It’s officially Earth Month, which means it’s a great time to pick up some new books about climate and having conversations about preserving our planet for the next generation — whether you’re a hardcore environmentalist or just a compassionate parent and citizen.

Young people in my generation are increasingly experiencing intense climate anxiety amidst scary headlines and social media videos. However, as with most things, I’ve found that knowledge is power, and turning to climate-focused books has been incredibly helpful. Not just for myself, as a recent college grad, but for my teen sister and my mom, when we talk about these feelings together.

So I’ve rounded up some great non-fiction Earth Month and grouped them in categories depending on the types of themes you and your kids may be looking to discuss. Below, you’ll find:

  • Earth Month: 3 Essential Reads
  • Climate Optimism and Inspiring Stories
  • Solution-Oriented Reading


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We’ve included links so you can find these books at the store that works for you, including the Cool Mom Picks shop at, supporting independent bookstores. You can also download for Kindle or borrow books from your local library. 

Related: Spark a love for our planet with these 13 enchanting Earth Day books for kids

10 books about climate to educate and inspire us to take good care of the earth | Cool Mom Picks


10 Essential Non-Fiction Books About Climate, Sustainability, and Protecting Our Planet

It means the world to me when my mom shows interest in my passions and interests, and books have been such a valuable vessel in exploring climate-related themes with her. So be it to orient yourself a bit more on the climate issues that matter to your kids, and/or to read alongside them, these books are a great place to start!

And of course, the more we learn about our shared planet, the more inspiring we get to make changes to live more sustainably. From creating a more sustainable kitchen to learning about things you didn’t know you could recycle, to simply getting outdoors more, there’s an avenue for everyone no matter where you are in your sustainability journey.

But it all starts with knowledge. I really hope these books help.

Non-Fiction Books About Climate: 3 Essential Reads

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson: Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

If you’re the kind of person who loves learning the history behind movements, then you’ll probably find Silent Spring fascinating. Credited by many as the exposé that marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson’s book remains essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of our planet.

Carson warns against the indiscriminate use of chemicals, specifically DDT, illustrating how they disrupt delicate ecological balances and threaten biodiversity. The groundbreaking novel led to increased public awareness, the formation of the EPA in 1970, and the eventual banning of DDT in 1972. Her work is a timeless call to action for readers, environmentalists, and policymakers, to help us all reconsider humanity’s relationship with nature so we can advocate for sustainable change.

It’s also just a really interesting read, making it top of my list of must-read books about climate.

Cradle to Cradle: Re-Making the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart | Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Things We Make by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

For those of you who visit a brand’s website and actually click on the “how it’s made,” page, this is the book for you. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Things We Make by William McDonough and Michael Braungart is one of the most transformative bodies of work to help shift manufacturing to be more environment-friendly. If know the manifesto, “reduce, reuse, recycle,” well surprise –,this book actually flips that idea on its head.

Cradle to Cradle is referenced often in college classes on sustainability, so it would be great to recommend to a high school student who’s thinking about a future in environmental studies, or about to head to college and is interested in the field.

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Well | Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells (2019)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

A few months ago, my Dad approached me and, knowing how passionate I am about climate change, very sweetly proposed we have a “climate book club” together. (Editor’s note: What a cool dad!)  I’ll admit, I chose a hard-hitting title to kick off our book club — The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells isn’t for the faint of heart.

With frankly terrifying statistics and a less-than-optimistic prognosis, it’s a read you’ll likely need few breaks from. This is notably not the environmental book you turn to for solutions or messages of climate optimism, like the titles below — but rather for us to understand worst-case scenarios, should business as usual continue.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an extremely powerful book about climate, and may change the way you see a lot of things.


Non-Fiction Books About Climate: Optimism and Inspiring Stories

Climate Optimism by Zahra Biabani: Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World by Zahra Biabani (2023)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

If you did decide to take on The Uninhabitable Earth, I am sure you’ll find that Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World by climate activist, influencer, and CEO, Zahra Biabani, will be a welcome breath of fresh air. Full disclaimer: She’s also a friend of mine, so I am particularly proud to be able to recommend it.

This comprehensive book about climate and promising climate solutions pulls together advice to change the way we all think and feel about climate change — including two years’ worth of good news from Biabani’s “Weekly Earth Wins” social media series.

It’s peppered with interviews of inspiring activists working on important environmental projects too, making it a read that left me feeling refreshed, excited for solutions, and — delivering nicely on the title — more optimistic about the future of our climate.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis | Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson (2021)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

All We Can Save, edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson, is the perfect read for everyone who believes the voices and perspectives of women and girls are vital in protecting our planet and leading us toward a more sustainable future. (Cough cough, hopefully everyone reading this post!)

