22+ Books On Ecology, Nature & How To Live A More Sustainable, Hopeful Life

Here are 22+ intersectional, sustainability-exploring, eco-living, conscious-business-inspiring, earth-celebrating books to add to your reading list asap!

Over on Instagram, I asked fellow conscious-business owners I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with for their Earth Month reading recommendations. I’ve compiled them below along with some additional reads I enjoyed or been recommended. The goal of this reading list is to give you a range of topics and authors, including BIPOC authors, so you can find the perfect read to add to your own bookshelf or share with the people in your life, of all ages & levels of eco-enthusiasm. ?


  • Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Consumed, by Aja Barber
  • The Intersectional Environmentalist, by Leah Thomas
  • All We Can Save, edited by Ayana Johnson & Katharine Wilkinson
  • The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall
  • On Fire, by Naomi Klein
  • The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
  • The Home Place, by J. Drew Lanham
  • Radical Homemakers, by Shannon Hayes
  • Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard


  • MaddAddam Trilogy, by Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam)
  • The Overstory, by Richard Powers
  • The New Wilderness, by Diane Cook
  • Birth of the Anima, by Kelsey Sather


  • Ultimatum Orangutan, by Khairani Barokka
  • The Octopus Museum, by Brenda Shaughnessy
  • Thinking With Trees, by Jason Allen-Paisant
  • Poems from the Edge of Extinction, edited by Chris McCabe

Children’s books:

  • Aquicorn Cove, by Kay O’Neill
  • Duffy’s Lucky Escape, by Elie Jackson
  • We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade
  • Our Planet! There’s No Place Like Home, written by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield

Let’s get reading!

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Ok, this book HAD to be first in the list. I have mentioned this book to so many people and have instantly bonded with all those who’ve read it, whether they are work contacts or friends who have no direct ties to the conscious business space. In my opinion, it strikes a unique, magical balance between a scientific read, a memoir, a short story collection, and poetic verse. Since I could ramble on about it forever, here’s the book’s presentation on Robin Wall Kimmerer’s website instead:

“Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer (…) circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.”

Consumed, by Aja Barber

Mixing learning and unlearning, Aja Barber explores the intricate webs between colonialism, slavery, racism and the rise of excessive consumerism and fast fashion, along with their impact on both the environment and individuals, especially those in traditionally-pileaged countries. She also offers us different ways in which we can make a positive, and urgently needed, change. (link to the book)

The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet, by Leah Thomas

Leah Thomas is well-known in the online eco-activism space, whether it’s via her personal accounts as Green Girl Leah, or the organization she started, Intersectional Environmentalist, with several other young activists. As stated on Leah Thomas’ site, “The Intersectional Environmentalist examines the inextricable link between environmentalism, racism, and privilege, and promotes awareness of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people — especially those most often unheard.” A fantastic read for anyone looking to advocate for, and implement, a more inclusive and intersectional form of eco-activism. (link to the book)

All We Can Save, edited by Ayana Johnson & Katharine Wilkinson

This collection of essays and poems brings together and highlights the voices of a diverse group of women in the US within (or closely linked to) the climate movement. “This book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future. We must summon truth, courage, and solutions to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility. Curated by two climate leaders, the book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.” (via Goodreads)

The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall

Known internationally for her work with chimpanzees and her environmental activism, Dr. Jane Goodall’s book is a beautiful exploration of hope. In it, she explains her Four Reasons for Hope (The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, & The Indomitable Human Spirit) as well as her own story and the inspiring people and animals she’s met along the way. (link to the book)

On Fire, by Naomi Klein

In her seventh book, Naomi Klein, who is also a journalist and climate justice professor, reports “from the frontlines of climate breakdown, and pairs it with new material on the high stakes of what we choose to do next. (…) With dispatches from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef to the smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, to a Vatican waking up to the case for radical change, recognizing that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis — On Fire captures the burning urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the fiery energy of a global movement demanding a catalytic Green New Deal.” (link to the book on Naomi’s website)

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben

Author and forester Peter Wohlleben explores the social network that connects trees to one another and the forest’s regenerative process, when free from human interference. Mixing science and a more poetic vision of forests, this best-selling book encourages us to reexamine our relationship to the natural world and trees in particular. (link to the book)

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, by J. Drew Lanham

I was first introduced to ornithologist J. Drew Lantham thanks to the podcast On Being. His beautiful words on birds, nature and his complex relationship to the earth given the US’ history of slavery has stayed with me since then. As The Storygraph puts it, “By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South–and in America today.” (link to the book)

Radical Homemakers, by Shannon Hayes

This book highlights the stories of people across the U.S. who have chosen to look beyond the pressures of our increasingly consumption-driven culture “focus on home and hearth as a political and ecological act, and who have centered their lives around family and community for personal fulfillment and cultural change. It explores what domesticity looks like in an era that has benefited from feminism, where domination and oppression are cast aside and where the choice to stay home is no longer equated with mind-numbing drudgery, economic insecurity, or relentless servitude. (…) If you ever considered quitting a job to plant tomatoes, read to a child, pursue creative work, can green beans and heal the planet, this is your book.” (link to the book)

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, by Yvon Chouinard

Patagonia is well known as a pioneering brand in the environmental activism space. This memoir written by the company’s founder is a fascinating look into how Yvon Chouinard, a passionate climber and environmentalist managed to combine his love for climbing and the outdoors, having a positive impact and creating a successful business for fellow outdoor enthusiasts. An inspiring ode to doing business with a purpose! (link to the book)

