As the weather begins to warm up, climate change has once again become a hot topic on social media. It’s easy to feel lost or helpless in the conversation, but thankfully, there are plenty of experts here to help us reconnect to nature. From foot soldiers who walk in protest over the treatment of our planet to the sci-fi-conscious world of Octavia Butler, here are 7 books by Black authors on sustainability to guide us on our quest to help take care of our planet. 

A Terrible Thing to Waste
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind
Harriet A. Washington (Little, Brown Spark, 2019)
Medical ethicist Harriet A. Washington believes confronting the effects of environmental racism is crucial to helping the Black community gain access to both better health and more social influence in the world. Washington’s conversation-stirring 2019 book takes a detailed look into how environmental factors like pollution have robbed the Black community of its brightest minds — and what needs to change.

Price: $17

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Parable of the Sower: A Novel
Octavia E. Butler (Seven Stories Press, 2017)
Sci-fi author Octavia E. Butler engrosses the reader in a dystopian world where America has come face to face with the aftermath of catastrophic climate change and lingering social inequality. We follow the teenager Lauren Olamina as she braves a perilous journey overridden with crime and bandits in this speculative fiction novel set in the not-too-distant future.

Price: $23

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Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists
Leah Penniman (Amistad, 2023)
Leah Penniman hones in on some of the most important Black voices in environmentalism to share how the Black community lost their ability to listen to the earth, and how to bring it back. With the assistance of a slew of contributors, Penniman makes a compelling case against corporate overconsumption and advocates for environmental justice.

Price: $27

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We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy,
Natalie Baszile (Amistad, 2021)
Natalie Braszile uses her 2021 release to bring the importance of Black farmers into the spotlight. Using a curation of photos, essays, poems and personal accounts, Baszile elevates Black farmers, their rich history, and their place in the modern world.

Price: $22

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Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage
Dianne Glave (Chicago Review Press, 2010)
Environmentalist Dianna Glave beautifully reconstructs the history of African-American conservation efforts and the community’s strong ties to American soil. Glave invites the reader to reconnect with their culture’s environmentalist roots and help heal the earth around them with a stronger bond to nature.

Price: $17

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The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature
J. Drew Lanham (Milkweed Editions, 2017)
Ecology professor J. Drew Lanham looks back to generations past to find his own place in the world as he reflects on how his passion for nature shaped him into the man he stands as today. Touching on nature and what it means to be Black in the South, this memoir brings the reader on a heart-tugging journey in Lanham’s shoes.

Price: $14

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Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking 17 Years of Silence
John Fancis Ph.D. (National Geographic, 2009)
Dr. John Francis’ memoir reflects on his silent protest in the 1970s, in which he walked across the country to protest the detrimental effects of pollution visible on some of nature’s most beautiful landscapes. Dr. Francis imparts some of the knowledge he gathered along the way, discussing the way human nature has damaged the planet around us.

Price: $32

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