I’ve followed Johnson’s work for ages now on social media @ayanaeliza and through her podcast How to Save a Planet, so I was super excited to discover her book. it’s the author’s response to the renaissance happening in the climate movement towards leadership that is more “characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration.”

Beautifully intermixing essays with poetry and art, Johnson and Wilkinson highlight the expertise and insights of scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, and more. It’s inspiring, thought-provoking, and a rich read.

Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia founder Yvon Choinard: Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard(2016)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

For decades, Yvon Chouinard, the ex-billionaire, philanthropist, environmentalist, founder, and former CEO of Patagonia, has championed and paved the way for both corporate and consumer activism; one where businesses can “do well by doing good” and where consumers feel good about what they put on their back.

If you’re someone who has multiple Patagonia jackets, hoodies, and hats that have served you well throughout the years, then Chouinard’s book, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman will make you feel extra proud to sport that logo on your chest.

The book is an inspiring blend of memoir and business manifesto; his authentic passion for the outdoors and his drive to do and lead with purpose are palpable. Whether you’re a nature-lover, Patagonia brand enthusiast, aspiring entrepreneur, or simply passionate about corporate responsibility, the book offers invaluable lessons on leadership, innovation, and the pursuit of building a meaningful business — and most importantly, building a meaningful life. It’s a wonderful read all around.

Non-Fiction Books About Climate: Solution-Oriented Reading

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates:Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates (2020)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

Bill Gates has been a prominent climate action advocate for decades, and his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need is a terrific sustainability read if you’re solution-oriented.

The book presents clear, accessible, and comprehensive pathways for the world to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions and avoid climate catastrophe, drawing solutions from experts across science, tech, finance, and business.  Gates illuminates the imminent issues we are facing, as well as the tech innovations, business opportunities, and government policies that can address them while benefitting us all in multiple ways.

You’ll come away with a stronger understanding of both the problems and solutions, which I find ultimately empowering and motivating. Such an important reminder that we all can play a role in holding decision-makers and businesses accountable for our future on this planet.

The Intersectional Environmentalist | Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet by Leah Thomas (2022)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

Written by the 2022 TIME100 Next honoree, activist, and environmentalist, Leah Thomas, The Intersectional Environmentalist expands on the idea of “Intersectional Environmentalism.” a phrase Thomas coined in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. Her phrase spurred a movement, an organization, and now this book, which explores the intersection and linkages between environmentalism, racism, and privilege.

Thomas lifts the veil on the disproportionate ways Black, Indigenous, and BIPOC individuals are negatively impacted by environmental injustices, and argues that climate action is intertwined with civil and racial justice. She addresses some complex, long-standing issues, all while pointing to the power of intersectional youth activism as a movement that will define a generation.

I was in college when Thomas began speaking on the subject and remember watching her star rise as she published articles, gave interviews, and spoke on virtual stages for dozens of major platforms and organizations. She continues to inspire me as a young woman who wants to make a difference in this world — something my own mom has encouraged me to do my entire life.

She might just inspire you and your kids too.

It's Not That Radical by Mikaela Loach: Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

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

If you were to ask your child if they’ve ever experienced eco-anxiety, or anxiety about climate change,  I’m going to guess a lot of them will feel seen. If that’s the case, It’s Not That Radical is the perfect book about climate for them — or maybe even for you to read together.

For those of us feeling fearful, overwhelmed, and powerless as a result of the mounting and urgent climate issues we’re facing across the globe, the book aims to be the antidote to this fear, turning worries into a call to find hope through bravery and to radically imagine and build a new world that can benefit us all.

The book is insightful, thought-provoking, and a refreshingly optimistic rallying cry that has us believing in our personal and collective power to make positive change.

The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg: Essential non-fiction books about climate + sustainability

The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions by Greta Thunberg (2023)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Audible

It’s pretty amazing how many young people know the name and climate activism of Greta Thunberg. While you may know her book No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference (great for younger kids, by the way), in The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions, Thunberg gathers data, insights, and information from more than 100 experts. You’ll find ideas from geophysicists, oceanographers, meteorologists, engineers, economists, mathematicians, historians, philosophers, and indigenous leaders, to equip us with comprehensive but accessible knowledge necessary for effectively confronting our climate crisis.

You’ll also find compelling essays from Thunberg interwoven throughout the book, which draw on her remarkable depth of experience. The read is perfect for parents and kids alike, with messaging that is straightforward yet solution-focused. I also love that that offers so many diverse perspectives from the most reputable figures in the climate movement.


Delilah Isabel Harvey: Consultant and writer focused on sustainability and human connection
Delilah Harvey is an LA-based consultant, content creator, and writer focused on sustainability and human connection. She loves traveling, creating cool playlists, cooking, and is always down for an adventure. Sometimes she makes TikToks nerding out about sustainability too. Follow her on TikTok and Instagram for fantastic content, tips, and product recommendations.

Top image: Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash