Hope for the Planet

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

We could all use a little hope to counter the daily drumbeat of doom. These books describe the efforts, inventions, and policy changes aimed at saving the planet, and suggest what you, too, can do.

  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

    2021 by Gates, Bill

    Bill Gates shares what he's learned in more than a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations, setting out a vision for how the world can build the tools it needs to get to zero greenhouse gas emissions. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Towards a Greener Future

    2015 by Boyd, David R.

    A morale booster, Boyd chronicles 50 years of successes on environmental issues and ongoing progress on others. He offers inspiration for action and maintains that a greener future is within our grasp. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us

    2014 by Ackerman, Diane

    Ackerman's literary approach to the Anthropocene (Age of Man) is a paean to ingenuity, to the power of science, technology, and engineering to actualize the unthinkable. This is an inspirational, less scientific read. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

    2021 by Mann, Michael E.

    Mann outlines a plan for forcing our governments and corporations to wake up and make real change, including a common-sense, attainable approach to carbon pricing and a revision of the well-intentioned but flawed currently proposed Green New Deal. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Blessing the Hands That Feed Us

    2014 by Robin, Vicki

    What does eating locally produced food have to do with the climate crisis? If you're eating local, you're supporting small farms, which, in turn, support the earth as mega-farms do not. You're eating less processed food, reducing fuel costs, repairing depleted soil, reducing waste, and building community--all good things. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World

    2016 by Schwartz, Judith D.

    Schwartz looks at how diverse groups of people across the globe are working to align the land with the water cycle in an era when water scarcity is a widening problem. Permaculture Research Institute, Holistic Management International, small farmers, and creative innovators are reviving the health of the soil, aiding the renewal of ecosystems, and generating more water in arid places. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow

    2019 by Goldstein, Joshua S.

    This is a ray of light in the climate change debate. It is one of the first books to offer a proven, fast, inexpensive, and practical way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic climate change. Sweden, France, and Ontario, Canada, are leading the way. Recommended by Mary.

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  • All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis


    The U.N. estimates 80% of those who have been displaced by climate change are women. As such, women are uniquely poised on the front lines of the climate-change battle and are using their voices to call for action. This anthology is a collection of the diverse voices of these women, asking critical questions and providing invaluable insight and solutions, leading the way toward the possibility of a life-giving future. Recommended by Mary.

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  • An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

    2017 by Gore, Al

    Accessible, hugely informative, and full of graphs and photos, this is Gore's follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth. Everywhere he goes, Gore encounters people hungry to engage in the struggle for the future of civilization and this, he says, gives him hope. The book contains detailed instructions for getting involved politically and building a community of support. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Getting to Green: Saving Nature

    2016 by Rich, Frederic C.

    When this book was published in April 2016, Rich believed conservatives and liberals could--and simply had to--find a "center green" solution to the perils of climate change. As Senator Angus King said, "Regardless of your place on the political spectrum . . . this book reminds us that the stewardship of nature is an obligation shared by all Americans." Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Outsmart Waste: The Modern Idea of Garbage and How to Think Our Way out of It

    2014 by Szaky, Tom

    Upcycling and EPR (Extended Product Responsibility) programs are two of TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky's ideas for eliminating waste. And what can individuals do? Among other things, vote! Vote for candidates who want to outsmart waste. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World: Combining Principles and Profit to Create the World We Want

    2016 by Levinson, Jay Conrad

    A business book that gives dozens of examples of businesses that are having a positive impact on problems related to hunger, poverty, war, and climate catastrophes, while also making a profit. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

    2008 by Jones, Van

    By examining case studies of companies' green initiatives and their effects on marketing and consumers, Jones demonstrates how going green can be a win-win for both the bottom line and the environment. This is a forward-thinking and far-reaching work that considers concrete ways to improve the environment. Action items and a resource list at the end of the book provide ways for individuals to get involved. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Eyes Wide Open: Going behind the Environmental Headlines

    2014 by Fleischman, Paul

    In this call to action, Fleischman gives readers a toolbox of skills for deciphering the vested interests that guide decisions made by those in power, media and PR distortions, and both real and shadow solutions. (Publishers Weekly) There's a ton of information in this book, but it's highly readable, with photos, graphs, and other visuals to open eyes and inspire. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril

    2014 by Beinecke, Frances

    Written by one of the few women to ever lead a national environmental organization--the Natural Resources Defense Council--this is a story of solutions, illuminating the path forward to the kind of world we want to leave our children. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change

    2019 by Klare, Michael T.

    The armed services are witness to climate-triggered conflicts and disasters worldwide, and the climate crisis is now considered the top threat to national security. This has spurred a commitment to renewable energy with net-zero bases, the navy's Great Green Fleet, and more. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

    2019 by Foer, Jonathan Safran

    Switching to a vegan diet is the most impactful thing that individuals can do to combat climate change. Foer provides the science to back this up. He also acknowledges that changing one's diet isn't easy and urges meat eaters to at least not eat meat before dinner. I say go all the way vegan! Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future

    2018 by Reed, Sue

    Reed offers practical steps anyone can take to beautify any landscape or garden while helping protect the planet and the species that call it home. Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet

    2014 by Ohlson, Kristin

    The Soil Will Save Us outlines an impassioned case for turning atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon to reverse global warming, providing a scientific method for restoring soil for a variety of ecological benefits. Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Greenway Imperative: Connecting Communities and Landscapes for a Sustainable Future

    2020 by Flink, Charles A.

    Showing trailblazing greenway projects from vision to reality in this eye-opening journey through some of America's most innovative landscape architecture projects, Charles Flink shows why we urgently need greenways. Recommended by Chris.

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  • 150 Best New Eco Home Ideas

    2017 by Zamora Mola, Francesc

    This book covers the diversity of current trends in sustainable home design and is the perfect resource for designers and architects. It's also an inspirational sourcebook for all homeowners interested in creating homes that cause only a fraction of the environmental impact of those created using conventional building methods. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home

    2020 by Watkins, Julia

    For every area of your household, Watkins shows you how to eliminate wasteful packaging, harmful ingredients, and disposable items. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life

    2019 by Chillingsworth, Jen

    In this timely and motivational guide, author Julia Watkins shares rituals, recipes, and projects for living simply and sustainably at home. Recommended by Chris.

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