5 Podcasts to Stay up to Date With Climate Action

by Rachel Smyth

Drilled
Told like a true crime podcast, where the offender is Big Oil and ordinary people are the victims, Drilled is a fascinating and shocking look into the deepest secrets of the fossil fuel industry. The show has been running since 2016 and has seven full seasons for you to get stuck into, plus bonus episodes along the way. Each season follows a new story from investigative journalist Amy Westervelt, in which she digs deep into the real factors behind climate policy decisions made in the USA and around the world. I would especially recommend Season 7, The ABCs of Big Oil, where Drilled collaborates with online climate newspaper Earther to find out how Big Oil has been behind pervasive climate denial messaging in American schools and universities.

The Climate Alarm Clock
The Climate Alarm Clock is a weekly Irish podcast where the hosts discuss the latest climate news, interview experts, and chat with the people making a change in their communities. While the news stories discussed incorporate climate impacts around the world, discussions often focus on the Irish context. This is a great way to catch up on our national climate policy decisions and to find out more about the amazing work that Irish activists and small business owners are doing on a daily basis.

“a great way to catch up on our national climate policy decisions”

TILclimate
Looking to get into the nitty gritty facts of climate change? TILclimate might be the podcast for you. This award-winning podcast from MIT presents interviews with climate scientists and experts to explain the societal factors behind the climate crisis, the impacts on our planet and the viability of potential solutions. Broken down into short, 15-minute episodes, you can grab bite-sized insights into the future of climate change without getting overwhelmed!

TED Climate
As a part of TED’s Countdown initiative, which seeks to find solutions to the biggest problems of climate change, they have created TED Climate. Host Dan Kwartler compiles short TED talks from an interdisciplinary range of climate change experts, innovators and survivors. This podcast combines hard-hitting facts and inspiring ideas to drive home the urgency of climate change while leaving you focused on the solutions.

Mothers of Invention
Former Irish president Mary Robinson joins comedian Maeve Higgins and series producer Thimali Kodikara in this inspiring podcast based on climate justice through feminist solutions. The hosts shine a light on the uneven burden of the climate crisis on those who contribute the least, focusing on women and people of colour. Each episode features an interview with a new “mother” of the podcast, including speakers as diverse as Christiana Figueres, a key negotiator in the Paris Agreement, and Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives. Full of eye-opening stories and inspiring people from around the world, this is definitely worth a listen!

Simple Swaps for Waste Reduction

by Aoife Kiernan

Ireland produces more than 13 million tonnes of waste each year. This is equivalent to three hundred twenty-five thousand humpback whales (this is a lot of waste!) There are simple individual actions we can do to reduce the amount of waste we produce, without changing our daily habits drastically.

Bars

Bars are your best friend! By switching from plastic containers to solid bars you can completely eliminate the use of plastics from your shower routine. The range of products available in solid form is amazing, from shampoo, conditioner and soap to dishwashing detergent and body moisturiser. Although a bar of shampoo may look very small they will last ages, and usually contain natural ingredients that are gentle on your skin and better for your hair.

Shopping

When you do your grocery shopping, be conscious of the amount of packaging your food is packed in. Veg can be purchased loose, you don’t have to put them into the plastic bags available. There are several refill bulk buying shops around Dublin, where you can bring your own empty containers, fill them up and pay by weight. When you run out, you can bring back the same container and refill it. They tend to stock dry ingredients like pasta, rice, flour, cereals, nuts and herbs. Food shopping is one of the more difficult areas to completely eradicate waste, but some supermarkets are starting to take notice of a consumer driven desire to reduce packaging, with Asda in Britain bringing in refill zones in their shops.

Day to Day

Grab your tote! By carrying reusable cutlery with you when you go out, you can save yourself from using takeaway cups and utensils. Although the worry of transmitting the coronavirus has discouraged many coffee shops from taking keepcups, the conscious cup campaign is encouraging them to use the contactless cup method where staff can make the coffee in a mug and pour the coffee directly into your reusable cup without touching it. Other items that are handy to keep in your bag are a knife and fork, and a bottle of water. There are lots of taps around campus where you can fill your water bottle, a map of which can be found on the Trinity Green Pages Website (along with lots of other great resources).

