In my Inkwell post a couple months ago I mentioned that I was thinking about creating a new blog series for readers who want to explore some of the big issues that are facing our country–and the world–today.
In each “Activist Reads” post I will recommend a few books and other resources on a topic. Some of these books I have read; some are recommendations from others. I will also outline ways you can get involved–by donating money, signing a petition, or volunteering–and make a real difference.
I want to start with the environment because it’s the issue I’m most passionate about and have spent the most time researching over the years.
The environment is a big, gnarly, complicated issue, which is why I’ve decided to divide it into sub-topics that I will cover in separate installments. This post will focus on fracking, fossil fuels, and climate change. In future posts I will cover industrial agriculture, decreasing biodiversity, animal welfare, and conservation. All of these topics are interconnected but I think it would be overwhelming to try to fit them all under one umbrella.
Recommended Books + Resources
If you’re looking for a basic primer on climate change that outlines all the facts and answers frequently asked questions, try Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm.
To dig a little deeper into this issue, try Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. It’s also a documentary that is available on iTunes.
If you want to learn more about how science can combat global warming, read Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World by Bill Nye. (This was recommended to me by Book Riot contributing editor Jessica Pryde and fellow contributor Jen Sherman.)
To learn more about fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a particularly dangerous method of extracting oil and natural gas, and the crooked history of oil and gas industries, read Frackopoly by Wenonah Hauter.
If you have conservative friends or family that believe climate change is a hoax, I strongly recommend pointing them in the direction of Katharine Hayhoe, an Evangelical Christian and climate scientist from Texas. She gave an excellent TEDx talk designed to convince doubters that climate change is real.
How You Can Make a Difference
There are a lot of environmental nonprofits in this country. Unfortunately, in an effort to “negotiate” and “find common ground” with the oil and gas industries, many of them end up sacrificing their ideals and have very little impact as a result. It is my opinion that Food & Water Watch is different in this regard. They have fought hard and won a number of victories in the legislative arena. In fact, they were instrumental in passing a bill that banned fracking in Maryland just a couple weeks ago. They also offer opportunities for volunteer work and almost always have some kind of petition going on their website. I highly recommend getting involved with them. (Incidentally, the executive director of Food & Water Watch is Wenonah Hauter, the author of Frackopoly.)Activist Reads: Fossil Fuels, Fracking, + Climate ChangeClick To Tweet
Another way you can support energy solutions that curb climate change is by divesting from banks, stocks, etc. that support the oil and gas industries. You can learn more about divesting at GoFossilFree.org.
If you have some extra funds and are looking for ways to reduce your own dependence on fossil fuels, you might want to consider switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle or powering your home with solar panels. (Also, consider Mosaic if you want to go solar.) Keep in mind that electricity comes from different sources, many of them dirty, so switching over to solar will probably have a bigger impact than buying an electric or hybrid car.
There are lots of ways to support the move toward a more sustainable energy future. Get creative!
What are the best books you’ve read about climate change? What are you doing to halt climate change?