25 books to gift the greenies in your life

4 December 2019

From plastic-free living to Greta Thunberg and growing your own veg, the team at Resource Futures have compiled their favourite books on all things eco this Christmas. Whether you have an aspiring business owner, an enthusiastic young dreamer or know someone who simply wants to do their bit, this Christmas book guide offers hints and tips, journeys and inspirational thoughts for all the green enthusiasts in your life.

Where to buy your books
If you are going to pick up a book from our recommendations, shopping local is a great way to help support your local economy this Christmas. But if you are ordering your books online, order from Hive, where each book you purchase creates a small contribution to a small, independent choice in your area. Failing that, why not gift from your own collection? Sharing is the greenest gift you can possibly give!

1. How to save the world for free by Natalie Fee (2019)

More than just a handbook or toolkit, this book from the award-winning environmentalist and City to Sea founder, Natalie Fee, explores simple ways to save the world while eating, sleeping, working, voting, traveling and more, all for free.

2. Planting for Honeybees: The grower’s guide to creating a buzz by Sarah Wyndham Lewis (2018)

The demise of honey bees has been much publicised and yet the solutions are relatively simple. From your window ledge in a city to a country garden, this beautiful, illustrated book will help your ‘greenie’ to create the perfect habitat for honeybees to flourish.

3. No-one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg (2019)

This one needs no extra billing. Greta Thunberg, whose actions have taken the world by storm, has documented her famous speeches in this perfect Christmas gift.

4. Let My People Go Surfing (Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual) by Yvon Chouinard (2006)

Yvon Chouinard, founder, and owner of global outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, shares his story of the journey he’s led Patagonia on to become one of the world’s most environmentally respected companies. Truly a pioneer in this space, this book offers a blueprint for how to run a values-based, environmentally sensitive business, that also puts its people first – an inspiring insight for all business professionals, entrepreneurs and eco enthusiasts.

5. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Bea Johnson (2013)

Bea Johnson transformed her family’s health, finances, and relationships for the better by reducing her family’s waste footprint to an astonishing one litre per year. Essentially, this is Marie Kondo seen through an alternative lens!

6. VEG Journal by Charles Dowding’s (2014)

This book was recommended by two members of the Resource Futures team! Charles Dowding is the UK’s leading expert on NO-DIG growing, a long-established way to grow healthy, organic crops while still preserving the soil’s integrity. Growing your own veg is a great way to reduce one’s impact on the world and the NO-DIG method is not only easier, but better for our ecosystem too. Sure to be enjoyed by novice and committed vegetable gardeners.

7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014) and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016) by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari’s first book Sapiens, provides a sense of perspective of just how briefly humans have been impacting our planet. From the stone age, to the 21st century, you can learn about the emergence and eventual domination of the planet by humans. Home Deus, his second book, celebrates the human existence but also delves to paint a bigger history of the planet’s future, following the 21st century. Both books are a perfect bundle of gifts for anyone who’d like to engage in our human history through an anthropological and social lens, as well as learning the impacts humans will have on our future.

8. The man who planted trees by Jean Giono (1953)

This book may be one of the older in our recommendations, as it was published in 1953, but it’s all the more relevant now with considerable political attention on tree planting to address climate change. Giono tells the short story of a shepherd’s single-handed efforts to reforest a desolated valley in the foothills of the Alps, with extraordinary results. Easily more charming than a political leaders debate!

9. Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (And You) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again by Lucy Siegle (2018)

With so much attention given to plastic pollution and its devastating impact on sea creatures, Lucy Siegle’s book offers some excellent advice to those seeking to reduce their plastic footprint. Simple, useful and not at all preachy, Lucy Siegle provides a call to arms and an accessible guide for effective personal action to speak up, take action and demand change.

10. Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home by Jill Lightner (2018)

It may not be the sexiest recipe book, but with food waste responsible for a third of all carbon emissions, tackling it has never been more important. Perhaps, you know someone looking for an accessible and practical way to reduce food waste? This book is a perfect gift for them and for anyone else who cares about reducing their impact on the planet.  

11. Love Your Leftovers: Recipes for the resourceful cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

More inspiration for the resourceful cook, this time from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall a chef and environmental campaigner, who explains how to make the most of your left-overs.

12. Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour (1997).

