The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis, by Christina Conklin and Marina Psaros, 2021. A guide to global warming's impacts on specific coastal communities around the world, illustrated with unique ink-and-dried-seaweed-technique maps. "A beautiful work of art and an indispensable resource to learn more about the devastating consequences of the climate crisis--as well as the possibilities for individual and collective action."
Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh, 2021. Combining action-adventure, Bengali folklore, climate change, refugees, and endangered species, written with the author's usual "exuberant style and extraordinary linguistic facility. This important novel is an account of our current world, the one few writers have had the courage to face."(Annie Proulx)
The Drowned World by JG Ballard, 1962. Prescient science fiction set in the year 2145, in which global warming has melted the polar ice caps and abandoned cities are overrun with Triassic-era jungles. "Both a thrilling adventure and haunting examination of the effects of environmental collapse on the human mind."
The Carbon Diaries: 2015, and Carbon Diaries: 2017 by Saci Lloyd, 2009 and 2010. Young adult novels.
Laura, a student in London, keeps a diary as the UK imposes carbon rationing after weather-related disasters. She attempts to stay grounded as the stresses of rationing and extreme weather tear at the social fabric of her world.
The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, (Oryx and Crake 2003, The Year of the Flood, 2009,
MaddAddam, 2013). (Being adapted into a TV series by HULU). A "bio punk" post-apocalyptic world that "shows us how a new world can come from something which seemed always destined to break." The conclusion points towards the ultimate endurance of community and love.
Summer, by Abhijeeth, 2019.
It's a never ending summer
Every year is getting warmer
Stuck in an oven
A/C on twenty four seven
Nobody seems too worried though
busy dealing with life you know
Never ending summer
It's the new normal
Air around us filled with dust and smoke
Majestic whales filled with plastic
Nobody sheds a tear
Why would you care
For you it's only a slight discomfort
it's not an immediate threat
Why should I care about the oceans
Why should I care about the animals
They mean nothing to me and my life
This world is mine and mine only right
I am not gonna waste my time
thinking about humanity's crime
And besides what could I do to help
I am just a simple man busy with his life
I am not gonna reduce plastic in my life
I am not gonna raise my voice
Let these animals suffer
I got AC in my ivory tower
So let's burn our resources
Use plastic to fill our stomachs
And when it gets warmer next year
It will just be the new normal.
Last Safe Habitat, by Dr. Craig Santos Perez, 2022.
I don't want our daughter to know
that Hawai'i is the bird extinction capital
of the world. I don't want her to walk
around the island feeling haunted
by tree roots buried under concrete.
I don't want her to fear the invasive
predators who slither, pounce,
bite, swallow, disease, and multiply.
I don't want her to see paintings
and photographs of birds she'll never
witness in the wild.
I don't want her to
imagine their bones in dark museum
drawers. I don't want her to hear
their voice recordings on the internet.
I don't want her to memorize and recite
the names of 77 lost species and subspecies.
I don't want her to draw a timeline
with the years each was “first collected”
and “last sighted.”
I don't want her to learn
about the Kaua'i 'O'o, who was observed
atop a flowering 'Ohi'a tree, calling
for a mate, day after day, season after
season, because he didn't know he was
the last of his kind—
until one day, he disappeared,
forever, into a nest of avian silence.
I don't want our daughter to calculate
how many miles of fencing is needed
to protect the endangered birds
that remain. I don't want her to realize
the most serious causes of extinction
can't be fenced out.
I want to convince her
that extinction is not the end. I want
to convince her that extinction is
just a migration to the last safe habitat
I want to convince her
that our winged relatives have arrived
safely to their destination: a wondrous
island with a climate we can never
change, and a rainforest fertile
with seeds and song.
Lost, by Eric Abalajon, 2022.
The news immediately clarified
that no person was hurt
and no property was damaged
by the cow
when it wandered
into the stretch of Diversion Road
What wasn't seen,
or what escaped the minds of
people in traffic;
is that there's still patches of Mandurriao
with grasses that are taller than people.
is the one out of place.
An Uncertain Future, by Mary V. Botten, 2022.
Moving together, we pass through time,
Step by step, no reason nor rhyme.
Pondering on our existence here,
For nothing is certain, nothing is clear.
