Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Summer reading: 5 books to help us make sustainable and conscious choices

Summer calls usually for light reading. A novel, a fiction, a love story. But these are also the weeks when we have more time to read. So why not use it to check one of the resolutions made at the beginning of the year? I always promise to read more books and to take more care of the environment and the planet. Combining these two resolutions could actually make my summer. That’s why I compiled this summer list, not of books that I have read but of those that I would like to read. And maybe you might find them interesting as I did.

A Bright Future. How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow, by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist. I liked this title because it makes me feel hopeful and positive about the future and right now this is exactly what we need. We are all aware of the catastrophic future we are going towards if we don’t do anything. Let’s try to imagine a future that is thriving exactly because of the actions taken today.


How bad are bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee. The New Scientist described it as “an engaging book that manages to present serious science without preaching. It offers tools that any reader will be able to use and make informed choices, and even seasoned eco-enthusiasts will be in for plenty of surprises.” I never thought of something as simple as fruit could turn into something bad. So this title made me think: what effect do the daily objects we use, have on carbon emissions? The book mentions simple things like a Google search or plastic bags or electric bikes. Because we all make an impact somehow.

Speed & Scale. An action plan for solving our climate crisis now, by John Doerr. This title already contains two of the most important keywords of our time. Speed. How many times we have heard politicians, scientists and activists saying that we have to act fast? That we are already late and every minute is crucial? Then, scale. CEOs, companies’ managers and start-ups are all underlining the importance of scaling up all the technologies we have. I immediately think about hydrogen. We do know how to make it and national hydrogen strategies are popping up everywhere. Then why are we not producing green hydrogen considering that we have all the ingredients? One year ago I asked this question to Aleksandr Riepkin, president of the Ukrainian Hydrogen Council and he mentioned “scale”. He told me that the biggest electrolyser in use now is only 20 megawatts and we need to reach something like 80 gigawatts. So there is nothing more timing than a book about speed and scale.


The Secret of Mago Castle, by Rebecca Tinkle, the only fiction story on this list, a fantasy novel that addresses the real issues humanity currently faces. It is a call to bring out the best in the human spirit to save the place we all call home. The description reads: “by the end of this book, you’ll be wishing, hoping, believing that it wasn’t just a story.” And this was enough to make me add this book to the list.

And finally, The Joyful Environmentalist, by Isabel Losada, winner of the best overall sustainability book for 2022. The aim of the author is to look for every single way that we can take care of the planet: how we live and work, travel, shop, eat, drink, dress, vote, play, volunteer, bank, everything. According to several surveys (national ones, those produced by the European Investment Bank and so on), most people believe that climate change is one of the most important threats of our time and that we are not really doing enough when it comes to finding solutions. So, as the writer’s website reads: it is “the feel-good book of the year from anyone who loves nature and knows that one person can make a huge difference.”

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