Clothes Upcycling 101

by Rachel Smyth

Around the world, an enormous amount of clothing and textiles are wasted every day. As a result, more and more people are choosing to buy less and donate or swap unwanted clothes. But what about those pieces that have gone beyond wearable? 

Good news: there are plenty of ways that you can upcycle and jazz up your preloved pieces to create useful items you’ll love even more. In the last edition of Evergreen Magazine, I shared my own journey into sustainable sewing. This time, I’ve compiled some easy projects to help you get started too. Take inspiration from the DIY ideas below to transform your old clothes into zero waste essentials (and save some money at the same time!). 

Don’t want to repurpose your clothes completely? Here are some quick ideas before you start:

  1. Try some visible mending: There are countless creative ideas online for adding flair to your favourite garments while fixing holes and tears. 
  2. Add a pop of colour: Brighten up greyish whites with a natural dye- you’d be surprised how many everyday ingredients can be used to make a lasting dye. I’d recommend turmeric for yellow and avocado stones for light pink (yes, really). 
  3. Crop, chop and bedazzle: Channel your inner Project Runway and become the fashion designer of your dreams. Just try to avoid a wardrobe malfunction by getting too enthusiastic with the scissors…

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

Reusable makeup pads are a great way to move away from disposable cotton ones, and I find them even better at removing that stubborn mascara! For this quick project, all you’ll need is an old towel or face cloth for one side and some soft cotton or flannel for the other side:  pyjamas or a flannel shirt would be ideal. For all these projects, a simple sewing kit will work perfectly fine, but a sewing machine will speed up the process if you have it.

1. First, cut out a square of flannel and a square of towel material, 1cm bigger than you want the pad to be. 

2. Next, put your squares right side together and do a running stitch or backstitch all around, 1cm from the edge. Leave a small gap to turn them the right way around. 

3.Clip your corners to reduce bulk and turn them inside out, before ironing and stitching closed the opening. 

It’s great to keep a stack of these on hand for when you need them. Just rinse and pop them in a delicates bag in the washing machine when they’re dirty. 

Furoshiki Gift Wrap

This project is super versatile and simple to make. It is based on the Japanese tradition of furoshiki, a pretty square of fabric that can be used to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes. They can also be transformed into a variety of forms- from bags to scarves to bandanas. Check out the Spoonflower YouTube channel for tutorials on how to wrap gifts with furoshiki. 

  1. Find a garment with a surface area large enough for the wrap you want to make. This could be a gathered skirt, large t- shirt or silky scarf. 
  2. Cut out a square as big as you need. 
  3. If you want to finish the edges (not necessary for stretchy fabric) either use zig-zag scissors or turn down the edge and stitch all the way around.

 A furoshiki wrap prevents the waste of non-recyclable wrapping paper and is much easier to use for those awkward shapes. They are also a great addition to gifts as the recipient can reuse them for whatever they like. So why not make a few in preparation for this holiday season? 

T-Shirt Tote Bag

This one is no-sew! All you need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors. 

  1. Lay the t-shirt flat and carefully cut off the sleeves and neckline, along the curves. 
  2. Cut even slits about an inch apart all along the bottom of the tee. Longer strips will produce longer tassels and a shorter bag, while shorter strips will do the opposite.
  3. Finally, tie each strip to the corresponding strip on the other side and then each of these sets to the set beside. 

This will close up the bottom, with the remainders of the strips hanging off like tassels.

Now go forth and buy your groceries, no plastic bags in sight! Hopefully some of the ideas above will help you to see your unwanted clothes in a new way! Finally, for any fabric scraps or failed projects that won’t be used (it happens to the best of us), check your area for textile recycling banks that will take them (clothespod.ie has a full list). Let’s keep those textiles out of landfill once and for all and create a sustainable, circular system.

How to Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable


By Aoife Prunty

College. A time to start fresh. For a lot of us, that can include how we dress. The days of school uniforms, small towns, and online college are (hopefully) behind us, so maybe you feel it’s time to update your wardrobe, whether you want to start dressing older, brighter, bolder, or continue with your current style. Now we’re all in Dublin – and more importantly, Trinity – and it’s time to dress how you want to. But where to start?


