Penguin’s New “Green Ideas” Book Collection Features Modern Environmental Classics
Penguin Classics released its new Green Ideas series, featuring a diverse collection of 20 short books that have become the defining texts of today’s environmental movement. The set features over 75 years of writing by visionary thought leaders around the world. Each author shares their perspective on the challenges facing our planet and the role humanity can play in driving solutions.
“We all feel that we live in a kind of new age of environmental discourse and concern,” says Sam Voulters, brand director for Penguin Classics. “As biologists, farmers, activists and anthropologists [the authors of the series] offered a really wide range of different perspectives. It made us feel that rather than these books being manifestoes of change, they were a family tree of ideas that was growing, changing and adapting over time.”
Together, these books remind us of the beauty of our planet home and the importance of protecting it. The series features a studding set of covers by designer Tom Etheringon, who wanted to emulate nature’s beauty with each cover, while also using the colors of the rainbow to unify the collection as many stories connected to one central message of protecting our planet.
We’re always looking to grow our reading list with books that can help us live better for our planet, and we can’t wait to add this landmark collection to our shelves. Whether you’re planning to purchase the full set or a few select favorites, we’re excited to see readers dive into the Green Ideas series.
Here’s a quick look at all the titles featured in the set. Which will you add to your reading list?
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
At just 18 years old, Greta Thunberg has made history as one of the leading young voices in the modern environmental movement. Her powerful I Am Greta documentary gave us a glimpse at the Swedish activist’s path to speaking up on the planet’s greatest challenges on the world stage. Now, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference compiles Thunberg’s most notable speeches, from addresses at the UN, the World Economic Forum, and the British Parliament.
Hot Money by Naomi Klein
If you’re looking for evidence of the relationship between capitalism and the health of our planet, look no further. In Hot Money, Naomi Klein makes a case for why we need to rethink the systems that run our world, including our economy, in order to mitigate the many challenges facing our environment and create a better, healthier future for people and the planet.
All Art is Ecological by Timothy Morton
Writer Timothy Morton takes an approach that is both provocative and playful, exploring the odd nature of living the times we’re in today, as we face a myriad of ecological challenges. All Art is Ecological aims to shape our philosophical approach at our relationship with the environment, highlighting the importance of emotion and personal experience.
This Can’t Be Happening by George Monbiot
This Can’t Be Happening is George Monbiot’s call upon humanity to wake up to the reality of the state of our planet. This collection of speeches and essays aims to galvanize readers to participate in the most important conversation of our generation and take action to secure a brighter future for the planet.
An Idea Can Go Extinct by Bill McKibben
In An Idea Can Go Extinct, Bill McKibben shares an impassioned and groundbreaking account of how human activity has changed the atmospheric conditions around our planet. McKibben explains that the major shifts in weather’s most basic forces could end nature as we know it.
Uncanny and Improbable Events by Amitav Ghosh
With so much going on with our planet, it can be hard to truly imagine the full scale of the challenges we face and what solutions are needed. Amitav Ghosh takes a personal approach at discussing where our collective imaginations are unable to grasp the state of our world, summoning writers and novelists to confront the urgency of these issues.
A Warning from the Golden Toad by Tim Flannery
Take an extraordinary around the globe, from exploring coral reefs, deserts, rainforests, and even the North Pole. Tim Flannery’s A Warning from the Golden Toad brings together stories past and present to paint a picture of our planet and how humans have changed it.
The Clan of One-Breasted Women by Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams brings us this honest, passionate, and heartfelt collection of essays. The Clan of One-Breasted Women discusses the impact of topics like nuclear testing or environmental legislation, while also exploring the very spirit of conservation.
Food Rules by Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan shares his wisdom and wit in Food Rules, a clever critique of the western industrialized diet and the implications it has on our ecosystem. Pollan provides a global exploration of the wisdom of history and traditional colors. The main message: Eat food, but not too much, and make it mostly plant-based.
The Democracy of Species by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Indigenous writer, professor, botanist, and thought leader brings us a thoughtful narrative that will make you rethink your relationship with the planet. The Democracy of Species offers a guide to cultivating a more reciprocal, grateful, and joyful relationship with nature and wildlife.
The Most Dammed Country in the World by Dai Qing
Dai Qing presents a brave and powerful collection of speeches and writings in The Most Dammed Country in the World. Qing takes a particular focus on how China’s economic rise impacted people and the planet, making it a great read for those interested in the relationship between the global economy and the environment.
The World We Once Lived In by Wangari Maathai
In a work that is every tree-huggers dream, Wangari Maathai explores the sacred power of trees. The World We Once Lived In brings together an immersive and incisive collection of stories, from the Congo Basin to the traditions of the Kikuyu people, exploring the relationship between human activity and the health of our forests.
The Last Tree on Easter Island by Jared Diamond
The title alone of this book captures the mysterious and haunting nature of Jared Diamond’s account of visiting the stone statures of Easter Island. The Last Tree on Easter Island paints the picture of what happened when a remote civilization depleted its own natural resources, providing us a grounded example of what’s at risk for our planet today and the importance of taking action sooner rather than later.
What I Stand for is What I Stand On by Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry is an American novelist, poet, essayist, and farmer whose work has led the conversation around the environment for years. In What I Stand for is What I Stand On, Berry presents a series of powerful essays, exploring everything from the global economy to gardening, in a heartfelt narrative that calls for humankind to mend our relationship with the planet and with each other.
Every Species is a Masterpiece by Edward O. Wilson
A treasured American biologist, Edward O. Wilson has been nicknamed by some as “The New Darwin.” In Every Species is a Masterpiece, Wilson shares some of his most profound and notable writings on biodiversity and the important of conserving the totality of Earth’s diverse and complex ecosystem.
We Belong to Gaia by James Lovelock
James Lovelock is a scientist and environmentalist most known for his Gaia hypothesis: that our planet is a self-regulating system, where all living things collectively define the conditions of life on Earth. We Belong to Gaia combines decades of wisdom in a singular story about the history of our incredible planet, warning against the risks of exploiting all the resources it has to offer.
The Dragonfly Will Be the Messiah by Masanobu Fukuoka
Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese farmer and philosopher who was most notably celebrated for his naturalistic farming methods for and restoring vegetation in desertified lands. In The Dragonfly Will Be the Messiah, Fukuoka reflects on global ecological challenges and argues for the radical transformation of our understanding of the relationship between nature and ourselves.
There is No Point of No Return by Arne Naess
Most known for coining the term “deep ecology,” Arne Naess was a Norwegian philosopher and a leading intellectual and inspirational figure in the environmetnal movement. In There is No Point of No Return, Naess brings our attention to the importance of human cooperation and the value of all living things.
Man’s War Against Nature by Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson combines the precision of science with the power of storytelling in this revelation of the impacts of manmade pesticides on wildlife. Man’s War Against Nature tells the story of the world’s polluted ecosystems and the endangered animals that need our help.
Think Like a Mountain by Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold takes us on a lyrical mediation on America’s wilderness. Think Like a Mountain walks us through the many ways humans shape our natural landscapes, describing the phenomenon now referred to as ‘trophic cascades.’
Interested in learning more about Green Ideas? Penguin is partnering with Earthrise Studio to present an upcoming event celebrating the release of Green Ideas, featuring a panel with the series authors.