There are cracks in our foundations, cracks in our base,
This eroding, fragile world in which we are placed.
Immeasurable repairs are needed to restore
Our amazing earth that we should adore.
I feel we are breaking in every which way,
Moral fibre stretched thin and beginning to fray.
We have the gift of a life, a planet too,
Treasured by many but sadly too few.
Staring Through The Window by Justin Raphael Lopez Gutierrez, 2021.
My child, sit by my side,
have a look outside.
What do you see?
The sun and the sands,
the winds and the waves,
the grass and the trees;
They are our responsibility,
yet we have lost the ability
to maintain the beauty bestowed before us.
This magnificent land is ours,
yet we fail to find the hour
to stop and realize the condition we have left it in.
My child, sit by my side,
have a look outside.
What can you say?
I can only pray
that there be a day
where you can gaze upon the bluest of skies just as I once did;
Where you can experience vitality
from this grim reality
that we have turned our land into;
Where the scent of the meadows
suppress the sorrows
that we've sown on our own soil.
My child, sit by my side,
have a look outside.
What must we do?
Restoration is due;
return earth to its true
colors and vibrance and beauty and grace.
Evoke the natural ways,
bring back the breathable days
when the air was pure and fresh and crisp and clear.
It's time to embrace
to shatter the pattern
and break the cyclical destruction
of a home undeniably, unquestionably, irreplaceable.
And I know that we are able
to achieve the sustainable
and throw away the days where disposables were our disabilities.
There is no anonymity.
With one collective identity,
we are all accountable
to this sizeable responsibility
So my child, I tell you,
let the rivers flow,
let the flowers grow,
let the people know,
that the earth needs its glow.
It's an awakening
my child, are you listening?
Beyond that window
is a tomorrow full of opportunity,
and today, we must march in unity
because that is what it takes to rebuild this land.
It's at the palm of our hands
and it's time to take the ultimate stand
for a creation so magnificent.
This world is at war, yet again, the victims are the innocent;
There is no moment to be indifferent.
This land needs to heal, we need not be the impediment
And one thing is evident:
My child, we need our future
But it needs us to be present.
Speaking Tree by Joy Harjo, 2015. (U.S. Poet Laureate, Myskoke Creek nation)
I had a beautiful dream I was dancing with a tree —Sandra Cisneros
Some things on this earth are unspeakable:
Genealogy of the broken—
A shy wind threading leaves after a massacre,
Or the smell of coffee and no one there—
Some humans say trees are not sentient beings,
But they do not understand poetry—
Nor can they hear the singing of trees when they are fed by
Wind, or water music—
Or hear their cries of anguish when they are broken and bereft—
Now I am a woman longing to be a tree, planted in a moist, dark earth
Between sunrise and sunset—
I cannot walk through all realms—
I carry a yearning I cannot bear alone in the dark—
What shall I do with all this heartache?
The deepest-rooted dream of a tree is to walk
Even just a little ways, from the place next to the doorway—
To the edge of the river of life, and drink—
I have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down:
Imagine what would it be like to dance close together
In this land of water and knowledge. . .
To drink deep what is undrinkable
An Earth Song by Langston Hughes, 1925
It's an earth song,—
And I've been waiting long for an earth song.
It's a spring song,—
And I've been waiting long for a spring song.
Strong as the shoots of a new plant
Strong as the bursting of new buds
Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother's womb.
It's an earth song,
A body song,
A spring song,
I have been waiting long for this spring song
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Glacier (after Wallace Stevens) by Craig Santos Perez, 2016 (poets.org)
Among starving polar bears,
The only moving thing
Was the edge of a glacier.
We are of one ecology
Like a planet
In which there are 200,000 glaciers.
The glacier absorbed greenhouse
We are a large part of the biosphere.
Humans and animals
Humans and animals and glaciers
We do not know which to fear
The terror of change
Or the terror of uncertainty,
The glacier calving
Or just after.
Icebergs fill the vast ocean
With titanic wrecks.
The mass of the glacier
Disappears, to and fro.
Hidden in the crevasse
An unavoidable cause.
Oh vulnerable humans,
Why do you engineer sea walls?
Do you not see how the glacier
Already floods the streets
Of the cities around you?
I know king tides,
And lurid, inescapable storms:
But I know, too,
That the glacier is involved
In what I know.
