### Fabian DablanderPhD Student Methods & Statistics About Blog Papers Talks Climate Emergency

We are in a climate emergency. And it is getting late.

We thus need to act swiftly and with resolve, yet governments around the world are moving either too slowly or in the wrong direction. To put pressure on them and force change, we need to build the largest, most inclusive social movement in history. Climate action has to move from something that others do to something that we all engage in. Each and everyone of us has a role to play — this is humanity’s decisive decade.

Education is an important first step. Personally, I became aware of the enormous scale and urgency of the crisis only recently, starting in the summer of 2020, when the ongoing Covid disaster compelled me to take a deeper look at the (scientific) literature. Below are some resources that I have found useful on my journey so far; note that they are in no particular order. Some of the things I have learned are summarized in a recent talk.

I will try to add to this list going forward, and I hope that some things are useful to you.

## Books

• This Changes Everything
• A book so well-researched and wide-ranging it is in a class of its own. If you read only one book on climate, make it this one.
• The End of the Megamachine
• Another masterpiece. If you want to better understand our modern world-system, which is wrecking both people and planet, read this book.
• The Human Planet
• How have humans become a planetary-scale geological force? This book, which grew out of a seminal article in Nature on defining the Anthropocene, provides an extremely insightful and informative treatment of this and related questions. If you want to better understand our current predicament, look to the past and read this book.
• A Global Warming Primer
• This short book provides a highly accessible and informative overview of the basic science behind climate change, its consequences, and potential solutions. It also debunks a number of skeptical claims. If you need a refresher or want to get the facts straight, I highly recommend this book!
• Don’t Even Think About It
• Excellent book on the communication and social science of climate change. George Marshall talks with everybody — scientists, environmentalists, Tea Party members, climate deniers, oil executives, pastors, and victims of extreme weather events, to name just a few. He draws insightful lessons of why we have such difficulties dealing with climate change — and how we can do better.
• Doughnut Economics
• Kate Raworth moves beyond the suffocating corset of mainstream economics and provides a framework for (actually) sustainable development in the 21$^{\text{th}}$ century. A must read!
• The Nutmeg’s Curse
• In this wide-ranging and very insightful book, Amitav Ghosh traces the climate crisis back to colonialism, imperialism, and a mechanistic view of nature where it exists only as a resource to be exploited. If you want the bigger picture, this may be it. You might also enjoy this interview with him.
• This is an Uprising
• This is an excellent introduction to the history, rationale, and power of non-violent direct action. The book gives lots of examples and case studies and makes you hopeful that we might, in fact, make it.
• How to Blow Up a Pipeline
• Andreas Malm provides a convincing counter-narrative to the story that non-violent direct action is the key to success, noting the importance of sabotage, property destruction, and the threat of violence. You might also enjoy this interview with him.
• Levers of Power
• This extremely well-researched book is nothing short of eye-opening, detailing how big corporations use their structural power over the economy — chiefly derived from their control of the investment of capital — to exert enormous influence on political decision-making. The book also describes how past social movements have disrupted business in order to achieve progress reform. Highly recommended!
• How We Win
• Drawing on six decades of experience, George Lakey provides an extremely practical and insightful guide for nonviolent direct action campaigning. Required reading for anybody interested in strategy and tactics, in getting their hands dirty, and, indeed, in winning.
• Common Sense for the 21st Century
• Roger Hallam lays out the blueprint and rationale for a nonviolent rebellion which, in his assessment, is the best option we have left to avoid climate breakdown. If you are interested in the thinking that shaped Extinction Rebellion, read this short book.
• Pranksters vs. Autocrats
• Short book on dilemma actions which — combined with a dash of humour — can topple dictators. You might also enjoy this interview with author Srđa Popović.
• A Bigger Picture
• In this powerful memoir, Vanessa Nakate recounts how she became an activist, only to be cropped out by Western media. Nakate describes climate impacts and climate action in Africa, arguing that a successful climate movement must center justice and be inclusive. A very informative, insightful, and inspiring read!
