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  • Writer's pictureValinda

From Pages to Practices: 30+ Best Sustainability Books

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Looking for a deeper dive into sustainability than a typical blog post can offer? Dive into the immersive world of sustainability books! While blog posts skim the surface, books plunge you into a sea of intricate details and profound insights. Imagine cozying up on the couch on a rainy day, enveloped in the wisdom of authors who've dedicated entire volumes to zero waste living. Whether you're a seasoned eco-warrior or just dipping your toes into the green movement, this curated list of 30+ must-read books promises to enlighten, inspire, and empower you on your journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.


Where to shop for books

Looking to dive into the world of sustainability through literature but finding your local library lacking? Fear not! While the library remains an ideal starting point for eco-conscious readers, small-town limitations can sometimes leave us craving more. That's where the treasure trove of secondhand bookstores comes in. In my own quaint town, where library options are sparse, I've discovered the magic of secondhand shops – both in-person and online. Though my city may lack dedicated secondhand bookstores, two trusty shops boast an impressive array of reads, making each visit a delightful hunt for eco-literature gems. So, next time you're on the hunt for your next sustainable read, channel your inner explorer and seek out those secondhand havens. And if luck eludes you, fear not! I've got your back with links to all the eco-inspiring books I share here. Happy reading, fellow sustainability seekers!


Beginner Friendly Sustainability Books


Step into the world of sustainable living with Ashlee Piper's empowering guide, "Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet." Perfect for newcomers to the zero waste movement, Piper offers a welcoming hand, devoid of judgment, and packs this book with everything you need to kickstart your journey towards a greener lifestyle. From the seemingly insignificant choices of our everyday routines to the broader impact of our actions, Piper sheds light on how each decision shapes the world around us. With her insightful guidance, you'll navigate the path towards sustainable living, ensuring that every micro and macro decision you make contributes positively to our beautiful planet. Dive in, and let "Give a Sh*t" be your compass on the quest to make a meaningful difference.

Sustainability Books - give a shit

Dive into the captivating journey of sustainability with Amy Korst's illuminating masterpiece, "The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well By Throwing Away Less". Embark on a year-long adventure alongside the author as she fearlessly navigates the realms of zero waste living, documenting her triumphs and challenges with unparalleled candor. Korst's ingenious ideas span the spectrum from the delightfully simple to the daringly radical, catering to both novice eco-warriors and seasoned sustainability enthusiasts alike. With its innovative categorization into Easy, Moderate, and Advanced levels, this book serves as a roadmap for embracing a greener lifestyle at your own pace, allowing you to tread lightly on the planet without ever feeling overwhelmed. Whether you're dipping your toes into the world of waste reduction or ready to dive headfirst into eco-conscious living, "The Zero-Waste Lifestyle" promises to empower and inspire every step of the way.

Sustainability Books - the zero waste lifestyle

Embark on a transformative journey towards a sustainable lifestyle with Katie Patrick's groundbreaking book, "Detrash Your Life in 90 Days: Your Complete Guide to the Art of Zero Waste Living." More than just a typical 'how-to' manual, this masterpiece is a treasure trove of wisdom crafted by an environmental engineering expert. With nearly 150 actionable steps, alongside an array of recipes, insider tips, and detailed explanations, this book serves as an indispensable compass for those venturing into the realm of zero waste living. Whether you're a novice or seasoned eco-warrior, Patrick's guide offers invaluable insights and practical strategies to help you navigate the path towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Sustainability Books  - detrash you life in 90 days

Dive into the world of sustainable living with a fresh perspective in "New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living" by Kyle Louise Quilici. This captivating book offers a unique blend of decluttering techniques and minimalist design principles, all viewed through the lens of sustainability. Ideal for eco-conscious individuals seeking to reduce waste and embrace intentional living, it's a must-read for those on the path to zero waste and minimalist lifestyles. Get ready to transform your space and mindset with practical tips and inspiring insights!

Sustainability Books - new minimalism

Step into the world of sustainable living with E. F. Schumacher's timeless classic, "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered." Originally penned in 1973, this gem has only gained relevance with each passing year. Dive into its pages and discover a thought-provoking exploration of economics, development, environmental stewardship, and the importance of community. Whether you're a seasoned sustainability enthusiast or just dipping your toes into the green movement, this book is sure to inspire and enlighten. Join the conversation on creating a better, more sustainable future for all.

Sustainability Books - small is beautiful

Dive into the world of sustainability with "Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash" by Shia Su! Perfect for beginners, this book is a treasure trove of easy-to-implement DIYs and zero waste hacks that seamlessly integrate into your daily routine. Say goodbye to the overwhelm of adopting a sustainable lifestyle as Shia Su's practical tips make it all feel effortless. With each page turned, you'll gain the confidence to take meaningful steps towards a greener future, one simple hack at a time.

