In addition to the hundreds of pieces featured in our blog and archive, we recommend the following books and articles to readers eager to learn more about sustainability and the economic, environmental, and social systems that shape it. Please contact us if you have a suggestion for this list.
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
A positive and accessible problem solving primer that teaches readers to apply essential systems thinking skills to effectively approach real world issues of all sizes
The Systems Thinking Playbook by Linda Booth Sweeney and Dennis Meadows
A collection of 30 games and exercise to practice systems thinking, constructing mental models, shared visioning, and team learning
Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems by Linda Booth Sweeney
Twelve beautifully illustrated traditional folktales along with modern examples that demonstrate the interconnectedness of living systems and encourage open, informed thinking
When a Butterfly Sneezes by Linda Booth Sweeney
A guide for helping readers understand the interconnected nature of our world through stories, illustrations, discusiion points, and questions
The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins
A guide written by the founder of the Transition Towns movement that shows how communities are turning the challenges of peak oil and climate change into opportunities for more resilient, connected, and fulfilled communities
The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times by Rob Hopkins
A continuation of the Transition Handbook story that explores the achievements of communities that have undertaken Transition projects and provides readers with the tools needed to begin their own Transition initiative
Sowing Seeds in the Desert: Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security by Masanobu Fukuoka
A plan to increase food security and our understanding of the human/nature relationship by reclaiming the world’s deserts and damaged regions and transforming them into useable, productive landscapes
Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity by Michael Shuman
A guide that explains the many options available for investing locally and shows readers how to profit while simultaneously strengthening their communities and local economies
The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe
An informative and optimistic how-to book that details methods for growing most of your own food, including in-depth information about cultivating and using five key crops: corn, potatoes, beans, squash, and eggs
Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World by Michael C. Ruppert
An exploration of the connections between money and energy, the unlikelihood of economic recovery without a spike in carbon emissions, and a 25-point plan to avoid collapse
Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill
A visionary but realistic look at an alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth—an economy where the goal is not more but enough.
Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by David C. Korten
A call to end our dependence on Wall Street and instead create a new economic system of living markets and democracy that responds to human needs and values and promotes wellbeing and community resilience
Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies by Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Bernard Lietaer
An empowering look at how cities and towns can build healthy and sustainable local economies by creating new systems of exchange, including discussion of the many types of capital available to communities and case studies exploring the successes of alternative currencies in use
America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy by James Gustave Speth
An in-depth look at the aspects of America’s political economy that require transformative change, how we can affect that transformation, and the attractive and attainable future we could still have as a result.
America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy by Gar Alperovitz
A detailed diagnosis of the long-term structural crisis of the American economic and political system followed by an equally-detailed set of practical answers to the problems we face as a society that could open the way to a vibrant democracy and sustainable economy.
Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution by Marjorie Kelley
An insightful look at the “generative” economy and how we can create economic systems and new ownership models that encourage community, sustainability, and the conditions for life for many generations to come.
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben
A compelling case for moving beyond “growth” as the ultimate economic ideal and instead pursuing prosperity on a more local scale as regions work to produce their own food, energy, and culture.
Limits to Growth
The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W. Behrens III
The pioneering 1972 study that used computer modeling to predict the potential outcomes of exponential growth on a finite planet and first warned the world about the possibility of “overshoot and collapse”
Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future by Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis L. Meadows
The twenty-year follow up to The Limits to Growth that demonstrates how humans have already overshot some of the world’s key resources and articulates a scenario in which humans can curb their growth and live within the Earth’s means
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis L. Meadows
An analysis of present and future trends in population growth, including exploration of the variety of possible outcomes that may result and steps we can take to reverse some of the damage already done to our planet
2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Jorgen Randers
A global forecast for the next forty years of life on Earth synthesized from the predictions of dozens of experts, as well as advice for what we as individuals can do to mitigate the increasing turmoil of this period and increase our quality of life
Greening Vermont: The Search for a Sustainable State by Elizabeth Courtney and Eric Zencey
A compelling story that describes Vermont’s history as a state famous for its nature/culture balance, the transformation that came to the state with the arrival of the fossil fuel economy, and the response of the environmental movement that laid the groundwork for a green society.