The MaddAddam Trilogy (Oryx And Crake, The Year of the Flood, Maddaddam) by Margaret Atwood

I have heard about this dystopian trilogy from so many very different people and it seems to have stayed with all of them, even years after they first read them. Margaret Atwood has a unique way of creating worlds in a near future that are particularly disturbing because they feel all too probable (see: The Handmaid’s Tale vs. the US under the Trump administration). In this trilogy, Atwood introduces us to a variety of characters living in a world deeply affected by genetic engineering (Oryx And Crake) and a man-made plague (The Year of the Flood), telling their stories (Maddadam) and fighting for their survival along the way. (link to the books)

The Overstory, by Richard Powers

This New York Times Bestseller and Pulitzer Prize Winning novel “unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.” (via the author’s website)

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2020, The New Wilderness is a beautiful and intense following a mother, Bea, and her fight to save her sick five-year-old daughter, Agnes by fleeing the polluted city for the Wilderness State where they join a group of volunteers. As The Storygraph puts it, it’s “a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood and what it means to be human”. (link to the book

Birth of the Anima by Kelsey Sather

Kelly herself put it best when I asked her about her book: “An ancient lineage of women transform to have predator-like qualities. Alongside their supernatural strength and speed, they’re tasked to bring humans back into ecological order. Eco-feminism does magic. ❤️‍?. (link to the book)

Ultimatum Orangutan, by Khairani Barokka

This poetry collection offers us a unique perspective exploring the intersections of disability, colonialism and environmental injustice. “Khairani Barokka’s (…) acute, interlaced language draws clear connections between colonial exploitation of fellow humans, landscapes, animals, and ecosystems. (…) Through these defiant, potent verses, the body—particularly the disabled body—is centered as an ecosystem in its own right. Barokka’s poems are every bit as alarming, urgent and luminous as is necessary in the age of climate catastrophe as outgrowth of colonial violence.” (via Nine Arches Press). (link to the book)

The Octopus Museum, by Brenda Shaughnessy

Pushing the boundaries of what poetry is (some of the poems in this collection read more like short stories), I love how subtly Shaughnessy touches on multiple issues, from racial injustice, gun violence and gender inequalities to environmental issues by placing the collection in a near-future where the earth has been taken over by cephalopods. A perfect way to examine our present with a critical eye in a unique way. (link to the book)

Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages, edited by Chris McCabe

This beautiful anthology features 50 carefully curated poems in their original endangered or vulnerable language, prefaced with information on the language and the author and followed by the poem’s English translation. I was deeply moved to see that Occitan, the original language spoken in my region, and that my grandfather & great grandfather used to speak, is one of the 50 languages featured in this anthology. Language is such a powerful expression of a culture, yet so many have been historically oppressed or threatened for a number of unfortunate reasons. A great read indeed! (link to the book)

Thinking With Trees, by Jason Allen-Paisant

According to fellow poet Malika Booker, ‘the collection racializes contemporary ecological poetics and its power lies in Allen-Paisant’s subtle destabilization of the ordinary dog walker’s right to space, territory, property and leisure by positioning the colonised Black male body’s complicated and unsafe reality in these spaces.’ (via The Storygraph). It makes for a fascinating exploration of Jason Allen-Paisant’s evolving relationship to nature, having grown up surrounded by trees in a Jamaican village then living near a forest in the UK. (link to the book)

Aquicorn Cove by Kay O’Neill

A storm, an injured magical seahorse-like creature and a beautiful, subtle exploration of the impact our choices have on the sea and its inhabitants. Bonus? The graphics in it are absolutely stunning too! Kay has other LGBTQ+ friendly kids book I highly recommend checking out as well. (link to the book)

Duffy’s Lucky Escape, by Elie Jackson (+ the other Wild Tribe Heroes books: Marli’s Tangled Tale & Nelson’s Dangerous Dive)

These lovely books, featuring a sea turtle, a puffin and a whale respectively, highlight the wide-reaching, dangerous impact the increasing amount of plastic in our oceans has. As stated on the Wild Tribe Heroes’ website: “Not only are they great children’s books in their own right but there is also a powerful message behind each story passed on in a gentle way.”

We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

The book received the 2021 Caldecott Award and is a beautiful ode to indigenous water conservation movements and a call to action for all of us to preserve the Earth’s water. Michaela Goade is a member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes. Carole Lindstrom is Anishinabe/Metis and a member of the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe tribe. (link to the book)

Our Planet! There’s No Place Like Home, written by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield

An adorable picture book introduction to “Planet Awesome”, aka the Earth, and its inhabitants while also addressing the topic of climate change and how we can all save Earth together. Among Stacy McAnulty many other lovely books for young readers is Save The People: Halting Human Extinction, a non-fiction book for middle graders, that also touches on climate change. (link to the book)

Happy reading!

Have you read any of these books or are now ready to bump them to the top of your reading list?

One of my intentions this year is to not only read more, but read more work-related books, exploring ecology, nature, sustainable living, the climate crisis & how to live and work in a more conscious way from different perspectives. And guess what? I’m always up for a coffee Zoom chat on these topics, so feel free to send me an email or a DM on Instagram if that sounds like your jam too.

I’m also on Goodreads & The Storygraph if you want to follow along with my reads there, and you can find the books above on this Goodreads list if you want to add them to your own virtual bookshelves too.