Sustainability Books - zero waste hacks

Embark on the next leg of your sustainability journey with Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home. This book is like a treasure trove of advanced tips for reducing waste and living more sustainably. While some strategies might require a bit more investment, there's still plenty of valuable advice that anyone can implement, especially if you're creative and resourceful. And here's a tip for those on a budget: consider snagging a secondhand copy to dive into its wealth of resources. Whether you're a seasoned eco-warrior or just starting out on your green path, Zero Waste Home is bound to inspire and inform you on your quest for a greener lifestyle.

Sustainability Books - zero waste home

Sustainable Food Books


In "The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food" by Dan Barber, the journey from farm to table takes on a revolutionary twist. Barber, not just a chef but a culinary visionary, reshapes our understanding of food beyond the confines of locality. He unveils a tantalizing narrative where the very act of eating becomes a force for healing the land while indulging our taste buds. Brace yourself for a gastronomic odyssey that promises not just a meal, but a paradigm shift in how we nourish ourselves and the planet.

Sustainability Books - the third plate

The captivating world of "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants" by Robin Wall Kimmerer is where science and spirituality intertwine like the roots of ancient trees. As a fellow botanist, Kimmerer delves deep into the intricate relationship between humanity and nature, urging us to ponder the invaluable gifts bestowed upon us by the natural world. This isn't merely a book about plants; it's a profound exploration of our interconnectedness with the Earth and the responsibility we bear to nurture and protect it. Join Kimmerer on a journey of discovery, where indigenous wisdom and scientific inquiry converge to illuminate the path towards sustainability and reverence for the world around us.

Sustainability Books - braiding sweetgrass

Enter a world where your kitchen becomes a waste-free haven with Dana Gunders' insightful guide, the Waste Free Kitchen Handbook. Packed with practical advice and innovative tips, this book is your ultimate companion in the journey towards sustainable living. Discover the secrets to storing food for extended freshness, unlock delicious recipes utilizing often-discarded food scraps, and learn the science behind food preservation. Armed with this knowledge, you'll not only reduce your food waste but also contribute to a healthier planet. Plus, with a handy reference list detailing the lifespan of various foods, you'll confidently navigate your kitchen, minimizing waste at every turn. Dive into the pages of this handbook and embark on a rewarding adventure towards a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.

Sustainability Books - waste free kitchen handbook

Step into the riveting narrative of "As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock" by Dina Gilio-Whitaker, where the pages come alive with the resilience and determination of Indigenous women battling for food and water security. In a world where many of us take such essentials for granted, this poignant account sheds light on the ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous communities. From the plundering effects of colonization to the modern-day battlegrounds like Standing Rock, Gilio-Whitaker intricately weaves together a tapestry of history, culture, and environmentalism. Delve into this compelling read to uncover the profound significance of protecting sacred sites and preserving cultural heritage in the face of environmental challenges. It's an eye-opening journey that underscores the diverse impact of environmental activism across different cultures.

Sustainability Books - as long as grass grows

Dive into the world of sustainable eating with Barbara Kingsolver's captivating book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." If you've ever pondered the environmental impact of your food choices or considered embracing a locally sourced diet, this book is your roadmap. Kingsolver delves deep into the flaws of our current food system, offering eye-opening insights and a compelling call to action. Discover how small changes in what we eat can lead to big benefits for both the planet and our health. Get ready to embark on a journey towards a more eco-conscious lifestyle, one delicious meal at a time.

Sustainability Books - animal vegetable miracle


(Over)consumption


Step into a world where every purchase tells a story, a tale not just of convenience but of consequence. Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff" is a captivating journey into the heart of over-consumption and its profound impact on our planet. With her skilled narrative, Leonard takes readers on a guided tour through the intricate web of production processes, unraveling the hidden complexities behind the items we so often take for granted. From extraction to disposal, every step unveils a new layer of understanding, shedding light on the true cost of our daily acquisitions. Prepare to be enlightened, challenged, and inspired as you delve into this essential exploration of sustainability and responsibility. Join the movement to rewrite the narrative of consumption and embrace a future where every choice holds the power to shape a more sustainable world.

Sustainability Books - the story of stuff

In "A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life" by Tara Button, embark on a journey to reclaim the lost essence of durable goods in an age of disposability. Unveil the unsettling truth behind the modern marketplace, where products seem to have a predetermined expiration date, urging us into a cycle of endless consumption. Button unveils the strategies employed by marketers to lure us into this throwaway culture and arms readers with the tools to resist it. Discover the power of intentional purchasing and how to navigate a world inundated with products designed to fail. It's time to challenge the status quo and embrace a sustainable approach to consumption.

