Best Sustainable Living Books

14 Best Sustainable Living Books

In a world that suffers from the depletion of natural resources, people increasingly recognize the need to take responsibility. In our cities, managing material flows is a significant sustainability challenge1. Apart from big industries, individuals and families recognize the parts they play in protecting the earth's resources. As a result, there’s now a plethora of resources that serve as guides to living a sustainable lifestyle. 

Experts are constantly sharing their knowledge and practices on topics related to eco-friendly and green living. Sustainable living books, always a go-to resource, have become more common for the long read as more authors seek to inspire planet-friendly living. In this article, we’ll be sharing 14 sustainable living books worthy of more than a read as experts, environmentalists, and proponents of zero waste and more share their guidance and ideas. These sustainability books will guide you on your green living journey from conscious consumption to the climate debate.

TRVST’s Best Sustainability Books List

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Quick links to our selection of some of the best sustainability books out there fore an eco-friendly read:

  1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life 
  2. Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change 
  3. Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe
  4. Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It
  5. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook
  6. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste 
  7. 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste 
  8. Awakenings: A Guide to Living a Vegan Lifestyle
  9. Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time 
  10. Sustainability for the Rest of Us: Your No-Bullshit, Five-Point Plan for Saving the Planet
  11. Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys
  12. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More
  13. EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends
  14. Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles! 

In this section, we’ve given a breakdown of each book. 

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

By Barbara Kingsolver, with Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp

The Author

Barbara Kingsolver is an American author, poet, and political activist. Writer's Digest named her as one of the most important writers of the 20th Century. Before she began earning a living as a writer, she earned degrees in Biology and worked as a scientist. Barbara and her family have lived on a farm in southern Appalachia since 2004. There, they groom a vegetable garden and raise Icelandic sheep. 

The Book

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a narrative that serves as part memoir and part journalistic investigation. It reveals the journey of how Barbara and her family left the hustle and bustle of city-living to pursue a rural life. Through this journey, they vowed that they’d only buy food from their neighborhood, grow it themselves or live without it.

As Barbara writes the main narrative, Steven presents facts and figures while Camille tops it with recipe sidebars. This book challenges you to begin to make more informed choices. 

Buy on Amazon

2. Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

By George Marshall

The Author

George Marshall is a communications specialist, writer, and founder of Climate Outreach and Information Network. George has worked at several levels of the environmental movement for over 25 years. He is among the leading European experts in climate change communication. George also serves as a lead advisor to the Welsh government. 

The Book

Many people seem to recognize the dangers of climate change but, for some reason, do nothing about it. This book illuminates the realities of climate change and presents some of the reasons people are not responding with speed. George also provides an insight into how our values, prejudices, and assumptions are powerful. Consequently, he suggests that once we understand the things that motivate and threaten us, we can rethink climate change. The goal is to provide you with thought-provoking points that initiate positive changes to sustain the environment. 

Buy on Amazon

3. Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe

By Greta Eagan

The Author

Greta Eagan is an eco image consultant, fashion writer, and sustainable living expert. She studied Fashion Marketing and Promotion at the London College of Fashion. She’s the founder of Fashion Me Green. The site serves as a source for eco-friendly beauty and fashion. 

The Book

Wear No Evil speaks to the people whose values include ethical and sustainable fashion. It offers a look into the effects of the textile industry on the people and the planet. Greta addresses topics such as slave labor, sweatshops, and the effects of toxic textile chemicals on the environment. In a bid to help you regain your power as a consumer, the book provides an Integrity Index. This serves as a way to identify the ethics behind fashion products. Generally, you’ll be armed with facts, a closet-cleaning exercise, and a directory of eco-friendly products. 

Buy on Amazon

4. Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It

By Anna Lappé

The Author

Anna Lappé is an author and a respected advocate for food justice and sustainability. For 15 years, Anna has been using her platforms to promote the idea that our food systems serve a bigger purpose. This includes protecting the environment, promoting health, and providing quality jobs. She was named one of Time Magazine's “Eco-Who's Who.” She is also a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute. 

The Book

Diet for a Hot Planet analyses the impact of our food culture and systems, with a focus on climate issues. The book reveals how the diet choices we make and the management of garbage contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. For anyone who’s committed to healing the planet, this book raises crucial conversations aimed at empowering people to eat right for the environment. Here, you’ll find a connection between the way we eat to global warming.

Buy on Amazon

5. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook

By Sandy Black

The Author

Sandy Black is a fashion and Textile Design and Technology professor at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She has in-depth and extensive experience in the fashion industry and academia. 

The Book

This sourcebook addresses the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. It takes a look at the well-being of factory workers and ethics. This sourcebook features contributions from experts such as academics, designers, craft specialists, journalists, and eco-entrepreneurs. There are multiple essays by leading writers and statements from designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, and Hussein Chalayan. You’re also presented with case studies on topics such as the life cycle of textiles and fair trade projects. Together, these help you make more informed purchase decisions. 

Buy on Amazon

6. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

By Bea Johnson

The Author

Bea Johnson is an environmental activist, motivational speaker, and author. Bea is credited with being the initiator of the zero waste lifestyle movement. She is sometimes called the mother of the movement

The Book

The book presents both the story of Bea’s family’s journey to a waste-free lifestyle and a guide to transforming your lifestyle. We’re presented with how family life changed for her after being able to reduce their thrash to just a liter per year. It also presents tips, practical how-to’s, and insights to help you simplify your life. From reusing food storage containers to reducing junk mail, these tips help you reduce your carbon footprint. 