When the glacial terminus broke,
It marked the beginning
Of one of many waves.
At the rumble of a glacier
Losing its equilibrium,
Every tourist in the new Arctic
Chased ice quickly.
They explored the poles
For offshore drilling.
Once, we blocked them,
In that we understood
The risk of an oil spill
For a glacier.
The sea is rising.
The glacier must be retreating.
It was summer all winter
It was melting
And it was going to melt
The glacier fits
In our warm-hands.
Maura Dooley, Still Life with Sea Pinks and High Tide, 2016
Thrift grows tenacious at the tide’s reach.
What is that reach when the water
is rising, rising?
Our melting, shifting, liquid world won’t wait
for manifesto or mandate, each
warning a reckoning.
Ice in our gin or vodka chirrups and squeaks
dissolving in the hot, still air
of talking, talking.
Matthew Olzmann, Letter to Someone Living 50 Years from Now, 2017
It begins with,
"Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,
the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations
of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction..."
Lynna Odel, November, 2020
It begins with,
"If I can't save us
then let me feel you
happy and safe
under my chin..."
Molly Fisk, Particulate Matter,2018 (about the CA wildfires)
It begins with,
“If all you counted were tires on the cars left in driveways and stranded beside the roads…”
Stay Cool: Why Dark Comedy Matters in the Fight Against Climate Change, by Aaron Sachs, 2021. The author contends that gallows humor can bolster us in this crisis, as it has throughout humanity's history of struggles and suffering. It can cultivate endurance, persistence, and solidarity. He "offers suggestions for how environmentalists can use dark comedy first to boost their own morale, and then to reframe their activism in more energizing and relatable ways."
The Octopus in the Parking Garage: a Call for Climate Resilience, by Bob Verchick, 2023. Photos of the 2016 incident in a Miami Beach condo went viral and struck the author as a "potent symbol of the disruptions that a changing climate has brought to our doorsteps." He stressed the need to wake up and prepare, and that climate resilience "means not just bouncing back but bouncing back better ," allowing communities to learn, adapt, and thrive.
Better Than New/Mejor Que Nuevo: A Recycle Tale, children's book by Robert Border, illustrated by Lake Buckley, 2022, made of sustainable materials. Two Chilean children rescue a sea lion from a plastic fishing net in the ocean, then recycle/repurpose the net into something "better than new". A children's bilingual picture book with bright, appealing artwork that teaches care for the earth and positive action.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, young readers'edition, a memoir by William Kamkwamba with Brian Mealer, 2016. When a terrible drought devastated his family's crops in Malawi, William, with the help of science books in his village library, looked for a solution. "He came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, the electricity helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land." Original book 2009, NETFLIX film 2019.
The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin, 2015-17. The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky made her the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, as well as the first to win for all three novels in a trilogy. In 2021, she was included in the Time 100, Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. "Jemisin's graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world."
My Days of Dark Green Euphoria, by A.E. Copenhaver, 2022. "Love, lies, and eco-anxiety--an irresistible satire about finding balance in a chaotic world." Winner of the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, debut novel by a "science communicator and climate interpreter" from Bellevue. As well as poking fun, it also confirms "how promising and inspiring a commitment to saving our planet can be.”
Collapse,How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond, 2005, 2nd ed. 2011. Pulitzer Prize-winning author looks at several societies in history (Easter Island, Greenland Norse) that collapsed, mostly as a result of misusing their natural resources. It raises the urgent question, "How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?"
The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate, ed. by Amy Brady and Tajja Isen, 2022. "Nineteen leading literary writers from around the globe offer timely, haunting first-person reflections on how climate change has altered their lives." The essays "grieve what we've already lost, honor what we still have, and prepare us for whatever may come next." Gets a full 5 stars on Amazon.
We are the Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth, edited by Dahr Jamail and Stan Rushworth, 2022. "Interviews with people from different North American Indigenous cultures who share their knowledge, experience, and dreams of maintaining the best relationship possible to all of life. A welcome antidote to the despair arising from the climate crisis, We Are the Middle of Forever brings to the forefront the perspectives of those who have long been attuned to climate change and will be an indispensable aid to those looking for new and different ideas and responses to the challenges we face."