When looking for new clothes, it’s easy to lean towards fast fashion sites. They are advertised everywhere: Instagram, TikTok, magazines, TV. It’s impossible to watch an episode of Love Island without being shown an ad for PrettyLittleThing every ten minutes. The main appeal of brands like Shein, Boohoo, and Bershka is their convenience. These companies are able to roll out vast amounts of trendy clothes for a low price and in very little time. This means I can go online and buy five pieces of clothing, spend very little money, and have it arrive at my house in a few days. Sounds great, right? But these low prices come at a high cost.


Fast fashion brands are notorious for having poor working conditions for those who make their clothes. Workers are underpaid and overworked – some of the reasons why these clothes can be sold for such low prices. The clothes are made with cheap materials and are not made to last, resulting in tons of clothes ending up in landfills every year. Factory emissions and chemicals which run off of materials in the manufacturing process pollute the environment around us, causing further damage to our planet. There is an overwhelming amount of negatives that come alongside the fast fashion industry. Now that we understand what some of these are, it’s time to look at how we can improve.
How can we be better?


When we think of sustainable fashion, we often think of brands like Patagonia, who use recycled materials and ethical practices to produce their clothes. These brands are great but can often fall into a higher price bracket (which isn’t always student-friendly). Fortunately, other methods of sustainable shopping can actually save you money!

Buy second-hand
If you know where to look, second-hand clothes can make for a fabulous addition to your wardrobe. Dublin is home to many vintage stores, including Tola Vintage, Dublin Vintage Factory, Lucy’s Lounge, Nine Crows, and more. These stores sell vintage and sometimes reworked clothes for a range of prices to fit everyone’s budgets. For example, the Dublin Vintage Factory prices their clothes by weight, with 1kg costing €20.
There are also plenty of charity shops in Dublin which sell second-hand clothes. It takes a good eye, but sometimes you can strike gold and find some stylish pieces at a meager price- while also donating to some great charities such as the Saint Vincent de Paul, Barnardos, and Liberty.
Depop is another way to source second-hand clothes. The app allows users to buy and sell each other’s clothes, shoes, jewellery, and more. Some small businesses also use the platform to sell their handmade products. Before purchasing a brand-new piece of clothing, I find it is a good idea to search for it on Depop first. This way, I might find the exact thing I am looking for at a lower price while simultaneously contributing to a more sustainable fashion industry. You can often find items that are brand new or in perfect condition on the app.

Upcycle
Upcycling is a fun and creative way to change up your wardrobe. Whether it’s some old clothes you don’t wear anymore, or a charity shop find that doesn’t fit quite right, a needle and thread (or even just a pair of scissors) are your new best friends.
Trousers can be shorts, t-shirts can be cropped, a dress can be a skirt, and almost anything (with a few extra supplies) can be transformed into a tote bag or a bucket hat! Rather than throwing away clothes with tears or holes, learn to fix or cover them up. If an article of clothing is faded or maybe stained, dying it a new colour can give it a whole new life.
If you feel like your sewing skills aren’t quite up to scratch, bringing your clothes to a tailor is a great way to ensure they are repaired correctly and that they fit perfectly. Upcycling saves you money and also allows you to add a more personal touch to your outfits.

Share
Another way to craft a sustainable wardrobe is to share clothes. Now I don’t mean to go and ask your flatmates if you can borrow their socks, but think of more exclusive items. Say, for example, you’re going to a wedding. Do you need to buy a brand new dress that you’ll only wear that one time? Or is it possible that your friend has the perfect dress for the occasion? Again, swapping and borrowing is an easy way to keep your wardrobe fresh and exciting without making unnecessary purchases.

Buy less
At the end of the day, the number one way to reduce our fashion’s impact on the environment is to buy less. I’m not saying we need to stop buying clothes altogether. But we need to make smart decisions about what we buy and try to refrain from impulse purchases. We can do this by only buying pieces we know we will wear more than once or twice. Look at the dress you’re about to purchase and ask yourself, will it still be in fashion in six months? If not, is it worth buying?
Most importantly, we need to take good care of our clothes. This means washing and drying, as it says on the label. This way, we can stretch out their lifespan and keep them looking good and new.
In short, your wardrobe is an investment. Not only do your purchases affect you, but also the planet.