An older book, but still a go-to, for timeless practical features on sustainably living off the grid. You can also check out the recently updated version with a foreward by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

13. How Bad are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lees (2010)

It’s hard to escape the headlines about climate change, but there is a lot of conflicting advice. This book is a great, accessible resource for whoever wants to learn about their carbon footprint, covering everything, from bananas to emails and even the World Cup.

14. Whittled Away: Ireland’s Vanishing Nature by Padraic Fogarty (2017)

A fascinating book, which is a historical account of the wildlife that was there in every landscape in Ireland, how and why it is diminishing and what can be done about it now.

15. Generation share – the sharing economy by Benita Matofska and Sophie Sheinwald (2019)

This illustrated guide takes readers on a journey around the globe, meeting people who are changing and saving lives by building a sharing economy, which is so vital to solving many of the problems we face today.

16. A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock (2014)

Despite what the title suggests, this book does give some hope. James Lovelock discusses humanity’s role in maintaining the Earth during this period of climate change. A thought-provoking read with some bold and interesting claims. 

17. Wanderlust Hiking on Legendary Trails by Cam Honan and Die Gestalten Verlag (2017)

It’s rare to find a green living enthusiast that doesn’t love the earth and great outdoors. Wanderlust is a collection of incredible hikes around the world, with stunning photography of some of the world’s most spectacular wilderness and nature trails – the ones that we’re all working hard to protect. A coffee table essential although readers may want to consider how to travel to these destinations by methods other than flying!

18. The Three Secrets of Green Business by Gareth Kane (2009)

For someone who may be an entrepreneur or run a small business, this book is a very approachable guide to reducing the environmental impact of their organisation. It’s a ‘win win’ guide that demonstrates how going green as a business is also more efficient and more profitable.

19. Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond (2011)

Children, who may present our greatest hopes for the future, are surrounded by so many negative stories. Energy Island puts paid to that! Telling the true story of a Danish island, that changed the way it uses and creates energy to become a 100% renewable, it’s a lovely, positive story of change for children, which will fill their dreams with inspiring community-led stories, before the lights even go out.

20. No Logo by Naomi Klein (2009)

It’s ten years since this iconic book landed, but it’s no less relevant. An absolute classic, No Logo walks firmly through how marketing has helped to create the capitalist society we know of today and the radical changes we still need to make to challenge it. Another thought-provoking read .

21. A life less throwaway by Tara Button (2018)

Tara Button is the founder of the Buy Me Once brand and this book reveals the ten steps to ‘mindful curation’ – a way of living in which we carefully choose each object in our lives, making sure we have the best, most classic, most pleasing and longest lasting products/items/clothes, instead of surrounding ourselves with throwaway stuff and appliances with built-in obsolescence. A great read for anyone keen to reduce their impact on the world.

22. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (2012)

How do we develop habitats and what exactly can we do to change them? How did advertisers persuade us to introduce a teeth brushing habit? Can you help a losing sports teams get to the top of their game using habit changing techniques? Duhigg’s book about the subconscious patterns we all have in our lives, is another thought-provoking read for the deep thinker in your life, sure to create conversation on Christmas Day.

23. No. More. Plastic by Martin Dorey (2018)

Written by Martin Dorey, an anti-plastic expert who started the 2-minute beach clean, his book does what it says on the cover: it provides helpful tips on reducing plastics and why simple, small actions matter. An insightful read that everyone can engage with.

24. Bosh! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (2018)

There is a reason that Bosh is the highest selling vegan book of all time; the recipes are really delicious and easy to make. It’s a truly accessible recipe book for those trying out veganism for the first time and unlike many others, it doesn’t rely on weird and wonderful expensive ingredients, so it’s perfect for the every day. There’s also a new one out called Bish, Bash, Bosh, which is a good follow up too.

Bosh recipe book

25. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)

Last, but not least, Silent Spring is a penguin modern classic and this book spurred revolutionary system changes after it exposed the destruction of wildlife through the use of pesticides. An essential book for anyone wanting to understand why we are where we are today and a truly powerful read.

That rounds up our Xmas book list for the greenies in your life. Hopefully you’ll find something in this list to inspire your loved ones on their journey and perhaps those who haven’t yet engaged on this vital subject. Happy Christmas!

Are there any books you would add to this list?