10 Top Books about Climate Change

Open book with a heart to the left and right on a cloud background

As we all hunker down for winter this year, there’ll be many of us looking to lose ourselves in literature. From romance to fantasy, there’s almost a genre for everything now in the world of fiction. And yes, that even applies to climate themed books! It’s called climate change fiction or cli-fi for those of us who can’t get enough of it - and it’s a wonderful way to learn more about the climate crisis whilst also indulging in a bit of escapism. 

But for those wanting to delve deeper into the issue, non-fiction books can be a better choice. That’s why our friends at Possible Climate Action have pulled together a list of some of the top books on climate change - both fiction and non-fiction. 

The stories we tell about climate change are critical for tackling it, so remember once you’ve read any of these books, make sure you pass them on to a friend or family member once you're done!

  1. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

    Set in the North American Appalachian Mountains, Flight Behaviour follows a restless young mother, Dellarobia, after she discovers a mysterious marvel of nature in the mountains: a fiery mass of monarch butterflies. A scientist comes to town in hope of discovering the reason behind this curious phenomenon and ropes in Dellarobia to help him. A wonderfully evocative story highlighting how climate change intersects with class, the urban/rural divide and what determines whether people engage with the defining issue of our time.

  2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan

    Based on real events, this book tells the inspiring story of 14 year old William Kamkwamba’s plight to save his Malawian village from the worst famine in fifty years. In the face of poverty, political unrest, drought and then a season of floods, William teaches himself about the technology of windmills and electricity. By borrowing books from the small local library and gathering scraps of metal, old bicycle parts and wood, William builds his own windmill. A beautiful story of hope in the face of the impacts from the climate crisis.

  3. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

    Inspired by mythology, Gun Island follows the journey of academic and rare book dealer, Deen, as he attempts to uncover the meaning behind a Bengali legend from his childhood. Deen must question the world around him and his place in it as he becomes entangled in the lives and experiences of the characters he meets along the way. Spanning space and time, Ghosh effectively weaves in the impacts of climate change, from devastating weather events to displacement.

  4. Weather by Jenny Offill

    Written in the present tense and occasionally seeming more like prose than a novel, Weather shows Lizzie Benson’s gradual awakening to the urgency of the climate crisis. A librarian who becomes employed by her former mentor and well-known host of aptly named podcast, Hell and High Water, Lizzie must answer emails from listeners across the political spectrum. All this as Lizzie juggles her roles as wife, mother, daughter and sister to her recovering addict brother.

  5. The Man Who Planted Trees

    More of a short story than a book, the length of The Man Who Planted Trees mustn’t fool you into underestimating it. A beautiful tale of hope, survival and selflessness this story follows a man who discovers a shepherd in Provence in 1910. The man watches the shepherd plant acorns across the valley and he is compelled to come back to visit him 10 years later. The forest is thriving and the shepherd continues his work. The man continues to visit him and act as witness to the unshakeable commitment the shepherd has to nature. The perfect book to read when climate anxiety takes over or you’re simply in need in an elegant dose of hope.

  6. Can we save the planet? by Alice Bell

    Accessible and engaging, Can we save the planet gives an overview of the climate crisis and what we can do to tackle it. As part of The Big Idea series, it also offers insights into related environmental issues like plastic pollution and deforestation. Written by the director of climate charity Possible, this book is perfect for anyone wanting an introduction to climate change or in need of a little climate hope.

  7. This changes everything by Naomi Klein

    One of the defining books of our time, This Changes Everything explores the link between climate change and capitalism. Touching upon everything from human nature to breaking free of fossil fuels, this book expertly walks the fine line between being provocative, realistic and optimistic. 

  8. Losing Earth by Nathanial Rich

    Losing Earth is the tale of what happened in 1979 onwards when the most powerful people in the world learned of the dangers of human-caused climate change. Filled with twists and turns, this book tells the real story of how we missed the greatest opportunity to avert climate change and shows what we can learn from it today. From characters in the oil industry to politicians, climate scientists and campaigners, this journalistic blockbuster gives a fantastic assessment of how we got to where we are today.

  9. Don’t even think about it by George Marshall

    When was the last time you had a conversation about climate change? If it’s difficult to remember then this might be the book for you. Don’t even think about it weaves in psychology with real life events to explain why it’s historically been so difficult for people to talk about climate change. Marshall also includes how best to speak to people about climate change and if you’re feeling brave enough, a summary of the impacts of climate change at the end (not for the faint-hearted).

  10. The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh

    A little different from the others but nonetheless (in my opinion) one of the best non-fiction books about climate change. The critically acclaimed novelist, Amitav Ghosh explores climate change’s relationship with literature before delving into politics and history. He argues the crucial role of fiction in our treatment of the climate crisis and why telling original and compelling stories can inspire the action we need to tackle it.