What’s On Our Bookshelf

This month we wanted to put together a list of book recommendations, to share as a resource for those interested in learning more about climate change, sustainability, or other related issues. We asked the GreenStep team for their favourite reads, and we were able to compile a list of amazing titles and authors.

When it comes to books, the key to sustainability is to buy as few new books as possible. An e-reader is a great alternative, but if you prefer a physical copy, we suggest borrowing from your local library, sharing with a friend or coworker, or even buying them second-hand!

Happy reading!



Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution | Written by Paul HawkenAmory B. LovinsL. Hunter Lovins

— Recommended by Angela, President & CEO

In this inspiring book [the authors] define a superior & sustainable form of capitalism based on a system that radically raises the productivity of nature’s dwindling resources. Natural Capitalism shows how cutting-edge businesses are increasing their earnings, boosting growth, reducing costs, enhancing competitiveness, & restoring the earth by harnessing a new design mentality. Read more about the book.



The Ecology of Commerce | Written by Paul HawkenThe Ecology of Commerce Revised Edition - Paul Hawken

— Recommended by Angela, President & CEO

The world has changed in the seventeen years since the controversial initial publication of Paul Hawken’s Ecology of Commerce, a stirring treatise about the perceived antagonism between ecology and business. Yet Hawken’s impassioned argument—that business both causes the most egregious abuses of the environment and, crucially, holds the most potential for solving our sustainability problems—is more relevant and resonant than ever. Read more about the book.



Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming | Written by Paul Hawken

“Drawdown is a book to warm the heart of any geek, covering technologies that already exist, that could stop climate change. Its a great book for everyone else because it demonstrate that we already have the technology — we just need the focus.” — Kristy, GHG & LCA Specialist

For the first time ever, an international coalition of leading researchers, scientists and policymakers has come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. All of the techniques described here – some well-known, some you may have never heard of – are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are already enacting them. From revolutionizing how we produce and consume food to educating girls in lower-income countries, these are all solutions which, if deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, could not just slow the earth’s warming, but reach drawdown: the point when greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. So what are we waiting for? Read more about the book.


The New Sustainability Advantage – New Society PublishersThe New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line | Written by Bob Willard

— Recommended by Angela, President & CEO

The New Sustainability Advantage shows how the benefits of the “triple bottom line” can increase a typical company’s profit by at least 51 to 81% within five years, depending on the company’s size and industry sector, while avoiding risks that could jeopardize its financial wellbeing. Read more about the book.



Let My People Go Surfing | Written by Yvon Chouinard

“One of the reasons I love Let My People Go Surfing is because it showcases a transparent sustainability journey; achievements, setbacks, and everything in between.” — Adam, Sustainable Tourism Specialist

In this 10th anniversary edition, Yvon Chouinard—legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.—shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. Read more about the book.



The Overstory | Written by Richard Powers

“Overstory is a modern fairy tale about the truly great power of trees and loving activists trying to save them. It requires a second reading to fully grasp the complexities.” — Wendy, Customer Success Lead

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. Read more about the book.


How Bad Are Bananas? - WikipediaHow Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything | Written by Mike Berners-Lee

— Recommended by Afzal, Director of Sustainability & Climate Action

From a text message to a war, from a Valentine’s rose to a flight or even having a child, How Bad are Bananas? gives us the carbon answers we need and provides plenty of revelations. By talking through a hundred or so items, Mike Berners-Lee sets out to give us a carbon instinct for the footprint of literally anything we do, buy and think about. He helps us pick our battles by laying out the orders of magnitude. The book ranges from the everyday (foods, books, plastic bags, bikes, flights, baths…) and the global (deforestation, data centres, rice production, the World Cup, volcanoes, …) Be warned, some of the things you thought you knew about green living may be about to be turned on their head. Never preachy but packed full of information and always entertaining. Read more about the book.


Cradle to Cradle eBook by William McDonough - EPUB | Rakuten Kobo CanadaCradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things | Written by Michael Braungart, William McDonough

— Recommended by Afzal, Director of Sustainability & Climate Action

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as this provocative, visionary book argues, this approach perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? Read more about the book.



A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future | Written by David Attenborough & Jonathan Hughes

— Recommended by Afzal, Director of Sustainability & Climate Action

“I am 93. I’ve had an extraordinary life. It’s only now that I appreciate how extraordinary.”

In this scientifically informed account of the changes occurring in the world over the last century, award-winning broadcaster and natural historian shares a lifetime of wisdom and a hopeful vision for the future. See the world. Then make it better. Read more about the book.