Climate Change Reads

Climate change is the continuing transformation of the weather and climate on Earth, and the earliest references to this concept date back to Ancient Greece. From the 19th-century origins of the Greenhouse Effect to 20th-century research projects on carbon emissions, climate change has developed into a controversial and politicized issue in the 21st century. We created this study guide collection, from Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert (1986) to David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth (2019), to help you chart the past, present, and future of climate change, including its environmental consequences and recommendations for making positive changes.

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Climate Change, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: ClimateTags Science / Nature, Climate Change, History: U.S., Race / Racism

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Animals, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Publication year 2020Genre Anthology/Varied Collection, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Climate Change, Science / Nature, Gender / Feminism, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 nonfiction book released in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name. This book, by former vice-president Al Gore, presents scientific information about global climate change. He intersperses this information with personal anecdotes that outline the more human and social dimensions of the issue.An Inconvenient Truth begins with an introduction to the basic science of global warming and the greenhouse gases that cause it. The first forty pages... Read An Inconvenient Truth Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Climate Change, Grief / Death, Mental Illness, Science / Nature, American Literature

Publication year 1990Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: FamilyTags Lyric Poem, Arts / Culture, Climate Change

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Climate, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Science / Nature, Philosophy, Climate Change, Natural Disaster, Education, Technology

Publication year 1986Genre Book, NonfictionTags Climate Change

Originally published in 1986, Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner illustrates how precarious the American West’s water supply is. This reality was something few people, including Westerners, realized at the time. The book was listed as one of the Modern Library’s 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the 20th century and was nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award. It was also made into a PBS documentary. There is... Read Cadillac Desert Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Natural World: ClimateTags Politics / Government, History: World, Climate Change

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: ClimateTags History: World, Climate Change

Following his best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), geologist and anthropologist Jared Diamond published a companion book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, in 2006. Where Guns, Germs, and Steel described how various environments around the world helped or hindered human civilization, Collapse explains how environmental abuse ruined many past societies and how it threatens civilizations today. An updated edition, released in 2011 by Penguin Books, is the subject of this... Read Collapse Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, Fantasy, Climate Change

Dark Life (2010) is a dystopian young adult novel by American author Kat Falls. The novel is the first of a two-part series, followed by Rip Tide. Dark Life is set in post-apocalyptic East-Coast America, now ruled by a government called the Commonwealth. Water covers most of the planet’s surface in the wake of climate change and a select group of pioneers now live under the sea. Teenage protagonist Ty Townson uncovers a wide-reaching government... Read Dark Life Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Education, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Philosophy, Science / Nature, Psychology, Sociology, Politics / Government, Health / Medicine, Agriculture, Business / Economics, Class, Climate Change, Social Justice

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Climate, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Creative Nonfiction, Climate Change, Agriculture, History: World

Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

In 2006, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New York Times journalist Elizabeth Kolbert published Field Notes from a Catastrophe, an urgent review of climate change. The book began as a tripartite publication in the New Yorker, for which the political journalist received a National Magazine Award. Kolbert’s investigation begins on Greenland’s west coast, where natives have noticed the shrinking of icebergs for years. In another northerly location, the Alaskan island of Shishmaref is disappearing... Read Field Notes from a Catastrophe Summary


Publication year 1920Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Lyric Poem, Natural Disaster, Relationships, Climate Change

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionTags Business / Economics, Climate Change

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash is a 2012 non-fiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes. Garbology is an analysis of American consumption, trash production, and what happens to everything in our disposable economy after we discard it. Through statistical analysis, interviews, and personal stories, Humes tells the story of our largest export—our trash—and how trash came to be synonymous with American life. Humes divides Garbology into three sections: first, an analysis of... Read Garbology Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Climate, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Identity: RaceTags Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Indian Literature, Climate Change

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (2016) is Pulitzer Prize-winning author, biologist, and environmental advocate Edward O. Wilson’s in-depth look at the planetary threat of mass extinction, known as the Sixth Extinction, taking place at humanity’s own hands. The current rate of extinction is nearly 1,000 times higher than during the pre-human era, and traditional conservation movements will not work fast enough to save the natural world. However, Wilson argues that there is still time... Read Half-Earth Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Grief / Death, Climate Change, Technology

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Science / Nature, Climate Change, Politics / Government, Business / Economics

Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: JoyTags Climate Change

Publication year 2010Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Business / Economics, Science / Nature, Climate Change

Written by historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (2010) is a nonfiction account of how a loose-knit group of scientists—Fred Seitz, Fred Singer, Bill Nierenberg, and Robert Jastrow—with similar political agendas worked to prevent government regulation by creating the appearance of scientific debate on several topics. These topics included smoking (both first- and secondhand hand... Read Merchants of Doubt Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Climate Change

Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: ClimateTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Afrofuturism, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change

Parable of the Sower is a science fiction novel, the first in author Octavia E. Butler’s two-part series. Butler followed her 1993 publication with Parable of the Talents in 1998. The premier book tells the story of Lauren Oya Olamina, a teenage girl of color growing up in a post-apocalyptic society decimated by climate change. As the book begins, she relates her life in a community near Los Angeles in 2024 with a minister father... Read Parable of the Sower Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change, Health / Medicine, Science / Nature, Technology, American Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Birth, Relationships: Mothers, Natural World: ClimateTags Gender / Feminism, Natural Disaster, African American Literature, Climate Change

Salvage the Bones tells the story of the Batiste family in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, in the twelve days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Claude Batiste’s wife, mother of Randall, Skeetah (Jason), Esch and Junior, died a few years ago, right after Junior was born. The kids still live with their father, in an area called the Pit. They are a poor, black family, who mainly survive on what Claude can make by salvaging and then... Read Salvage the Bones Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Politics / Government, Climate Change

Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Identity: Mental HealthTags Inspirational, Science / Nature, History: World, Health / Medicine, Climate Change, Relationships, Sociology

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: TeamsTags Mythology, Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, Arts / Culture, Climate Change, History: European, American Literature

The Battle of the Labyrinth is a fantasy-adventure novel inspired Greek mythology and written in 2008 by Rick Riordan. It is the fourth in the Percy Jackson series.The novel begins with Percy Jackson is at his freshman orientation at Good High School. Rachel Elizabeth Dare helps him fight two empousai, spectres who were disguised as cheerleaders. Percy flees to Camp Half-Blood, but Rachel remains. Percy is reunited with Annabeth, and they learn Grover is in... Read The Battle of the Labyrinth Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Author and journalist Charles Fishman published The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water in 2011. This nonfiction book examines the history and origins of water, the rising concern of water scarcity, and our changed relationship with the substance. Fishman asserts that people generally take water for granted, even though it is crucial to the environment and to society. The book examines how we can repair this dismissive attitude, which Fishman contends... Read The Big Thirst Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Birth, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, British Literature, Climate Change, Depression / Suicide, Grief / Death, Health / Medicine, History: European, Immigration / Refugee, Love / Sexuality, Natural Disaster, Politics / Government

The Children of Men is a dystopian 1992 science fiction novel by P.D. James set in 2021, years after the onset of a mass infertility epidemic. Unless scientists can discover a cure, there will be no more births and the human race will go extinct when the youngest generation dies. This scenario allows James to explore many themes, including existentialism, the meaning of a good life, and the corrupting nature of power. The novel switches... Read The Children of Men Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Climate, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science / Nature, Climate Change, Politics / Government

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: The FutureTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

The Future of Life is a 2002 non-fiction book of popular science by the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and biologist Edward O. Wilson. In the book, Wilson draws on his decades of experience as a biologist of invertebrates, as well as his years spent advocating for conservation causes, to paint a picture of the threat people pose to the world’s biodiversity and to suggest ways that humanity can change course. The book is structured as... Read The Future of Life Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Society: Politics & Government, Natural World: Climate, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Climate, Society: Globalization, Society: Immigration, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Climate Change, Science / Nature, Politics / Government, History: World

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Natural World: Climate, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Climate Change

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Natural World: ClimateTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The FutureTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change

The Peripheral is a 2014 science-fiction novel by William Gibson. Gibson has been writing science fiction works since the 1970s and is considered one of the founding fathers of the cyberpunk genre. His debut novel, Neuromancer, is one of the genre’s foundational texts and is the only novel to win the Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick awards. Since then, Gibson has written several bestselling science-fiction trilogies. The Peripheral is the first novel of The... Read The Peripheral Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Climate Change

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Society: Economics, Society: GlobalizationTags Climate Change, Science / Nature, Food

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Future, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Action / Adventure, Military / War, Climate Change, Relationships, Futurism

Published in 2013,The Testing is the first in a dystopian young adult trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau; it is Charbonneau’s first venture into YA fiction. The Testing is often compared to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games due to its dystopian setting and the similarity of the brutal, life-or-death situations to which each series’ teen protagonists are subjected. The Testing received the Anthony Award for Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel in 2014 and was nominated for several other... Read The Testing Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: WarTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Chinese Literature, Anthropology, Climate Change, Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Technology, History: Asian

Publication year 2019Genre Book, NonfictionTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming is a 2019 non-fiction book by the American journalist David Wallace-Wells. Subtitled Life After Warming, the book explores the projected meteorological, sociological, and psychological consequences of climate change over the course of the 21st century. A New York Times bestseller, The Uninhabitable Earth appeared on numerous best books of the year lists, including those of The Economist, Time, and NPR. It is adapted from Wallace-Wells’s 2017 New York magazine... Read The Uninhabitable Earth Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Depression / Suicide, Climate Change, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality

The Virgin Suicides is a realistic fiction novel written by Jeffrey Eugenides and originally published in 1993. Using death by suicide as its central motif, the novel examines the themes of The Objectification of Women, Romanticizing the Past, and The Effects of Loss. A statement of youth disillusionment, death by suicide becomes The Death of the Future, another of the novel’s themes. The novel was adapted into a critically acclaimed film directed by Sofia Coppola... Read The Virgin Suicides Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change

John Lanchester’s The Wall (2019) is dystopian cli-fi (climate science fiction) novel set in a near-future in which severe weather events and rising sea levels destroyed all the shores in the world and created a refugee crisis in countries of the Global South. The United Kingdom’s response is the ethically-dubious decision to build a Wall and to kill or press into labor people who make it there. Defenders like the protagonist, Joseph Kavanagh, are tasked... Read The Wall Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Climate Change

Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Life/Time: The FutureTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: GlobalizationTags Science / Nature, Climate Change

In This Changes Everything (2014), Naomi Klein explores the issue of climate change from a political perspective and considers why we have failed as yet to respond to the global danger it poses.Klein bases her argument on the scientific consensus that at projected rates of carbon emission we are heading towards an environmental catastrophe that would irreparably damage the natural world, destroy lives, and destabilise human society. She asks the question: considering the stakes are... Read This Changes Everything Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Natural World: Place, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Objects, Life/Time: The FutureTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change, Science / Nature, Finance / Money / Wealth

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Climate Change, Science / Nature, Technology

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Climate Change, Politics / Government, Technology

Publication year 2019Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Food, Life/Time: The FutureTags Science / Nature, Climate Change