Five Must-Read Green Books

Sometimes, when you read a book, it changes the way you look at the whole world. It inspires you to change and convinces you that you can make a difference. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, today I’m talking about some of the books that have changed my perspective and spurred me to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.

Five Must-Read Green Books

  1. Must-Read Green Books 100-Mile DietThe 100-Mile Diet, by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon. This book chronicles the experiences of one Vancouver couple as they seek to only eat food produced within 100 miles of their home. I love it because it’s local to me, so I can use it not only as a source of inspiration, but also as a resource. But more than that, I love it because it opened my eyes to the way that we eat. Most of our food travels thousands of kilometers to reach our plates. It’s also highly-processed and completely out of season. This book introduced me to a new way of eating, and in many ways it got me started on my green journey in a serious way.
  2. Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. This book is not actually about the environment, but it raises some very important points about lifestyle. Its premise is that the more stuff we buy, the more time that we need to spend working to service that stuff.Deanna Duke Non-Toxic Avenger By tracking your spending you can reduce it and free up some financial wiggle room, which will in turn allow you to make lifestyle changes. This falls under the “green” category for me because by reducing our spending – and specifically our spending on stuff – we’re reducing our carbon footprint. Going green will save you green.
  3. The Non-Toxic Avenger, by Deanna Duke. This book tells the story of one woman’s quest to avoid all toxins for four months, to see what impact it would have on the number of chemicals in her body. I actually interviewed Deanna for a podcast not too long ago, which further cemented my love for her and her book. She writes in an engaging and authentic way about a serious issue. Her words spurred me to take steps to reduce my own family’s exposure to toxins, which can only be a good thing. And in spite of its serious subject matter, it didn’t leave me terrified – a definite plus!
  4. Must-Read Green Books Omnivore's DilemmaPlastic Free, by Beth Terry. Okay, the truth is I haven’t actually read this one yet, since it still hasn’t been released, but I consider Beth to be a friend. I met up with her at BlogHer and we joined forces, carrying our disposable plastic plates around so that we wouldn’t be adding the landfill at every meal. Her blog, My Plastic-Free Life, is on my “must-read” list. She inspired me to reduce my own plastic use, and I’m thrilled that she’s published a book. I can’t wait to read it.
  5. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. It’s another food book, but I have a definite thing for this book, which tells the story of four meals the author ate and where the ingredients for those meals came from. While The 100-Mile Diet opened me eyes to the way we’ve disconnected ourselves from our food, this book opened my eyes to the system that disconnection has allowed to flourish. I didn’t expect to find food politics fascinating, but now I do, and I give the credit to this book.

What about you – what’s on your must-read green book list?

I was inspired to write this post by Karen Hanrahan, a fellow member of the Green Moms Carnival. Check out her blog, Best of Mother Earth, for more green book suggestions!

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  1. Another one on food and the environment: Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Read it last spring, loved it.

    Thanks for the recommendation of Your Money or Your Life, too. Is it more expository, or does it include a how-to angle? Our attempts at cutting back have been haphazard, and I’d be interested in reading about a more systematic approach to the process.

    • I also love Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It turns out most of my “green books” are food-related, as I look at my shelves.

      As for Your Money or Your Life, it is totally a systematic approach. If you want a step-by-step plan, it’s a great choice.

  2. I haven’t read NTA yet (or Plastic Free) but had similar experiences with the other three titles. You may also like “Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash” by Elizabeth Royte. Who knew a book about garbage could be so riveting? 🙂

  3. I am looking forward to Beth’s book too!!
    Tiffany’s last post … Swoon Worthy Green BooksMy Profile

  4. Thanks for listing my book before it’s even out! You should mention that you have a piece in the book too. In fact, it’s in its own special blue box. In fact, I’ll send you a PDF of the page if you want to see it. 🙂

    I second the recommendation for Garbage Land, and another great Elizabeth Royte book is Bottlemania, which is all about bottled water.

    And I loooooved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The audiobook is read by the actual authors, which made it even better for me.
    Beth Terry’s last post … Give-Away: Sullie Saves the Seas, a story for children and adultsMy Profile

  5. Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of my favorites as well — one of the books that inspired a bunch of changes for me in the way I buy and view food.
    Betsy (Eco-novice)’s last post … How Often Does Your Baby Poop Up Her Back?My Profile

  6. Oh, I’ve heard of the Omnivore’s Dilemma. I need to check it out. The truth is, these all sound awesome.
    Old School/New School Mom’s last post … Video Games are Better Than TV For Your ChildMy Profile

  7. All of these are great! But my all time favorites are Unbowed, by Wangari Maathai; Water: A Natural History, by Alice Outwater; and Having Faith by Susan Steingraber

  8. The Omnivore’s Dilemma sounds like a very informative book. I hope to be able to read it at the soonest.
    Victoria’s last post … ballroom dance videosMy Profile

  9. Thanks Amber,

    Looking forward to reading Plastic Free when it is out..I’m not familiar with Your Money or Your Life or the 100 Mile Diet, will check them out!

  10. Yes, I love most of the same books your readers mention. I’m looking forward to Beth Terry’s book on Plastic, too.

    Thanks for your review.
    Diane MacEachern’s last post … Think Twice Before You Buy Hershey’s Kisses for Your ValentineMy Profile

  11. A great book on olive oil 🙂
    Catching up here, Amber!
    Francesca’s last post … instant crochet blanketMy Profile

  12. These are great recommendations. I shared these on BagInspiration’s FB page at
    Stefanie Kushner’s last post … Spring Handbag | Smateria CapMy Profile

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  1. […] Amber of shared five compelling green book titles and how they inspired her. She shared how books convince her that she too can make a difference. […]

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