50 book list What are your top green books? by Leo Hickman

28/1/2010 Guardin “What’s your favourite ‘green’ book?” I get asked this question quite a bit and I always struggle for an answer.It presents the same problem as when you’re
asked to name your favourite song of film: the answer tends to change by the
It would be much easier to compile a list of the top 50 books, which is exactly
what the University of Cambridge’s programme for sustainability leadership has
just done. It asked its alumni – “around 2,000 senior leaders from around the
world who have participated in its sustainability programmes over the past
decade or more” – to list some of their favourite “sustainability” books.
The result is a pretty comprehensive rundown of the most influential and
thought-provoking books of all time. There are many classics – Silent Spring,
Fast Food Nation, The Limits to Growth, The Population Bomb, Small is Beautiful,
A Sand County Almanac – but there are also a few omissions, too. Where’s Henry
David Thoreau’s Walden? Where’s Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded? Where’s
Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature?
And should fiction be allowed onto the list, too? How about Cormac McCarthy’s
The Road? Or Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang?
Of course, there’s always that debate about what you mean by the term
“sustainability”, but let us for the sake of argument say that in this instance
it refers to books that make you think long and hard about how best to exist
within a fragile biosphere blessed with finite resources.
Which books would make your own list?

(I would add my first choice James Hansen’s Storms of my Grandchildren, Bloomsbury 2009 - Editor)
The full list (in alphabetical order)
Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the battle Against World Poverty, by
Muhammad Yunus1999
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, by Janine Benyus, 2003
Blueprint for a Green Economy: by David Pearce, Anil Markandya and Edward B.
Barbier, 1989
Business as Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey, Profits and Principles, by
Anita Roddick, 2005
Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, by John
Elkington, 1999
Capitalism as if the World Matters, by Jonathon Porritt, 2005
Capitalism at the Crossroads: Aligning Business, Earth, and Humanity, by Stuart
Hart, 2005
Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development and the
Environment, by Stephan Schmidheiny and WBCSD, 1992
The Chaos Point: The World at the Crossroads, by Ervin Laszlo, 2006
The Civil Corporation: The New Economy of Corporate Citizenship, by Simon Zadek,
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, by Jared Diamond, 2005
The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, by Joel Bakan,
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and
Michael Braungart, 2002
The Dream of Earth, by Thomas Berry, 1990
Development as Freedom, by Amartya Sen, 2000
The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, by Paul Hawken, 1994
The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, by Nicholas Stern, 2007
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, by Jeffrey Sachs, 2005.
Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resources Use-A Report to the Club of
Rome, by Ernst Von Weizsäcker, 1998
False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, by John Gray, 2002
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side on the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser,
A Fate Worse than Debt: The World Financial Crisis and the Poor, by Susan
George, 1990
For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment
and a Sustainable Future, by Herman Daly and John Cobb, 1989
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, by
C.K. Prahalad, 2004
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, by James Lovelock, 2000
Globalization and its Discontents, by Joseph Stiglitz, 2002
Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, by George Monbiot, 2006
Human-Scale Development: Conception, Application and Further Reflections, by
Manfred Max-Neef, 1991
The Hungry Spirit: Beyond Capitalism: The Quest for Purpose in the Modern World,
by Charles Handy, 1999
An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can
Do About It, by Al Gore, 2006
The Limits to Growth, by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows and Jorgen
Randers, 1972
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace, by
Ricardo Semler, 1993
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere
Else, by Hernando De Soto, 2000
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, by Paul Hawken,
Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, 2000
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs, by Naomi Klein, 2002
Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism, by George Soros, 2000
Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, by Buckminster Fuller, 1969
Our Common Future, by The World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987
The Population Bomb, by Paul Ehrlich, 1969
Presence: An Explanation of Profound Change in People, Organizations and
Society, by Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue
Flowers, 2005
The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future, by
Elizabeth C. Economy, 2004
Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold, 1949
Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, 1962
The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg, 2001
Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher, 1973
Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development, by Vandana Shiva, 1989
The Turning Point: Science Society and the Rising Culture, by Fritjof Capra,
Unsafe At Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile, by
Ralph Nader, 1965
When Corporations Rule the World, by David Korten, 2001
When the Rivers Run Dry: What Happens When Our Water Runs Out? by Fred Pearce,

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