• On Fire
• A collection of excellent essays, with topics ranging from BP’s devastating oil spill in 2010 to the ascent of the Green New Deal in 2019. As Greta Thunberg notes, Naomi Klein is “the great chronicler of our age, an inspirer of generations.”
• Ending Fossil Fuels
• In this informative and thought-provoking book, sociologist Holly Jean Buck shows why the framing of “net zero” is problematic; illustrates the multiple dimensions of phasing out fossil fuels; and provides suggestions of how we can end them before they end us.
• The Future We Choose
• Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, key architects of the Paris agreement, outline two futures and sketch how we can get onto the much better one.
• The New Climate War
• World-renowned climate scientist Michael Mann has been on the frontlines ever since the publication of the “hockey stick”. The enemy’s strategy has shifted from denial to delay, and Mann — using his experience and expertise — tells us how to stay alert. You might also enjoy this interview with him.
• Saudi America
• The shale revolution has transformed the US into the world’s top oil and gas producer and a leading exporter of fossil fuels. Bethany McLean tells the extraordinary story of this deeply worrying development and the people behind it in this short book.
• Merchants of Doubt
• This is one of the best and most sobering books I have ever read. Beware of science (and scientists) motivated by ideology. There exists a documentary of the same name, and you might also enjoy this interview with Naomi Oreskes.
• Thinking in Systems
• “There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.” This book is a real classic, thought-provoking and full of insights. It also includes Donella Meadows’s famous essay on leverage points. A book that deserves to be re-read from time to time.
• Think Like a Commoner
• There is the market and then there is the state, right? No! There is also the vast space occupied by the commons. David Bollier, who also runs a great podcast, provides a well-written and indeed mind-expanding introduction to the commons.
• Less is More
• Degrowth is an eminently sensible proposal worthy of discussion and consideration. Jason Hickel, a leading proponent, compellingly argues for it in this well-written, wide-ranging, and thought-provoking book. Highly recommended!
• The Divide
• This is an excellent book on global inequality, which makes you see the world in a different way.
• Post Growth: Life after Capitalism
• Lyrical meditation hinting at what the economy — and life — could be like, told through biographical sketches of giants such as John Stuart Mill, Hannah Arendt, and Wangari Maathai. Less concrete than I had hoped given the title, but insightful nonetheless.
• Revolutions That Made the Earth
• Mother Earth has experienced a number of key revolutions that made her what she is today. This extremely informative and wide-ranging book — covering “terrain that ranges in difficulty from easy to strenuous” — will make you feel more connected to the only planet known to inhabit life.
• Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction
• Oxford University Press’s “Very Short Introductions” are a great way to get an overview of any particular topic you might imagine. This and the one below are helpful if you want to dig slightly deeper into the natural science side of things.
• Climate: A Very Short Introduction
• The Great Derangement
• Amitav Ghosh makes so many interesting points that you quickly forget they are all contained in just a single book. Among many other things, provides a powerful reflection on the role of literature and the arts on a planet in crisis.
• The Ministry for the Future
• It is difficult to imagine the future as the climate crisis worsens. Kim Stanley Robinson is here to help. Once you’ve read the book, you might also enjoy this interview with him.
• Bewilderment
• A story about an astrobiologist father and his exceptional nine-year-old son who is bewildered by a world in pursuit of its own destruction. A book that makes you at times laugh out loud and then moves you to tears. You might also enjoy this conversation with Richard Powers.
• The Collapse of Western Civilization
• You can read this book in two hours but you won’t forget it in a lifetime.
• A Short History of Progress
• In this highly engaging and insightful little book, Ronald Wright distills the reasons for why some past civilizations have collapsed while others have not. We have turned cleverness into recklessness; ours is the last chance to get the future right.
• The ABCs of Capitalism
• These three short pamphlets provide a good introduction to the basic dynamics of capitalism; the (subordinate) role of the state; and the key role of labour in progressive reforms. You might also be interested in the corresponding lectures by and Q&As with author Vivek Chibber (1, 2, 3).
• Penguin Green Ideas
• Selection of essays from an array of environmental writers and thinkers; great to get exposed to new ideas and new authors quickly.