Remember; nobody is perfect – I’ve fallen victim to a Zara sale more times than I’d like to admit – but the main idea here is that we are aware of the impact of our fashion choices and that we make an effort to be better. In my experience, I feel much more satisfied when I buy second-hand, or upcycle, or make my own clothes than when I grab a few bits in Penneys out of boredom. The pieces which I didn’t buy on impulse or in a sale happen to be the ones in which I feel the most comfortable (and receive the most compliments). The lesson here is that shopping sustainably isn’t difficult, it just requires a little bit of extra effort for a much higher reward!

Sewing my Way to Sustainability

By Rachel Smyth


While browsing in my local library a few months ago, I came across a small hardback book called Make Do and Mend: Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations (with foreword by Jill Norman). The book was a compilation of leaflets published by the British government during WWII, encouraging households to conserve everything from clothes to fuel to food. Mostly, it was made up of short guides teaching ordinary people how to make their clothes last as long as possible through mending, upcycling, washing and storing correctly. While the leaflets are definitely of their time and heavily emphasise a woman’s role in the home, I was struck by the amount of information that remains highly relevant today. Just as today’s TikTok tutorials show how to flip an oversized shirt into a trendy crop top, these wartime instructions suggest turning ‘men’s pyjamas into small children’s underclothes, sleeping suits, nightdresses, overalls, blouses and shirts or summer frocks’. They also provide illustrated guides to widely forgotten skills like darning, reinforcing and lengthening or shortening clothes.


Before the wartime period, clothes were much more expensive than today, with average families only affording a few garments per person. Each purchase was carefully considered in terms of usefulness and durability. In wartime, clothing rations heightened the need to invest in high-quality pieces: if something was damaged, there was no guarantee that a replacement could be procured that season or the next. In the post-war boom, the relief of rations and intensified industrialisation of the clothing industry led to cheaper and more readily available clothing. Today, the fashion industry is unrecognisable to its form eighty odd years ago. Fast fashion brands churn out billions of garments a year, many of which are thrown out or stashed deep in wardrobes as next season’s fashion overthrows the previous. Global sustainable fashion activists have been demanding a new system for years, one that treats both people and the planet well and values the clothes that are still in circulation before new ones are made. It seems to me that we should return to the principles of ‘making do and mending’ that were so important during ration times, even if the government does not provide the same practical advice and support necessary to transition. Having basic sewing skills opens the door to many more options than donating or throwing away. We must take the responsibility to halt the speeding train of consumption and strive for a circular clothes economy.


I learned to sew when I was ten or eleven, starting off with a simple needle, thread and some scrap fabric. I had always liked working with my hands and loved all sorts of crafts, from card-making and knitting to painting and pottery in school. I began to receive craft books for Christmas and birthdays, which taught me to sew little things for myself and my family, like cushions and dolls and even a basic skirt. After a while, I asked for a sewing machine for my birthday, eager to move on to the next level. My Nana was a seamstress in her youth and now possesses a wealth of information about sewing and garment construction. She would often come over and sit down to help with my latest project after a cup of tea. It was both exciting and frustrating- I would get impatient with my cheap, often faulty sewing machine but was always delighted when something worked out that I was proud of. Despite being decades older, my Nana’s metal sewing machine was made to last and was generally more reliable when my own decided to quit. I continued sewing through secondary school, eventually upgrading my machine, investing in new tools and taking over part of our old playroom for a sewing space. Although I was inconsistent due to exams and busy schedules, sewing and crafting were great creative outlets and allowed me to take pride in something non-academic. I now have two machines: my trusty Janome sewing machine and a Singer overlocker that gives fabric edges a professional look (I found it second-hand in perfect condition online!). I have moved on from kids’ craft books and five-minute YouTube tutorials to detailed sewing books and patterns. I have also discovered the sewing community on Instagram, which is a great resource to gain inspiration, connect with fellow sewists and improve my skills.