Sustainability Books - a life less throwaway

Discover the transformative journey through time and technology in William McDonough's groundbreaking book, "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things." Prepare to have your perspective shifted as McDonough delves into the underestimated impact of technology on our environment, unraveling the origins of pollution and waste crises. But fear not, for amidst the revelations lies a beacon of hope—a guide on how to navigate towards sustainable consumption and eco-conscious business practices. McDonough's insights are not just a wake-up call; they're a roadmap for a greener, more responsible future. Dive into this eye-opening read and join the movement towards a healthier planet.

Sustainability Books - cradle to cradle

Dive into the world of sustainable living with Diane McEachern's empowering masterpiece, "Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World." This gem of a book offers practical insights and actionable tips for harnessing your purchasing prowess to drive positive environmental change. But let's pause for a moment of reflection: while seeking eco-friendly alternatives is commendable, it's equally important to embrace the ethos of minimalism and maximize the use of what we already possess. Join us on this transformative journey towards a greener tomorrow, where every conscious choice we make contributes to a healthier planet for generations to come.

Sustainability Books - big green purse

Dive into the transformative world of sustainable fashion with "Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe" by Greta Eagan. Perfect for those dipping their toes into eco-conscious style, this book serves as a friendly guide through the sometimes daunting realm of sustainable fashion. Eagan fearlessly delves into the inner workings of the fashion industry, igniting the crucial conversation: Can we dress to impress while also making a positive impact on the planet? With insightful perspectives and practical tips, "Wear No Evil" empowers readers to navigate the fashion landscape with purpose and panache, proving that every wardrobe choice can be a step towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

Sustainability Books - wear no evil


Step into the world of sustainability with Kendra Pierre-Louis's eye-opening book, "Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet." In an era where "eco-friendly" has become a buzzword, Pierre-Louis takes us on a journey through the deceptive realm of greenwashing. With a keen eye for detail, she reveals how products often masquerade as sustainable, only to reveal a different truth upon closer inspection. This insightful read equips us with the knowledge to discern genuine eco-conscious choices from deceptive marketing tactics. Discover how to make informed decisions and pave the way towards a truly sustainable future.

Sustainability Books  - green washed

Book about Sustainability in Different Communities


Discover the transformative power of sustainability in "The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear" by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. While delving into political realms, this captivating read unveils a broader perspective of sustainability beyond its environmental implications. Through Barber's compelling narrative, readers are invited to explore the interconnectedness of social justice, equality, and environmental stewardship. Brace yourself for an eye-opening journey that challenges conventional notions and inspires action towards a more holistic and inclusive vision of sustainability.

Sustainability Books  - the third reconstruction

Dive into the transformative journey outlined in Rob Hopkins' enlightening masterpiece, "The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience." If you're seeking ways to ignite change within your community, this book is your roadmap. With a blend of wit and wisdom, Hopkins navigates the complex terrain of sustainability, offering practical advice on reducing waste, breaking free from oil reliance, and fostering local resilience. Prepare to be inspired as you embark on a journey of empowerment, equipped with the tools to lead your community towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

Sustainability Books - the transition handbook

Step into the world of sustainable economics with "Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist" by Kate Raworth, where every page challenges the conventional notion of endless growth. Ever pondered why growth seems to be our perpetual pursuit? Raworth delves deep into this inquiry, offering compelling insights on fostering an economy that prioritizes sustainability without sacrificing social justice. Prepare to embark on a transformative journey, reimagining the very foundations of economic theory and paving the way for a more equitable and environmentally conscious future.

Sustainability Books - doughnut economics

Step into the eye-opening world of "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" by Anand Giridharadas, where the harsh truth about sustainability and societal change is laid bare. Have you ever wondered why those who wield immense wealth and power seem to dominate discussions on climate change, all while jet-setting in their private planes? Giridharadas delves deep into this unsettling reality, exposing how the elite manipulate narratives of equality and justice to maintain their positions atop the social hierarchy. In a riveting exploration, this book challenges us to confront the contradictions and complexities of our global sustainability efforts, urging us to reconsider who truly holds the reins of change.

Sustainability Books - winners take all

Delve into the pages of "Growing Smarter" by Robert D. Bullard and embark on a journey that reveals the intricate interplay between our communities and the environment. In this enlightening read, Bullard challenges conventional wisdom, showing us that the neighborhoods we inhabit hold profound implications for environmental justice and social equity. Prepare to be amazed as he uncovers how simple changes within a community can ripple outwards, shaping our environment in unexpected ways. If you've ever pondered the connection between where you live and the world around you, this book is a must-read. Get ready to broaden your perspective and deepen your understanding of the vital role our communities play in building a sustainable future.

