Sustainable Living Books – Top 20 by WTVOX – create a better you.
I wasn’t surprised seeing the COVID-19 pandemic described as nature’s reaction to the damage caused by the human race.
These are times when living in balance with nature has become critical.
However, as not everybody knows how to do that, we’re here to help, with a top 20 ‘sustainable living’ books.
The list covers all aspects of sustainability, from the garments you wear to the food you eat.
You’ll also learn what is the minimalistic lifestyle and many other excellent tips on how to engage in sustainable living.
Without further ado, here’s our top 20 must-read sustainable living books:
1. ‘The Sustainable Fashion Handbook’ by Sandy Black & Hilary Alexander
This is a sourcebook on all aspects of sustainable fashion.
On one hand, it highlights the environmental issues caused by the wasteful and fast-moving fashion cycle.
On the other hand, the social impact of the global fashion industry, which employs up to forty million people worldwide in manufacturing and agriculture.
Sandy Black has assembled views from a diverse group with a range of perspectives.
She interviewed designers and technicians, academics and journalists, environmental and social action campaigners.
Craft specialists and artists, eco-entrepreneurs and representatives of global corporations.
Each chapter contains essays by leading writers and thinkers. It also has interviews and statements from key designers such as Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and Hussein Chalayan.
Finally, it has case studies on the life cycle of jeans, smart textiles, and fair trade projects.
2. ‘Don’t Even Think About It’ by George Marshall
Most of us recognize that climate change is real yet we do nothing to stop it.
What is the psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but acts as if it is not?
George Marshall’s search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and Texas Tea Party activists.
What he discovers is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own.
These views are gaining authority as we share them, dividing people in their wake.
The essence of the book is that once we understand what motivates us, we can rethink everything.
We can rethink climate change and how we can turn it from an impossible challenge to a fixable problem.
3. ‘EcoBeauty’ by Lauren Cox & Janice Cox
EcoBeauty has something valuable for everyone out there. Taking time to find it is the problem.
This is an ultimate natural-beauty “cookbook.”
It has easy and eco-friendly recipes for getting gorgeous with fresh ingredients from the kitchen.
It has lessons on how to make beauty products like scrubs, bath bombs, and face masks, all at home.
It is a great way to save money and help the environment. Moreover, if you follow and put in practice you’ll have gorgeous skin and hair.
A must-have for anyone who wants to be healthy, save money and make the world a more eco-beautiful place.
4. ‘Plastic Purge’ by Michael SanClements
Sustainable living books. Plastic is everywhere we look.
Our computers and children’s toys are made out of it.
Our water and slices of cheese are packaged in it.
But why is there so much and what is it doing to our bodies?
Is it possible to use lesser plastic, be happier and healthier?
Approachable and engaging, ‘Plastic Purge’ sustainable living book provides easy-to-follow advice.
Learn how to use fewer plastics, reap the benefits of eating a healthier diet, see how you can live with less clutter.
The author divides plastics into three separate categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Then, SanClements shows you how to deal with these types of plastics.
Embrace the good (items like your phone or medical equipment).
Avoid the bad (food storage containers and toys that contain toxic chemicals).
Use less of the ugly (single-use plastic that’s just plain wasteful).
Excellent book, highly recommended.
5. ‘Overdressed’ by Elizabeth L. Cline
‘Overdressed’ does for T-shirts and leggings what ‘Fast Food Nation’ did for burgers and fries.
As cheap fashion has become a serious problem, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut.
Discounting stores such as Target and traditional chains like JCPenny now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices.
Even worse; consumers have little reason to repair and keep wearing the clothes they already own.
Especially now, when styles change so fast and it is cheaper to just buy more.
What are we doing with all these cheap clothes?
And more importantly, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?
6. ‘Mindfulness for Compassionate Living’ by Dr. Patrizia Collard
Self-compassion is a life-changing way of thinking that is rooted in Mindfulness.
By learning to have more loving kindness and forgiveness for ourselves, we have more empathy and compassion for others.
The self-compassion movement has been growing rapidly over the past two years.
Recent research into the neuroscience of compassion is showing that changing our thinking habits makes new neural pathways in the brain.
It means that compassion can be learned.
The benefits of learning compassion are personal and global.
But more than compassion, in this book you’ll be learning how to manage chronic pain to relieve stress.
How to boos your immune system and circulation, along with improving relationships, as we connect more authentically with others.
With gentle exercises to try, meditations, visualizations and inspiring case studies, Awakening the Compassionate Mind is your first step in applying loving kindness first to yourself, then others, releasing negativity and living joyfully from the heart.
7. ‘Minimal’ by Madeleine Olivia
We are facing an urgent climate crisis and we must all take action now.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start when bombarded with overwhelming facts and statistics every day.
We all want to make a difference, but what can we do?