Starting out sewing, it only made sense to use fabrics and clothes I already owned to avoid ruining new and expensive material. I remember buying an ugly dress in a second-hand fair (and making it into an uglier skirt!), receiving bags of “retro” clothes from my grandparents and piles of old curtains and fabrics from neighbours. Inspired by “thrifted transformations” upcycling videos, my sewing friend and I did an upcycling challenge with charity shop dresses, I separately bought pairs of second-hand jeans to turn into denim bags. While I did progress to purchasing new materials, the love of upcycling has never left me, and I always peruse my stash and charity shops before going on the hunt. I’ve recycled my family’s old jeans into a patchwork picnic mat with pockets still intact to stick snacks into. In Transition Year, I started making jewellery from recycled paper and fabric to sell at local fairs, which I continued for a few years. One of my favourite ways to use scrap flannel (think pyjamas, shirts) and cotton is to make reusable makeup remover pads, which help the planet in more ways than one. More recently, I made a kimono style jacket from contrasting black and red fabric scraps. I love the feeling that it is uniquely mine. There is no fear of matching with your friends when you make something yourself! My latest projects were upcycling a pair of disposable hotel slippers and my Dad’s old jacket. I covered the slippers in fabric to create cute bee-patterned sliders and created a cosy zip-up fleece with the jacket lining. I always have a pile of clothes ready to upcycle, and it’s exciting to experiment and see what’s possible. If you’re new to sewing, starting with altering a pre-existing garment can be less daunting than a blank piece of fabric. Looking inside my own clothes helped me learn how they were constructed and gave me a deep appreciation for the level of skill and hard work that textile workers put into every garment.

“I love the feeling that it is uniquely mine. There is no fear of matching with your friends when you make something yourself!”


My Nana still comes over for a cup of tea and a sewing chat. Recently she brought me several pairs of linen trousers that she had painstakingly seam ripped into pieces for me to reuse, declaring that I’d “get something out of them” and that they were “too good to waste”. Her ethos of reusing old clothes and appreciating quality material has rubbed off on me so that I find the most joy in transforming old material or garments with a previous life. We may not have government-issued pamphlets instructing us how to darn the perfect hole or reinforce a pair of knickers for maximum durability. But between sustainable practices passed down from our grandparents and the rising upcycled fashion movement across online platforms, we have more resources today than ever before. Nothing is stopping us from taking back control of our wardrobes and, through collective effort, the global fashion industry.

Clean Beauty Edition

By Anna Barry

With the sudden outburst of advertising and opinions on social media in recent years, it’s no wonder the cosmetics industry is as big as it is. We are constantly bombarded with ads on Facebook and Instagram through influencers, with videos on TikTok and YouTube informing us about all the new “must have” cosmetics every day. Seeing as there are 365 days in a year, except for leap years of course, and there are approximately 7.9 billion people in the world, this equates to various ‘must have’ cosmetic items being purchased by billions of people every day because of ever changing, daily trends. Unfortunately, the background of these products tends to get overlooked, and the only thing that matters is that you have it. For example, CereVe blew up in recent years, with Tiktok creating a CereVe craze among viewers. However, did you know that CereVe still tests on animals?

A large majority of the cosmetics on our shelves are unfortunately NOT cruelty-free and contain harmful ingredients such as microplastics and sulphates. We can call this “Toxic Beauty”. What are microplastics, you may ask? Microplastics are tiny plastic pieces less than 5 mm in length which are very harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. Lush and Maybelline are among two of the worst cosmetic brands in terms of microplastics. What we want to support is “Clean Beauty”. So, what is clean beauty? Clean Beauty incorporates ethically sourced products created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients. Clean Beauty holds the health of our bodies and the environment as a key priority. It sounds a lot better than “Toxic Beauty”, doesn’t it? So why do people still purchase cosmetics from these toxic beauty brands? The answer is convenience and a lack of information. These brands advertise so much that we inadvertently build a rapport with and trust them and thus, continue to use them. They also use deceptive terms that try to suggest that they are ‘clean’ when in fact, they are purposely misleading the customer. Take, for example, Benefit. I always thought Benefit was a cruelty-free brand as they always promoted a clean outlook and claimed to not test on animals, but then fact NOT cruelty-free and contain nasty ingredients. They allow their finished products to be tested on animals where required by law and allow third parties to perform animal testing as well.

