Green IdeasGreen Ideas

Green Ideas

by Various

I am writing this description a matter of days after the conclusion of COP27 in Egypt.  Once again we are told that the planet is in an every more perilous state and with it humanities wider survival, yet COP27 has been dubbed a disappointment in many analysts eyes and anyway targets set in previous years are no were near being reached.

With such a propensity of negative news around the climate, it is all too easy to feel helpless and despondent.  However instead of constantly looking to government and big business for the answers, we ourselves can equip ourselves with knowledge and start to question our own lives.  That is where the ‘Green Ideas’ series from Penguin come in.  With 20 editions in this series, each edition by a prominent, visionary thinker on the subject whom have raised their voices to defend the planet.  Together these books show the richness of environmental thought and point us towards a fairer and greener world.

With each edition taking a different angle on the issue, they are an ideal base to start discussions and debates not only with ourselves but with those around us – I have found them the ideal base for our coffee break discussions at Wildegoose!


1 – No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg – a collection of Greta’s speeches, from her audiences with the UN, World Economic Forum and the British Parliament to her numerous addresses to Climate activists.

2 – Hot Money by Naomi Klein – Naomi lays the case that unregulated capitalism is waging a war on the natural world and the climate.  She shows how in order to stop this damage we must change everything about how the world is run.

3 – All Art is Ecological by Timothy Morton – Timothy explores the strangeness of living in an age of mass extinction, and shows us that emotions and experience are the basis for a deep philosophical engagement with ecology.

4 – This Can’t be Happening by George Monbiot – In these galvanising speeches and essays, George Mobiot calls on humanity to top averting its gaze from the destruction of the living planet, and wake up to the greatest predicament we have ever faced.

5 – An Idea can Go Extinct by Bill McKibben – This is an impassioned, groundbreaking account of how, by changing the earths entire atmosphere, the weather and the most basic forces around us, ‘we are ending nature.’

6 – Uncanny and Improbable Events by Amitav Ghosh – In this personal and wide-ranging exploration of how our collective imaginations fail to grasp the scale of environmental destruction.  Ghosh summons writers and novelists to confront the most urgent story of our times.

7 – A Warning from the Golden Toad by Tim Flannery – Taking us on an extra ordinary journey into the past and around the globe, from coral reefs to the North Pole, deserts to rainforests, Tim Flannery tells the story of the earth’s climate and how we have changed it.

8 – The Clan of One-Breasted Women by Terry Tempest Williams – With honesty, passion and heart, these essays explore the impact of nuclear testing, the vital importance of environmental legislation, and the guiding spirit of conservation.

9 – Food Rules by Michael Pollan – In this wise and witty critique of the western industrialised diet, distils the wisdom of history and traditional cultures to three simple rules: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

10 – The Democracy of Species by Robin Wall Kimmerer – Here Robin guides us towards a more reciprocal, grateful  and joyful relationship with our animate earth, from the wild leeks in the fields to the deer in the woods.

11 – The Most Dammed Country in the World by Day Qing – Day Qing is forbidden to publish or speak publicly in China.  This collection of courageous speeches and writings  recount in unflinching detail the devastating human and environmental cost of China’s economic rise.

12 – The World We Once Lived In by Wangari Maathai – From the Congo Basin to the traditions of the Kikuyu people, these lucid, incisive writings explore the sacred power of trees, and why humans lay wasted to the forests that keep us alive.  From the Nobel Peace Prize Winning activist.

13 – The Last Tree on Easter Island by Jared Diamond – This is Jared Diamond’s haunting account of visiting the mysterious stone statues of Easter Island, showing how a remote civilisation destroyed itself by exploiting its own natural resources – and why we must heed this warning.

14 – What I Stand for Is What I Stand On by Wendell Berry – From the ravages of the global economy to the great pleasures of growing a garden, these thought provoking essays represent a heartfelt call for humankind to mend our broken relationship with the earth and with each other.

15 – Every Species is a Masterpiece by Edward O. Wilson – This book brings together some of Wilson’s most profound and significant writings on the rich diversity of life on Earth, our place in it, and our obligation to conserve the planets fragile ecosystems.

16 – We Belong to Gaia by James Lovelock – James Lovelock draws on decades of wisdom to show that the planet is not ours to be exploited and warns us that it is fighting back.

17 – The Dragonfly Will Be the Messiah by Masanobu Fukuoka – Masanobu the pioneer if the ‘do-nothing’ farming method reflects on the global ecological trauma and argues that we must radically transform our understanding of both nature and ourselves in order to have any chance of healing.

18 – There is No Point of No Return by Arne Naess – Emphasising joy in the world, human cooperation and the value of all living things, this selection of Naess’s philosophical writings is filled with wit, learning and an intense connection with nature.

19 – Man’s War Against Nature by Rachel Carson – Rachel Carson is synonymous with the Climate Crisis and in this book with the precision of a scientist, Rachel reveals how man-made pesticides have destroyed wildlife, creating a world of polluted streams and silent songbirds.

20 – Think Like a Mountain by Aldo Leopold – In this lyrical meditation on America’s woodlands, Leopold considers the different ways humans shape the natural landscape.