Shared Planet: An Eco-Activist’s Reading List

By Carolyn Paterson, TOA Volunteer

Because of your country, my country’s coral reef is dying.Seven-year old boy to Prince Harry during Caribbean visit.

This summer we have seen illegal deforestation fires in the Amazon rainforests, the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in Barbados and the UK consume its annual amount of the earth’s resources by July 29th.

For this reason, I am extremely excited to see Shared Planet included as a key film strand in Take One Action’s 2019 festival. The programme is filled with topical and insightful films which will provide inspiration and vision for a sustainable future, and covers a wide range of environmental topics from forestry in The Time of Forests (24th & 26th Sept) to food production in Soyalism (20th & 25th Sept).  

Each film is alarming but optimistic, and showcases brilliant people who are challenging the current effects of climate change in inventive ways. When we see these ideas on the cinema screen, we feel more empowered to fight rising sea levels and plastic pollution.

Every time I attend a Take One Action screening, I learn something new. Since it’s the start of a new semester, I’ve included a reading list to go along with the “Shared Planet” strand. With writing from environmentalists, scientists and social campaigners, these books will expand your thinking and kick-start your eco-activist plans.

The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future – David Wallace-Wells

2019 | Allen Lane | £9.99

Based on a viral article of the same name published in 2017, this book is an apocalyptic study of our current eco-emergency. Wallace-Wells discusses every danger of climate change from hunger to heat death. True, terrifying and with some of the most mind-blowing statistics I have ever seen on the subject, The Uninhabitable Earth will shock you into taking action right now. 

The book is an ideal companion to Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (27th & 28th Sept), which investigates the way humans, fossil fuel use and industrialisation has negatively reshaped the earth. 

Climate Justice: A Man-Made Problem with a Feminist Solution – Mary Robinson

2019 | Bloomsbury | £8.99

Climate Justice recounts the former President of Ireland’s travels around Europe, Africa and America where she met mothers and grandmothers whose small actions are saving the planet. From activist hairdressers to campaigning farmers, the text champions grassroots activism and motivates the reader to make small, ripple-effect changes in their local communities.

Both informative and inspiring, Climate Justice’s focus on feminist activism makes it a must-read for Disruption is Fertile: How Eco-Feminism is Rooting for Change (28th Sept)

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate – Naomi Klein

2015 | Penguin | £10.99

Klein’s best-selling book explores the interdependent relationship between climate change, capitalism and Right-wing shock politics. As to be expected from the journalist and social activist behind No Logo, Klein is determined to tell the world that if we change our social and economic values, we will transform the planet for the better. Scientific breakthroughs such as geo-engineering are also discussed. Offering a fresh perspective on environmental writing, this book will help you feel hopeful about the world again. 

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thunberg

2019 | Penguin| £2.99

Naomi Klein said that Thunberg “has turned her life into a living emergency”, and this is a brilliant way to describe the trailblazer behind the largest school climate change protests in history.  Slim, impactful and filled with Thunberg’s trademark direct language, her first book is a collection of speeches delivered to governments and environmental forums. It also includes her now-famous “Our House is on Fire”.

It is essential reading for fans of Inventing Tomorrow (20th & 27th Sept), as it shows what a passionate young person can achieve in a short amount of time in frontline environmental activism.

This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook – Extinction Rebellion

2019 | Penguin | £7.99

No reading list on eco-activism would be complete without this book. Split into two sections, This is Not a Drill is part essay-collection and part DIY protest-book. Featuring chapters on how to close a road and the impact of climate change on indigenous cultures, as well as interactive pages, this handbook aims to educate and empower. Extinction Rebellion promise to make you an activist by the time you have read this book. And given their previous track record of global climate strikes and naked parliament protests, I think they are right.

If you are feeling extra-inspired, why not have a look through TOA’s film directory? With over 500 titles to choose from, it is the perfect resource for imparting knowledge, confidence and the courage to build a better world.

By Carolyn Pateron, TOA Volunteer