The 5 Best Novels on the Environment and the Climate Crisis

The Man with the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi

Because of the scarcity of resources, inhabitants of Wao Wao have to kill their second sons by sending them out in boats. Atile’i’s parents also do the same as he becomes a teenager. However, his boat sinks in the middle of the ocean and he ends up on a small island which, as Atile’i’s finds out later, is a trash vortex.

For a while Atile’i’s somehow manages to survive on the island but then a part of gets apart and hits the shore of Taiwan. There Atile’i’s is found by Alice Shih, whose house gets destroyed because of the impact.

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

In her third novel, Wright tells the story of a young woman who is mute. A victim of gang rape and abandoned by her people, she was sleeping inside the hollow of a tree when Bella Donna finds her and becomes her guardian. Bella is a European immigrant, who has to leave her country to escape from frightening and life-threatening climate change effects occurring there. After the death of Bella, Oblivia is married to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia.

Using the themes of climate change, poverty, social and political injustice, the author has told the beautiful story of Oblivia and her journey to find her people, her voice, and safe her homeland.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

This book is set in a time in the future when the water has become a commodity. There is little to no one water resources and the few that are left are also controlled by top powerful business owners the world has ever seen. Wars are being done to control the biggest portions of rivers and other water reservoirs. It is a time arcology is no more just an idea.

At this time, a new source of water has been found in Phoenix, Arizona. The top business magnates send their agents to the location for investigation. One of these agents is Angel Velasquez. In Arizona, Angel meets the ward winning Journalist, Lucy Monroe, and a Texas refugee, Maria Villarosa. Together, these three find themselves trapped in a deadly and inhumane game of corruption.

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver.

In her seventh novel, Kingsolver has tried to make people aware of how the environment and climate crisis affect more than just humans and animals. When Dellarobia Turnbow finds something really strange and beautiful in the valley behind her house. Millions of monarch butterflies flying above the water. Later, she is told by Professor Byron that it is highly unusual of these butterflies to be here as they are mostly found in Mexico. And that this displacement of butterflies just further indicates how serious the problem climate change is. Because of the extremely cold weather conditions of Tennessee, the survival chances of these butterflies are very low. 

Animal’s People by Indra Sinha

While all the other books take place in the future or dystopian society, Animal’s People takes us back to the past. It is set in 1984 when a gas leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal lead to what is known as the worst industrial disaster the world has ever seen. According to reports 30 tons of methyl isocyanate, highly toxic gas, and tons of other poisonous gasses were released in the environment because of the leak.

Thousands of people died and thousands were left with hearing or sight loss or deformed bodies. Among these was also a baby who was born just a few days before the disaster. Because of that his spine got so damaged that he had to walk using both, his arms and legs, to walk, like an Animal.

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