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Climate Change Reading List

The following reading list is a sampling of titles that attempts to explain the vast impact of climate change on our planet. Learn more about what we can do to help mitigate climate change but also manage its impact, both locally and globally. If fiction is more your speed, we invite you to explore the growing genre of "cli-fi." While some cli-fi is speculative and apocalyptic, other works reflect on the effects of climate change on contemporary daily life. You'll also find suggested films, and young adult and children's books on this topic.

Understanding the Effects of Climate Change

Adapting to Climate Change, The New York Times, 2020

Books to Inspire Action

Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction)

After the Flood, Kassandra Montag

A mother and daughter navigate dangerous waters and lawless bands of people after extreme flooding covers most of the Earth in water. Exciting adventure story with a fearless heroine.

Part speculative epic, part tech thriller, part reinvented fairy tale, Appleseed is an unforgettable meditation on climate change; corporate, civic, and familial responsibility; manifest destiny; and the myths and legends that sustain us all.

Hummingbird Salamander, Jeff VanderMeer

A speculative thriller involving endangered species. A deceased ecoterrorist leaves a note with the main character, Jane. She begins a long search which triggers events that leave Jane and her family in danger.

Humanity has migrated to domes at the bottom of the sea to escape devastating climate change. The world is dominated by powerful media conglomerates and runs on cyborg labor. This visionary and sublime novel by a Chinese author stands out for its queer and trans themes.

Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller

After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. Crime and corruption have set in, and a new disease is ravaging the population.

The End We Start From, Megan Hunter

In poetic prose, a woman tells the story of traveling with her infant in a world that’s fallen into chaos due to mass flooding.

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver

Set in Appalachia, this parable of catastrophe and denial explores how the complexities we encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths.

The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood (second book in the MaddAddam Trilogy)

Failure to halt climate change has created an out of control weather system, flooded coastlines, and one long, sticky summer. The few who survived the plague scrounge for food while dodging genetically modified creatures gone feral. FROM FIRST BOOK

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (first book in the Earthseed series)

Global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the 2020s, including pervasive water shortage. Written in diary form from the perspective of an adolescent girl who suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others' emotions.

The Wall, John Lanchester

An island nation ravaged by the Change has built an enormous concrete barrier around its coastline. A new Defender has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls trapped amid the rising seas outside.

Weather, Jenny Offill

Hired by her famous podcaster mentor to answer letters from increasingly polarized fans, a librarian struggles to navigate the tension between mundane daily concerns and looming apocalypse.

YA Fiction

Ashfall, Mike Mullin (first book in the Ashfall trilogy)

After the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano destroys his city and its surroundings, fifteen-year-old Alex must journey from Iowa to Illinois to find his family, trying to survive in a transformed landscape in which all the old rules of living have vanished.

Life as We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer (first book in the Last Survivors series)

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Orleans, Sherri Smith

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Fen de la Guerre must deliver her tribe leader's baby over the Wall into the Outer States before her blood becomes tainted with Delta Fever.

Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenager Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Children’s Fiction

The Flooded Earth, Mardi McConnochie

Set 40 years after a flood that ravages the earth, two twins set out in their family’s small sailboat to try to find their disappeared father.

An orphaned polar bear, accompanied for a while by a little girl, travels through the Arctic, seeking another of his kind. Includes information about polar bears and their habitat.

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss

In this cautionary tale of greed and environmental destruction, the lovable Lorax tries to save the Truffula Forest and its inhabitants from disaster at the hands of the cantankerous Once-ler.

Ms. Frizzle takes her kids on a whirlwind tour, from the Arctic to the equator so they can see telltale signs of climate change.

Never Say Die, Will Hobbs

Half-Inuit Nick and his white brother, Ryan, meet and share an adventure on the Firth River in the Canadian Arctic, facing white water, wild animals, and fierce weather as Ryan documents the effects of climate change on caribou for National Geographic magazine.

While preparing for a dogsled mission in Greenland, Gannon and Wyatt receive a desperate mayday call from an Inuit family stranded in the far north. Suddenly, Gannon and Wyatt's expedition to study climate change and Greenlandic culture turns into something far more dangerous--a mission to save lives.

Presents an overview of climate change, discussing if humans are at fault for the rapidly warming Earth, and describes why climate change has recently become a political issue.


DVD, National Geographic, 2016

A documentary presenting a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions individuals and society can take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on this planet. With Leonardo DiCaprio.

DVD, based on the book by Peter Kalmus, 2018

By merging science and spirituality, the film tells Kalmus' story of his successful quest to slash his climate impact to a tenth of the national U.S. average.

Streaming video, CBS This Morning, December 2019

A meteorologist describes recent changes in weather patterns and why they will likely become more severe in 2020 and beyond.

Streaming video, TEDx, Greta Thunberg, 2018

Young Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist expresses alarm about climate change and questions why adults don’t take climate change more seriously.

Streaming video, TED-Ed, R. Saravanan, 2019

An educator uses animation to explain why more extreme weather isn’t just a coincidence.

Streaming video, NASA Climate Change, 2020

Brief video explains via text and animation why even minute sea level increases could drastically affect human civilization.


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