Minimal makes simple and sustainable living attainable for everyone, using practical tips for all areas of everyday life to reduce your impact on the earth.
Leading environmentalist Madeleine Olivia shares her insights on how to care for yourself in a more eco-friendly way.
Also, how to introduce a mindful approach to your daily habits.
How to declutter your life, reduce your waste and consumption, recipes for eating seasonally.
How you can make your own natural beauty and cleaning products.
Learn how to minimise the areas that aren’t giving you anything back and discover a happier and more fulfilled life, while looking after the Earth we share.
8. ‘Slow Fashion’ by Safia Minney
‘Slow Fashion’ offers creatives, entrepreneurs & ethical consumers alike a glimpse into a new world – the Eco-concept store movement.
Innovative, with sustainable designs and businesses that put people, livelihoods and sustainability central to everything they do.
Safia Minney argues that the future of bricks & mortar retail is in Fair Trade.
Trade sustainable and organic products, together with vintage, second hand and local produce.
Restorative economics, the well-being of our planet, our bodies and minds can be inspired by this growing sector and one that is shaping big business.
This book curates pioneering people and projects that will inspire you to be part of ‘the change’.
With full-colour photography and illustration throughout ‘Slow Fashion’ profiles people and the alternatives to the mainstream.
It is a place for conscious designers, labels and eco-concept stores across the world.
9. This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein
Forget everything you think you know about global warming.
It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism.
The good news is that we can transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.
Naomi Klein exposes the myths that are clouding the climate debate.
Sustainable Living Books
You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day.
You have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it.
It just requires breaking every rule in the ‘free-market’ playbook.
You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge.
In fact, all around the world, the fightback is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring.
10. ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ by Barbara Kingsolver
With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along a fascinating journey.
Away from the industrial-food pipeline, to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighbourhood.
Grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.
Their good-humoured search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants.
A route towards a food culture that’s better for the neighbourhood, but also better on the table.
Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the centre of family life and diversified farms at the centre of the American diet.
11. ‘Wear No Evil’ by Greta Eagan
Have you ever wondered, “How can I inherently do good while looking good?”
‘Wear No Evil’ has the answer and is the timely handbook for navigating both fashion and ethics.
It is the style guide with sustainability built in that we’ve all been waiting for.
As a consumer, you regain your power with every purchase.
You can support the causes and conditions you already advocate in other areas of your life (such as local or organic food).
Moreover, you can do it while upholding your sense of self through the stylish pieces you use to create your wardrobe.
‘Wear No Evil’ provides a roadmap founded in research and experience.
Moreover, the book is coupled with real-life experiences and everyday inspiration.
- Part 1 – presents the hard-hitting facts on why the fashion industry and our shopping habits need a reboot.
- Part 2 – moves you into a closet-cleansing exercise to assess your current wardrobe for eco-friendliness and how to shop green.
- Part 3 – showcases eco-fashion makeovers and a directory of natural beauty recommendations for face, body, hair, nails, and makeup.
Style and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. They can live in harmony.
It’s time to restart the conversation around fashion, how it is produced, consumed, and discarded.
It is time to fit with the world we live in today.
12. ‘Simple Matters’ by Erin Boyle
Erin Boyle shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption.
Equally pragmatic and philosophical, ‘Simple Matter’ is a nod to the growing eco-friendly consensus.
A belief that living simply and purposefully is more sustainable, not only for the environment but for our own happiness and well-being, too.
Boyle embraces the notion that “living small” is beneficial and accessible to us all.
Whether we’re renting a tiny apartment or purchasing a three-story house, you can be happy.
The book is filled with personal essays, projects, and helpful advice.
It teaches you how to be inventive and resourceful in a tight space.
‘Simple Matters’ also shows that living simply is about making do with less and ending up with more.
You’ll have more free time, more time with loved ones, more savings, and more things of beauty.
13. ‘The Story Of Stuff’ by Annie Leonard
We have a problem with ‘Stuff’.
With just five per cent of the world’s population, we’re consuming 30 per cent of the world’s resources while creating 30 per cent of the world’s waste.
In this book, Leonard reveals the true story behind our possessions.
See why it’s cheaper to replace a broken TV than to fix it.
Discover how “perceived obsolescence” encourages us to toss everything from shoes to cell phones while they’re still in perfect shape.
Learn how factory workers in Haiti or mine workers in Congo pay for our cheap goods with their health, safety, and quality of life.
It is a system in crisis, but Leonard shows us how we can stop the environmental damage, social injustice, and health hazards caused by polluting production and excessive consumption.
14. ‘Live Green’ by Jen Chillingsworth
Many of us are already doing what we can to adopt a greener lifestyle.
