How can you learn more about climate change? What is climate change? Is it a matter of now, or of how? Climate change refers to the long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. In the past, these shifts have been part of natural systems and processes. Currently, however, human activities are likely the main driver of climate change. Activities such as burning fossil fuels and creating environmental modifications have caused a significant increase in greenhouse gasses, leading to global warming.

Extreme weather events, prolonged droughts, melting glaciers, rising oceans, and shifts in precipitation patterns have damaged habitats and affected species, including human infrastructure, agriculture, and health. However, there is hope through climate action, including mitigation (reducing emissions and restoring habitats) and adaptation (preparing for climate change’s impacts), which requires collaboration between communities to build a secure and sustainable future. 

Below we’ve compiled a list of what to read to learn more about climate change and how it could affect the world. 

Books to Read to Learn about Climate Change

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know

By Joseph C. Romm
Adult Nonfiction

“As the world struggles to stem climate change and its effects, everyone will become a part of this story of the century. Here is what you need to know.” This book offers a modern analysis of climate change’s foundational science, its predictions for our future, and the core clean energy solutions. Along with detailed but highly accessible descriptions of what is causing climate change, this entry in the “What Everyone Needs to Know” series answers practical questions about the involvement of this growing force on our world:

  • How will climate change impact you and your family in the coming decades?
  • What are the future implications for owners of coastal property?
  • Should you plan on retiring in South Florida or the U.S. Southwest or Southern Europe?
  • What occupations and fields of study will be most in demand in a globally warmed world?
  • What impact will climate change have on investments and the global economy?

This book is a great tool to learn more about climate change.

The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge

By Kirstin Dow
Adult Nonfiction

Today’s top stories and recent events reflect the severity of climate change. Heat waves, droughts, and floods are bringing death to vulnerable populations, destroying livelihoods, and driving people from their homes. Diligent and constant in its science and message, The Atlas of Climate Change analyzes the causes of climate change and takes into consideration the many possible impacts on subsistence, water resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, health, coastal megacities, and cultural treasures. It reviews historical contributions to greenhouse gas levels, progress in meeting international commitments, and local efforts to meet the challenge of climate change.

The Atlas includes over 50 full-color maps and graphics, which make this an essential resource for policy makers, environmentalists, students and anyone interested in and concerned about this imperative topic.

The Atlas covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Warning signs
  • Future scenarios
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Health
  • Renewable energy
  • Emissions reduction
  • Personal and public action

Climate Change: In Context

By Brenda Wilmoth Lerner
Adult Nonfiction

Climate Change in Context is a comprehensive guide to the increasingly relevant and ever- growing topic of climate change, including global warming. Cross-circular in nature, the title supports two levels of curricula, basic and advanced, in topics such as earth and environmental science, general science, history, government and the social sciences. Written primarily for high school students, this two-volume, four-color title is designed to help them learn more about climate change by offering coverage of the history, politics, and ethical debates. It also includes the impact of climate change on daily life, trade, and commerce, and the future of both industrialized and impoverished nations. It combines original essays written by leading field experts, documents from primary sources, and sidebars on the cultural, economic, and political issues surrounding climate change. It helps the readers learn more about climate change by providing insight on leading social issues and inciting critical thinking about the impact of environmental issues on daily life and globalization.

The Climate Book

By Greta Thunberg
Adult Nonfiction

The Climate Book, as evidenced by its very straightforward titling, is a work that examines the climate crisis we have been facing for a long time, and events relating to it in the recent day. Published  in 2023 and written by prolific climate activist, Greta Thunberg, this book works to shed insight into what we are doing  in relation to this world-wide obstacle. Thunberg’s book is a collection of 105 essays by over a hundred professionals and experts in many practices in the science and climate fields. Pieces vary from geology experts to Native-American community leaders. With an objective of making consecutive key points, the book  is well-organized and sectioned and includes many supporting graphs and charts. 

The main sections and key points in the book include:

  • How climate works.
  • How our planet is changing.
  • How it affects us.
  • What we’ve done about it.
  • What we must do now. 

To a lot of people, especially those who are not familiar with the climate crisis, reading about climate change may be depressing, as it is a rather harrowing topic. A whole book dedicated to this topic may be daunting. But this book does offer hope by showcasing many positive events and actions that have been taken to combat climate change. 

