s (of the aforementioned Fashion Revolution) book, Loved Clothes Last, to come out in February. Orsola is an OG sustainability activist and longtime friend of the pod (you can listen to her on Episode 69 here). Her book is all about “mass production and mass consumption, waste, the exploitation of workers and engaging thoroughly with modern technology.” Full book review, coming soon.


6. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a botanist of Potawatomi heritage and this beautiful, essential book - subtitled “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” - is a gamechanger that stays with you long after you’ve turned the final page. One Amazon reviewer sums it up perfectly: “An astonishing book of almost bottomless wisdom, heart and soul. It is a Bible for our future if we we are smart enough to pay attention.”


7. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg

We remain endlessly inspired by Greta. Although she famously stopped going to school because: “Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more, when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts within the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of that same school system clearly mean nothing to our politicians and our society?" - she offers an education-a-plenty on courage. This is a quick, enthralling read to round out your list and get you motivated to action.

By Claire Kalikman.

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