## Podcasts

• CarbonBrief
• I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation for the team over at CarbonBrief. CarbonBrief is hands-down the best resource on climate; their in-depth Q&As and explainers (see for example here, here, here, here, and here) are invaluable. Make sure to subscribe to their weekday morning briefings.
• Mongabay
• Excellent news source on environmental and related issues internationally.
• Inside Climate News
• Excellent news source on environmental and related issues with a focus on the US.
• Bill McKibben’s Substack
• Bill McKibben is a hero of the environmental movement. He used to write an extremely informative weekly newsletter, which is superseded by his Substack.
• George Monbiot’s columns at The Guardian
• George Monbiot, too, has been at it for decades. His weekly columns are always insightful and frequently scathing.

## Documentaries

• The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
• This eight-part series on how oil shaped world history is extremely informative and insightful. Highly recommended!
• Breaking Boundaries
• The Corporation
• A sobering reminder that the purpose of corporations is to generate profits, with usually scant attention paid to the social and environmental costs. This powerful film aired in 2003. Little has changed.
• David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
• This film is a beautiful meditation on planet Earth and its many wonders, told through the life of the world’s best known naturalist. Deeply moving.
• Tomorrow
• This is a wonderful documentary showing solutions and sketching a path towards a better tomorrow, demonstrating that films on sustainability can lift your spirits. Highly recommended!
• 2040
• Another informative and uplifting documentary.
• LN3: Teachings of the Anishinaabe Resistance
• This short documentary has a ton of style. Indigenous peoples are at the frontlines fighting extractive industries. There is a lot we can learn from them.
• Bringing Down A Dictator
• Great documentary about how the people’s movement Otpor brought down Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević using nonviolent resistance and a healthy dosage of humor that mobilized hundreds of thousands of people.
• The Troublemaker
• Beautifully edited documentary about Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion, the power of civil disobedience, and the joy of finding community and being part of something bigger than oneself.
• Rebellion
• Insightful documentary about (the beginnings of) Extinction Rebellion which uses unique early footage and includes reflections and struggles of key movement organizers. Trying to save the world comes with lots of human drama!
• Chasing Ice
• It can move surprisingly fast!
• Chasing Coral
• This beautiful documentary will break your heart.
• The Sequel
• Reflections on the work of David Fleming and his positive vision of what may follow our “troubled civilization”.
• Monbiot: Arresting the Truth
• Wonderful short film with and about George Monbiot, who has been at it for decades and shows no signs of relenting — a true inspiration.
• How To Change the World
• Charts the origin and fascinating history of Greenpeace.
• The End of the Line
• Overfishing. Overfishing. Overfishing.
• Cowspiracy
• Motivated me to look into the environmental footprint of meat and dairy in 2015, which caused me to switch to a plant-based diet. The benefits to planet and personal health are obvious — I’ve never looked back. Industrial agriculture alone could blow our carbon budget, and switching to a plant-rich diet is the strongest mitigation option.
• Seaspiracy
• Similar in spirit as Cowspiracy. Informative but also slightly annoying.
• Kiss the Ground
• This documentary is uplifting and full of information, charting a promising path away from industrial agriculture (but always remember that there are no silver bullets).
• SEED: The Untold Story
• This is a very informative documentary about the epic history of seeds, the vulnerability of our food system, the powers that perpetuate injustice, and an alternative way of feeding the world that is both more sustainable and more resilient.
• The End of Poverty?
• You thought it was bad? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
• The Four Horsemen
• Great selection of topics and guests. “I don’t think there is anything deeper than what’s on the surface. Intellectuals have to make it look complicated, that’s part of their job.”
• Gasland
• Created on a shoestring budget, this unsettling film explores the fracking boom and the devastation it causes in US communities. Who knew that tap water could be set on fire?
• Confessions of an Undercover Cop
• Tells the story of Mark Stone / Kennedy, who infiltrated environmental movements and did an enormous amount of damage.
• Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh
• An eye-opening natural experiment. Highly recommended!
• The Economics of Happiness
• Inspired by the changes Helena Norberg-Hodge saw in Ladakh, this documentary presents a critique of globalization and surveys how localization could make us happier while at the same time helping arrest environmental breakdown.
• Awake: A Dream From Standing Rock
• A good film about the struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and the brutality of the present.
• Carbon Bomb: Exxon, the World Bank, & One of the Biggest Oil Discoveries of our Time
• Insightful short film made by the fantastic German organisation urgewald. Let’s just say that the World Bank does not look too good in this one.
• Coming Clean: A Demand for a Fossil Free UC
• Great short film on the fossil fuel dependency of the University of California and the chimera of carbon offsets. Produced by Adam Aron, who quit neuroscience to focus on organizing and researching the psychology of climate action. Impressing and inspiring.
• Youth vs Gov
• Inspiring — yet gut-wrenching — documentary about 21 brave American youngsters suing the federal government for the greatest dereliction of duty in history.
• Iron Jawed Angels
• Iron Jawed Angels details the extraordinary nonviolent direct action campaign that Alice Paul and Lucy Burns waged as part of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States in the 1910s. While at times a bit anachronistic and (too) fictional, this is a great movie to watch!
• Don’t Look Up
• This is not a documentary but sharp sociopolitical commentary. Two astronomers discover a comet about to hit Earth — how will society react? The film hits so close to home it is at times painful to watch; it helps you relate to climate scientists, who have been sounding the alarm for decades. Graphs and charts have clearly not been enough; satire and humor are welcome allies.