We recycle, try to reduce our waste and plastics, choose organic food when shopping, eat less meat and opt for environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Yet we often wish we were doing more and it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Live Green is a practical guide of 52 changes – one for each week of the year – you can make to your home and lifestyle to reduce your impact on the environment.
The book has all the ingredients to help you achieve a more sustainable year.
Sustainable Living Books
It covers all areas of your life: from your cleaning routine, home furnishings, food shopping, fashion choices, to natural beauty, and even Christmas.
You’ll learn how to make your own eco-friendly cleaning products.
How to buy vintage furniture. How to make your own moth repellent.
How to improve your natural beauty regime. Or, how to create a capsule wardrobe.
Overall, you’ll discover how to get the most out of life by living with intention.
15. ‘Walkable City’ by Jeff Speck
The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core.
But in the typical American city, the car is still king.
Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick.
In this essential new book, Speck reveals the invisible workings of the city, how simple decisions have cascading effects, and how we can all make the right choices for our communities.
It is a book bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples.
It is giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change.
Walkable City lays out a practical, and achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again.
16. ‘101 Ways To Go Zero Waste’ By Kathryn Kellogg
We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint.
But, it can be daunting to know where to begin.
Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her rubbish from the past two years into a 16-ounce jar. How?
She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.
In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home.
Get sound advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion and the office.
Find small secrets on how to go waste-free at the airport.
“It’s not about perfection”, she says. “It is about making better choices.”
This is a practical, friendly blueprint of realistic lifestyle changes for anyone who wants to reduce their waste.
17. ‘Slowing Down to the Speed of Life’ by Joseph Bailey & Richard Carlson
“Age-old wisdom presented in a practical, easy to understand manner that can be utilized by everyone.” —Bernie Siegel, M. D., author of Love, Medicine & Miracles
Newly revised and updated to address the increased stress of our modern times, this is a classic guide to creating a more peaceful, simpler life from the inside out.
The book contains practical and easy exercises to help you slow down your mind and focus on the present moment.
In the words of Dan Millman, bestselling author of ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’, this is a:
“…life-enhancing book with insightful principles for peaceful and productive living at work and at home.”
18. ‘Waste Not’ by Erin Rhoads
- What is in my cleaning products?
- Are these chemicals bad for my health?
- Do they damage the environment?
- How do I reduce the amount of plastic in my home?
These are questions we should all be asking when it comes to cleaning our homes.
‘Clean Green’ shows you how to tackle each room and cleaning task in a natural way.
From laundry detergent, toilet cleaner and furniture polish to hand wash, dishwashing liquid, stain remover and air freshener, all the recipes for natural products in this book are quick and simple to make and, most important of all, they work!
They’re not expensive either, many will save you money in the long term and help you to cut down on your plastic waste too.
19. The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide’ by Jane Gale
You want to save the planet, but your to-do list is too long.
Remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task.
Buying organic detergent gets in the way.
Sorting the garbage is the last thing on your mind.
If that’s how you feel every day, then this is the book for you.
It covers every aspect of our lives, from the stuff we buy and the food we eat, to how we travel, work, and celebrate.
This book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life.
It is a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.
Practical tips include unsubscribing from all the tempting emails that drop into your inbox with details of the newest clothing range or the latest sale.
Keeping a mug next to your kettle to work out how much water you actually need to boil each time, as overfilling kettles cost British households £68 million on energy bills each year.
This book will help you change your impact without radically changing your life.
Moreover, it’ll help you figure out the small steps you can make that will add up to make a big difference.
20. Building a Better World in Your Backyard’ by Paul Wheaton
Part of the ‘Sustainable Lifestyle Books series, this book will help you make a huge and positive difference from your own home.
Prioritise comfort over sacrifice while saving thousands of dollars.
Explore dozens of solutions and their impacts on carbon footprint, petroleum footprint, toxic footprint, and other environmental issues.
If 20 per cent of the population implemented half the solutions in this book, it would solve the biggest global problems.
All without writing to politicians, joining protests, signing petitions, or being angry at the people that are causing the problems.
Good solutions are often different from conventional environmental wisdom.
The average American adult has a carbon footprint of 30 tons per year.
Replacing a petroleum car with an electric car will cut 2 tons.
But if you live in a cold climate and you switch from electric heat to a rocket mass heater, you will cut 27 tons!
Join Paul and Shawn on a journey featuring simple alternatives that you may have never heard of — alternatives which are about building a more symbiotic relationship with nature so we can all be even lazier.
Sustainable Lifestyle Books – Conclusion:
Hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of ‘Sustainable Lifestyle Books’.
If you want to fit ‘sustainable living’ into your life, in a way that works for you, these are the books to read.
You’ve got to start somewhere and these sustainable living books are an excellent start.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the numbers we’ve put here. Just buy one.
Finally, if reading is not your thing, check out the other posts we’ve put out there.
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