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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 to manage its effects 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 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

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.

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, the disparity between wealth and poverty create unrest, 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 breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial explores how the complexities we encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths.

Odds Against Tomorrow, Nathaniel Rich

While working for a financial consulting firm that offers insurance against catastrophic events, a young mathematician becomes increasingly obsessed with doomsday scenarios until one of his worst-case scenarios unfolds in Manhattan.

Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood (first 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

TED-Ed, R. Saravanan, 2019

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

Climate Reality Project, date unknown

Scientist Bill Nye explains how humans started the process of climate change 100 years ago, but if we work together we can avoid the consequences.

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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