Climate Voices of Colour

Climate Voices of Colour

This booklist features memoirs and nonfiction by BIPOC environmental activists, scientists and scholars – from young emerging leaders, to visionaries who have been raising the alarm about the climate crisis for years.

Get started with these carefully selected books from the UBC Library. If you would like to find more resources on this topic look for more tips at the bottom of this page. For more help, go to Ask Us or visit a UBC Library branch.

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Everything that Rises: A Climate Change Memoir

Author(s): Brianna Craft

Publication Year: 2023

In this memoir, Brianna Craft describes her work on behalf of Least Developed Countries in UN climate negotiations, and compares the power dynamics involved to experiences in her childhood home.

A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis

Author(s): Vanessa Nakate

Publication Year: 2021

Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate chronicles her efforts to organize youth in Africa to respond to the climate emergency, and to make the needs of the Global South visible at COP and Davos.

Unbowed: A Memoir

Author(s): Wangari Maathai

Publication Year: 2007

The life story of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Africa, in which women restored indigenous forests by planting millions of trees.

The Right to be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet

Author(s): Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Publication Year: 2018

Sheila Watt-Cloutier tells the story of her long career advocating for environmental justice and human rights in the Arctic, and the crucial importance of mitigating climate change for the survival of Inuit culture. 

Life in the City of Dirty Water: A Memoir of Healing

Author(s): Clayton Thomas-Müller

Publication Year: 2021

After a difficult youth in Winnipeg, Cree activist Clayton Thomas-Müller has worked for over 20 years as an environmental advocate in organizations including

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Author(s): Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Publication Year: 2019

Dr Gilio-Whitaker, of Colville Confederated Tribes, provides a comprehensive history of Indigenous land defence in the United States, and argues that environmental organizations should learn from the legacy of Indigenous resistance movements.

Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science

Author(s): Jessica Hernandez

Publication Year: 2022

Dr Hernandez, Zapotec and Maya Ch’orti’ environmental scientist, outlines the problem of ecocolonialism, and the reasons why environmental science and conservation must be decolonized. 

Ideas to Postpone the End of the World

Author(s): Ailton Krenak

Publication Year: 2020

Three lectures by Brazilian Indigenous activist Ailton Krenak, arguing that we must reject our human-centric perspective to save our planet and ourselves.

The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Author(s): Amitav Ghosh

Publication Year: 2021

Amitav Ghosh traces the origins of the climate emergency to the brutal, ongoing legacy of colonialism. Ghosh is a prolific Indian novelist who has also written another nonfiction work on climate, The Great Derangement.

Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace

Author(s): Vandana Shiva

Publication Year: 2005

A classic work by prominent Indian scientist and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva. She details her struggles against globalization and biopiracy, and her vision of a future in which all people fairly share and manage natural resources.

It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action to Transform our World

Author(s): Mikaela Loach

Publication Year: 2023

Well known activist Mikaela Loach links climate action with other crucial reforms to improve racial equality and dismantle systemic oppression. She makes the case that climate justice can and must benefit everyone.

Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World

Author(s): Zahra Biabani

Publication Year: 2023

Zahra Biabani is an eco-influencer and entrepreneur. In Climate Optimism, she highlights several recent “earth wins” to inspire hope and combat climate doomerism.

We Have a Dream: Meet 30 Young Indigenous People and People of Color Protecting the Planet

Author(s): Mya-Rose Craig; illustrated by Sabrena Khadija 

Publication Year: 2022

Concise profiles of inspiring young activists by Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl. Primary audience is ages 8-12, but anyone can be uplifted by these stories.

Just Cool It: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do: A Post-Paris Agreement Game Plan

Author(s): David Suzuki and Ian Hanington

Publication Year: 2017

Canadian icon David Suzuki and his co-author offer a richly detailed overview of the roots of the climate crisis and the urgency of pursuing solutions. 

For more books and other resources on climate change by Black, Indigenous or people of colour authors, try the following tips:

  • To find books by Indigenous authors, search the UBC Library Catalogue with the phrase “First Nations author” and climate-related terms.
  • The Asian Library has curated this selected list of Asian language books on climate.
  • Citation chaining is a useful way to find works by authors of colour – once you’ve identified one relevant book, track down the references its author cites, or use tools like Google Scholar to find out what other books, articles or reports have cited it.

    For more help, go to Ask Us or visit a UBC Library branch.