Other well-known brands that are NOT cruelty-free include: Maybelline New York, L’Oréal, MAC, Benefit, Lancôme, Always, CeraVe, Colgate, Estée Lauder, Pantene, Head and Shoulders…. just to name a few. If you are ever unsure whether a brand is cruelty-free or not, check out Cruelty-Free Kitty. It is a fantastic online resource that allows you to quickly and easily search up any brand and unearth any ambiguous claims they may have made. Now the challenge is to find the cruelty free brands that will work for you. You might think, “that’s a lot of effort, and I like the products I’m using at the moment”, but if you know what to look for, it is so easy to make the switch.

Firstly, look for a cruelty-free symbol:

Then, look through the ingredients and look for these nasty ingredients to avoid, such as; parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Toluene, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Formaldehyde, Diethanolamine, Triclosan, Artificial Parfum. There is evidence to show that these ingredients are harmful to our bodies and the environment.

Finally, you can use the “Beat the Microbead” app, which allows you to scan the ingredients of a product to check for microplastics.

I know this sounds like a lot of effort but putting that little bit of extra effort in will make a huge difference in the fight against animal testing and, in turn, help our environment and our own health. You may not think that buying a clean beauty item rather than a toxic beauty item would make much difference, but in fact, yes, it will. Every change adds up, and when all added together, they can have a huge impact. Once you increase the demand for something, companies will always follow demand to make as much money as possible. Don’t give the companies the power. Support clean beauty and join the revolution.

Must Read Books for Every Environmental Activist

by Aoife Robertson

Climate Justice – Mary Robinson
As the first female president of Ireland and a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson uses her experience to write a wonderful book on the women behind the climate change movement. In Climate Justice, she writes the stories of women she met who are facing hardships as a result of climate change. An emotional and inspiring read, it becomes clear that those at the frontline of climate change are often those that are contributing the least to global warming. Mary Robinson expertly shows just how interconnected environmentalism is with feminist and humanitarian causes. With first-hand accounts of the environmental crisis, women from all walks of life tell their stories and detail what they are doing to combat the difficulties faced in their communities. This book puts people at the forefront of the climate catastrophe and creates a sense of urgency to combat climate change – not just for ourselves but for those who need it most.

The Lorax – Dr Seuss
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” The Lorax has become an iconic figure in children’s literature and not just because of the humorous rhymes that Dr Seuss weaves into his storytelling. The Lorax is a wonderful little creature who tries to protect the trees and the animals that live amongst them as the Once-ler starts chopping down the forest and polluting the environment so that he can make a quick profit. The Lorax warns the Once-ler that this will all lead to no good, however, the Once-ler does not listen, and soon there are no trees left. This short book ends with the message that “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This is a great book to introduce children to the importance of looking after the environment or even just as a fun, light read for experienced climate activists!

Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
Silent Spring is often regarded as the starting point of the 1960s environmentalism movement. In this groundbreaking book, Rachel Carson outlines the dangers facing the American public as a result of synthetic pesticide use, in particular, DDT. DDT is now known to have disastrous ecological effects as it trickles up the food chain, accumulating in the fatty tissues of animals, including humans, resulting in genetic defects such as cancer. However, in the 1950s and 60s, DDT was hailed as a miracle pesticide that could clear entire islands of malaria-carrying insects. The release of Silent Spring brought public awareness to the devastation DDT was wrecking on plants, animals and humans alike and can be credited for the eventual banning of DDT in many countries. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in environmentalism in the late 20th century!

No. More. Plastic. – Martin Dorey
No. More. Plastic. is a short, easy read detailing what minor differences we can make to reduce our plastic consumption. This book is excellent for anyone who wants to reduce their plastic use but does not know where to start. Martin Dorey breaks the book into bite-sized chunks that deal with the problems of plastics, why recycling isn’t the solution and differences we can make in our homes, workplace and families. Although this may sound like every environmental self-help book ever written, what is refreshing about Dorey’s take on the subject is that he acknowledges the roles large corporations play in the plastic problem and admits that although one person may not be able to stop climate change, the actions we take in our everyday life can add up to something much bigger. Including sample emails to government members and startling statistics on major plastic polluters, Dorey helps guide the reader towards the beginning steps of environmental activism. This book is definitely recommended for anyone feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of their activist journey!

Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered – E.F. Schumacher
Do you have an interest in sustainable economics? If so, then you should definitely pick up this book! Small is Beautiful critically examines how economics works in a capitalist society and looks at the downfalls that come along with this. Schumacher speaks at length about Buddhist economics and what it would mean to be economically successful in a society that places value on the human costs of globalisation. Mainstream economics works on the assumption that “bigger is better”, but as environmentalists know, bigger can often be much worse! By placing value on nature and creating a measure of sustainability, Schumacher was the first to coin the term “natural capital”. If you want to learn more about how we can be more economically sustainable, this book is for you.

Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North – Adam Weymouth
In Kings of the Yukon, Adam Weymouth goes on a journey along the 2,000 mile long Yukon River in Canada in an attempt to document the salmon migration. This book instantly draws the reader in with wonderfully descriptive text and a story that focuses on the lived experiences of those living alongside the river. Weymouth listens to indigenous voices and documents the struggles they are facing as a result of climate change, along with the impact it has had on salmon populations and river patterns. This is sharply contrasted with stories of giant corporations and their subsequent exploitation of the already declining natural resources. For anyone interested in the importance of lived experiences and indigenous knowledge, this book offers an emotional and gripping narrative of the history, science and people behind the King Salmon of the Yukon.

Rewilding: The Radical New Science of Ecological Recovery – Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe
Rewilding involves the restoration and protection of natural areas with the aim of allowing biological processes to establish themselves. Rewilding is a relatively new and often controversial topic in the world of conservation science, and this book brilliantly breaks down what rewilding is, the benefits it can have, and the various forms it can take. Jepson and Blythe have formatted the text in a really accessible and understandable layout without the overly academic jargon that is often seen in books such as this, making this an easy read for everyone regardless of scientific background. Jepson and Blythe do not assume that the reader is familiar with the topic, and they break down the conversation surrounding rewilding using examples and case studies from around the world. Definitely an excellent read for anyone who wants to look at alternative conservation methods!

Diary of a Young Naturalist – Dara McAnulty
At age 16, Dara McAnulty became the youngest person ever to win a major literary award when he was announced the winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing for his first book, Diary of a Young Naturalist. This book is truly a delight to read as Dara takes us through the changing seasons in his Northern Ireland home from his perspective as a young person with autism. Using extraordinarily vivid descriptions, the reader is fully immersed in awe of the natural world, and we cannot help but share the deep connection that Dara feels with his surrounding environment and the concern that he shows for nature in the face of a changing climate. However, the truly magical aspect of this book is that anyone, young or old, can read it. Younger readers may find a piece of themselves in the narrative, while older readers could find this book as an opportunity to regain some of the childlike wonder for nature that they may have lost. As Dara McAnulty himself said, “In sharing this journey my hope is that people of all generations will not only understand autism a little more but also appreciate a child’s eye view on our delicate and changing biosphere.”

Dune – Frank Herbert
One of the only fiction books on this list, Dune is a series that revolves around challenges in the face of a changing environment. It is unlikely that Herbert wrote the series with the intent to shine a light on the climate crisis, however, the plot throughout the books is continually driven by the changing ecology of the planet Arrakis. Originally a hot, arid planet covered almost entirely in desert, the exploitation of natural resources results in the retreat of the sandy dunes and increasing pressures on the local people, Fremen. The Fremen even have an Imperial Planetologist who imagines a planet full of lush greenery and abundant water, although he sometimes expresses concerns for what this would mean for the future of the planet’s wildlife. As well as ecological themes Dune is a story of family and friendships, along with epic battle scenes and mind-blowing technologies. A brilliant read for any sci-fi fan but particularly riveting for those interested in the environment.

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thunberg.
A collection of eleven speeches written and presented by Greta Thunberg, No one is too small to make a difference is a must-read for every environmental activist. Greta Thunberg is possibly the best known environmental activist and has undoubtedly impacted the lens through which we view activism. As one of the founders of the school climate strikes Fridays for Future, Thunberg acts as a role model for many young people who previously felt powerless in the fight for climate action. The speeches selected for this collection were delivered over 2018 and 2019 and were hugely inspiring for those who heard them. This book offers new environmental activists an opportunity to learn what kickstarted the most recent wave of activism and for more experienced activists to revisit what themes and motivations continue to propel environmental activism forwards.

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