Buy on Amazon 

7. 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste 

By Kathryn Kellogg

The Author

Kathryn Kellogg is the founder of Going Zero Waste. This is a lifestyle website she has dedicated to helping people live sustainable and healthier lives. She is a recognized person in the waste-free movement. 

The Book

In this book, Kathryn shares tips and advice for responsible consumption. It serves as a blueprint for practical tips and tools to make eco-friendly lifestyle changes. Kathryn also offers DIY recipes for you and your home. 

Buy on Amazon

8. Awakenings: A Guide to Living a Vegan Lifestyle 

By Lucy Watson

The Author

Lucy Watson is an author, a PETA ambassador, and an RSPCA campaigner. She is committed to animal activism and addresses this in her body of work.

The Book

Beyond what we eat, a vegan lifestyle addresses other aspects of life, such as what we wear and own. In this book, Lucy demystifies the changes to veganism. She provides practical solutions to reducing environmental impact and embracing ethical choices. Essentially, it covers the basics of living as a vegan. 

Buy on Amazon

9. Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time 

By David Johnston, with Kim Master

The Author

David Johnston has been active within the green buildings movement for the past 30 years. He is the founder and president of What’s Working, Inc., an internationally recognized sustainability consultancy. Over the years, he has trained many builders and industry professionals. He has earned several awards and has influenced the construction of thousands of green homes. 

The Book

Green Remodelling addresses sustainable home design. If you’re looking to remodel in a healthy and eco-friendly way, it serves as a comprehensive guide. The book addresses the advantages of green remodeling, leading to less pollution from fossil fuels and fewer health risks. It then offers solutions and ideas for green remodeling. 

Buy on Amazon

10. Sustainability for the Rest of Us: Your No-Bullshit, Five-Point Plan for Saving the Planet 

By John Pabon

The Author

John Pabon’s work focuses on strategic communication, sustainability, and geopolitics. For over 15 years, his work has led him to advise organizations, governments, and corporations. John is a member of the United Nations Association of Australia. He serves on the board of advisors to the US Green Chamber of Commerce. 

The Book

This is one of those books that forces you into questioning the actual impact of your sustainable endeavors. In Sustainability for the Rest of Us, John takes us on a journey to reveal why our eco-friendly efforts may not yield the greatest results in the grand scheme of things. Regardless of your experience in this field, you’ll be armed with what you need to change. It also presents why we need to change and how we can make that happen.

Buy on Amazon

11. Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys 

By Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop

The Author

Paul Wheaton is knowledgeable and passionate about permaculture. As a result, he has created DVDs, courses, podcasts, articles, and videos about permaculture design. 

Shawn Klassen-Koop initially pursued computer engineering as a career. Afterward, he had the desire to create solutions to the problems of modern technology. This was when he discovered permaculture as a way to use his skills to work with nature.

The Book

Several books highlight environmental problems but fail to give concrete, actionable steps. In this book, Paul and Shawn provide actionable steps for you to make a difference - right from your home. They provide solutions and alternatives to help you reduce your environmental footprint. From simple changes to more complex ones, there’s something for everyone. 

Buy on Amazon

12. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More 

By Erin Boyle

The Author

Erin Boyle is a writer and photographer. She’s also a former editor at Gardenista, a sourcebook for cultivated living. She has a blog where she offers practical and purposeful approaches to slow, simple and sustainable living. 

The Book

Simple Matters offers Erin’s insights and practical guidance for conscious consumption and small-space living. It supports the notion that simple and purposeful living is sustainable for the environment and our well-being and health. She presents essays, projects, and advice on being resourceful and inventive even in a small place. Simple Matters is your guide to living with less and ending up with more. This means more free time, more savings, more things of beauty, and more time with loved ones. With an emphasis on living in a small place, Erin provides easy ideas to simplify your life. 

Buy on Amazon 

13. EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends

By Janice Cox and Lauren Cox

The Author

Janice Cox is a natural beauty expert. She teaches the techniques of making your products with simple at-home ingredients. Jamie is the author of 3 best-selling books. She is a member of many associations, including The Herb Society of America, the International Herb Association, and the United States Lavender Growers Association. 

Lauren Cox is Janice’s daughter. She has been making her beauty products for over ten years. 

The Book

The global personal care industry, which generates about $500 billion yearly, largely relies on plastic. As a result, it heavily contributes to pollution. In EcoBeauty, you’ll learn new DIY recipes to create your own eco-friendly beauty products at home. After all, making your own products helps you not only save the environment but your money as well.

Buy on Amazon

Related: 18 Best Zero Waste Makeup Brands for Sustainable Beauty Routines

14. Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!

By Michael SanClements

The Author

Michael SanClements is a scientist at the National Ecological Observatory Network. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology. His research works, as an ecologist, have been published in several journals. Michael is an affiliate faculty member of the University of Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. 

The Book

In Plastic Purge, Michael SanClement provides scientifically backed information to explain the effects of plastic toxins on health and well-being. If you have questions about the impacts of plastic, Plastic Purge provides you with the necessary information. The book divides plastics into the categories of good, bad, and ugly. It goes on to offer practical tips on how to reduce the number of ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ plastics within the home. 

Buy on Amazon

Conclusion

If you’re on the path of sustainable living, these books offer insights, tips, and practical steps to support you. They target various aspects of your life, from simple DIY products to home remodeling. The most important thing to take away is that sustainable living is achievable.

1

Cohen, S. (2017). Understanding the Sustainable Lifestyle. The European Financial Review, 7-9

Jennifer is a content writer with an educational background in Public Relations and Advertising. From her desk in Lagos, Nigeria, she helps businesses around the world reach and connect with their audiences.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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