Sustainability Books - growing smarter

If you're curious about the impact of residential segregation and zoning on our environment, "Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility" by Dorceta Taylor is a must-read. This insightful book delves into the harsh realities of environmental racism, offering clear, real-world examples from cities like Oklahoma City and New Orleans. Taylor expertly unveils the hidden dynamics at play, shedding light on how these urban policies shape the environmental landscape and affect marginalized communities.

Sustainability Books - toxic communities

Harriet A. Washington's "A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind" delves into the unsettling reality that people of color, especially African Americans, disproportionately bear the brunt of infectious diseases, pollution, and industrial waste. These environmental injustices don't just harm the body—they impair cognitive development and brain health, too. Washington's compelling narrative unravels the deep-seated racism underpinning systemic inequities, illustrating how these factors are designed to set African Americans up for failure. This eye-opening book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the intersection of environmental issues and racial injustice.

Sustainability Books - a terrible thing to waste

Diving into the world of zero waste can often feel overwhelming, but "Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhoods" by Sandhya Rani Jha offers a beacon of hope. This inspiring book showcases real-life stories of individuals tackling sustainability challenges in their communities, each finding unique and effective ways to make a difference. Packed with practical advice and heartwarming examples, it’s a must-read for anyone looking to engage and transform their own neighborhood towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Sustainability Books - transforming communities

"All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis" by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson is an inspiring anthology that shines a spotlight on the voices of youth and women—those most impacted by climate change. This powerful collection weaves together essays, poetry, and art from diverse contributors who ask the right questions and offer invaluable solutions. Their insights not only address the urgency of the climate crisis but also illuminate the path toward a sustainable and hopeful future. If you're seeking a book that combines heartfelt stories with actionable solutions, this is a must-read.

Sustainability Books - all we can save

Science-based books


Ever wondered about the true carbon footprint of your everyday choices? "How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything" by Mike Berners-Lee is your go-to guide for demystifying the environmental impact of countless items in your life. While some figures might be slightly outdated, this insightful book provides an excellent foundation for understanding and estimating your own carbon footprint. Dive in and discover just how much your daily habits contribute to our planet's health—it's more eye-opening than you might think!

Sustainability Books - how bad are bananas

If you're passionate about the environment and often find yourself in debates with climate change skeptics, "How to Change Minds About Our Changing Climate" by Seth B. Darling and Douglas L. Sisterson is a must-read. This book is your ultimate toolkit, packed with facts and compelling arguments to counteract the most common myths and misconceptions about climate change. While it's true that some climate deniers may never be swayed, Darling and Sisterson equip you with the knowledge to engage in meaningful discussions and provide thoughtful, science-backed perspectives. Even if you don't convert a skeptic, you'll at least plant a seed of doubt about their beliefs and give them something to ponder.

Sustainability Books - how to change minds about climate change

Feeling overwhelmed by climate change and unsure how you can make a difference? Look no further than "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming" by Paul Hawken. This enlightening book is a treasure trove of practical solutions that empower both individuals and communities to tackle climate change head-on. Far from dwelling on the doom and gloom, Hawken's work is a beacon of hope, packed with actionable steps to create a sustainable future. Whether you're just starting your environmental journey or looking to deepen your impact, you'll find yourself inspired and equipped with a myriad of strategies to make a tangible difference. Grab your notepad—this book is brimming with ideas that can help turn the tide on global warming.

Sustainability Books - drawdown the most comprehensive plan ever to reverse global warming

Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate" is an eye-opening exploration of the undeniable reality of climate change and its intricate ties to our economic systems. Klein dives deep into the scientific data that underscores the urgency of our environmental crisis, but she goes further, challenging us to rethink our consumer habits and the capitalist framework that fuels them. This book isn't just about understanding the problem; it's a call to action to shift our mindsets and embrace sustainable living, highlighting how our choices impact the planet. Get ready to be inspired to make meaningful changes for a greener future.

Sustainability Books - this changes everything

Sustainability in Business


If you're a small business owner with an eye on sustainability, "Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto" by Adam Werbach is a must-read. While it may not cater to everyone, its insights are invaluable for those looking to integrate sustainable practices into their business strategies. Werbach expertly uses examples from large companies to illustrate how sustainable principles can drive innovation and growth, offering a compelling blueprint for any business aiming to thrive in the modern, eco-conscious marketplace.

Sustainability Books - strategy for sustainability

Final thoughts

Ultimately, embracing a more sustainable lifestyle goes beyond just reading about it—it's about taking actionable steps toward change. I hope this curated list of sustainability books sparks your inspiration and guides you in discovering practical steps to elevate your zero-waste journey. Let these reads be the catalyst for your transformation, turning knowledge into impactful, everyday actions. Happy reading and, more importantly, happy doing!


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Meet Valinda

Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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