Reading lists

Uplifting Earth Day books to inspire hope about the planet’s future

From tree-filled fiction to true stories of resilience and optimistic calls to action, these reads are a gentle antidote to eco-anxiety.

Rachel Deeley
Hopeful environmental reads for Earth Day. Image: Victoria Ford / Penguin

Grappling with the enormity of the climate crisis takes a mental toll. The vast majority (84%) of young people in particular are worried about climate change, with many reporting feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger, and dissatisfaction with government response, according to a 2021 global study by The Lancet.

There’s no shortage of brilliant books penned by scientists, thought leaders and advocates, who capture searing invectives and sound the alarm bells about the environmental destruction caused by humans and the cost of not taking urgent action. But for those already doing that important work, and feeling buried by a sense of helplessness and anxiety, we’ve picked a selection of fiction, nature writing, non-fiction and manifestos to offer at least slight reprieve, with realism balanced with a pinch of hope.

It's Not That Radical by Mikaela Loach (2023) 

In this barnstorming debut, climate activist Mikaela Loach challenges the conventional frameworks of oppression and injustice under which the current climate movement has developed in recent years, such as capitalism, whitewashing and, of course, greenwashing. While unsparing in her bid to dismantle the power structures that be, Loach delivers an accessible and hopeful manifesto for mobilising people and shaping the future of environmental advocacy.

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