Bluebird Seasons: Witnessing Climate Change in My Piece of the Wild

By Mary Taylor Young
Adult Nonfiction

Written by Mary Taylor Young — a practiced zoologist — Bluebird Seasons: Witnessing Climate Change in My Piece of the Wild (2023) is a piece that illustrates the writer’s experiences with climate change. Set in the mountains of Colorado, the book focuses on entries in Mary’s nature journal, which she actively added to during the twenty years she and her husband lived in the Colorado Rockies. She had not intended for this journal of hers to serve as a personable look into the local results of climate change. As the years passed, however, she realized she had cataloged information and statistics about the many things she had noticed. Her journal records the increasing number of impactful and abnormal weather events, such as droughts, wildfires, population declines of native wildlife, and introductions of new species. This book uses her observations to create a digestible, engaging, thought-provoking, informative, and ultimately hopeful story for the reader. 

The Carbon Almanac: It’s Not Too Late

By Seth Godin
Adult Nonfiction

Thanks to an unbiased collaboration with a plethora of some of the brightest and most creative minds, we finally have an all-around reliable source of information on climate change: The Carbon Almanac by Seth Godin. No beating around the bush for political correctness with an agenda—and no biased opinions on the matter—this book contains only the facts of what is happening to the planet. It focuses only on the data gathered by scientists regarding the past, present, and possible future state of our planet.

Carbon emissions and the effect they have on the environment are presented through visuals, articles, quotes and summaries to demonstrate the role the data play in climate change. The book touches on hundreds of different data points that only show us the facts of how climate change impacts our oceans, our food, and our health. This is meant to inform and motivate change in our daily lives as we come to the realization that we are all in this together and that we can only make a difference if we are all united in the fight against climate change.

Taking the Heat: How Climate Change is Affecting Your Mind, Body, and Spirit and What You Can Do About It

By Bonnie Schneider 
Adult Nonfiction

We are well aware of the ongoing battle to convince the world of the climate change crisis and the effects it has on the environment, but rarely do we discuss its effects on the human body and mind. Schneider takes on the challenge of opening a new argument about the topic as she covers the impact that climate change has on our minds, body, and spirit. Schneider has deeply researched this aspect of climate change, thanks to her career not only as a TV journalist and meteorologist but to the platform she founded, Weather & Wellness, which studies exactly how climate change affects human health. 

Taking the Heat discusses climate change and its different impacts on the mind, such as fear, depression, and “eco-anxiety.” The book also explores the physiological effects it has on our body’s health, such as allergies and diseases, as well as the impacts of high temperatures and bad air quality. Schneider also states the different ways that climate change could possibly affect sleep and mental sharpness. She lays out many solutions to all of these problems to help us understand how to navigate our overall health in a world with a changing climate.   

I Want A Better Catastrophe: Navigating The Climate Crisis With Grief, Hope, And Gallows Humor: An Existential Manual For Tragic Optimists, Can-do Pessimists, And Compassionate Doomers

By Andrew Boyd
Adult Nonfiction

Giving a different take on upcoming apocalypses and the theories around global warming, I Want A Better Catastrophe by Andrew Boyd is a 400-page book that shows the differences between a world with and without global warming. Unlike many other climate change books, this one doesn’t just list facts and numbers but gives stories and what-ifs. Steering through different perspectives, Boyd finds the critical knowledge required to survive global warming. Interviews with eight climate-change researchers explore Eastern, Western, Indigenous, and other cultures around the globe to see the harm of climate change and what can really be done to stop the impending doom of the least-thrilling catastrophe. Each interviewee answers the questions and delivers brutally honest, hopeful, and perspective-warping language to lend a hand in realizing and unraveling our climate change future.

Fire Weather: A True Story From A Hotter World

By John Valliant
Adult Nonfiction

Using real-life examples, John Valliant describes our world in the present and in the future by observing matters of climate change. Valliant uses Fort McMurry, an oil hub in Canada that was burned to the ground during a wildfire, to convey different points across the book when dealing with climate change. Fort McMurry becomes a segue to different ideas about our indicated response times, poor use of resources, and a general uncomfortable feel with our current assessment of our burning forests. The book focuses on different studies about burning forests across North America and how they have increased over the drying ecosystems and climbed their way across valleys to unsuspecting homes on the horizon. While the book starts with an example in Canada, it examines North America as a whole but with a sharper focus on the western side of the United States since it is the most affected by changing climate and growing populations.

Additional Sources on Climate Change

Written by Overstreet, Sanabria, Burris, Chavez (Library Volunteers)