Summer books of 2022: Environment


How the World Really Works: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Past, Present and Future
by Vaclav Smil, Viking £20/Penguin $28

The question of how fast the world can shift away from fossil fuels to a cleaner energy system is one of the most important of our time and this provocative book, by a distinguished energy scholar, addresses it with admirable flair. Smil’s pessimism about the probable pace of change can grate but his grasp of the subject is formidable.

Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet
by George Monbiot, Allen Lane £20/Penguin $18

British writer and activist George Monbiot has spent years visiting rainforests, mountains, coastlines and seas. “But I have never explored, deliberately and thoroughly, the ground beneath my feet,” he writes in this compiling story of soil, food and farming — and the need to reform agricultural practices to avert looming environmental catastrophe.

Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: How the Natural World is Adapting to Climate Change
by Thor Hanson, Icon Books £20/Basic Books $28

While humans wrestle with net zero targets and greenwashing, other species have had to adapt to the impacts of climate change, as American biologist, Thor Hanson, reveals in this carefully researched book. His accounts of how squid have responded to warmer waters, and lizards to fierce storms, are both poignant and sobering.

Tell us what you think

What are your favorites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

Supercharge Me: Net Zero Faster
by Eric Lonergan and Corinne Sawers, Agenda Publishing £12.99/$16.95

Diagnosing climate change took long enough, but fixing it is still a work in progress. In this refreshingly readable book, fund manager Eric Lonergan and sustainability adviser Corinne Sawers makes the case for augmenting traditional economic solutions, such as carbon pricing, with EPICs: extreme, positive incentives for change that “supercharge” behavioral change.

The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth
by Ben Rawlence, Jonathan Cape £20/St Martin’s Press $29.99

British writer Ben Rawlence swims to Scottish islands and visits remote Sami reindeer herders to explain how, in a warming world, the edge of the boreal forests ringing much of the northern hemisphere is shifting north at an accelerating pace. As white landscapes turn green, he reveals the species and livelihoods suffering unexpected disruption.

Summer Books 2022

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favorites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Tuesday: Business by Andrew Hill
Wednesday: Fiction by Laura Battle
Thursday: History by Tony Barber
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ choice

Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Cafe

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