A Christmas Book List
The year is drawing rapidly to a close. At A Future Worth Living In, we are reflecting on what this year has meant for us but also for the world in general – not a big question at all!
In the UK, 2022 started in the midst of another Covid-19 wave. 12 months later, the almost unthinkable has happened and life has returned to some semblance of normality. While Covid-19 has retreated as a major threat to society and the economy, we continue to live and work in increasingly uncertain and unpredictable times. We have had three Prime Ministers and countless ministerial comings and goings in Westminster. We face a ‘winter of discontent’ as workers demand pay increases in line with inflation after 30 years of stagnant wages. Around the world, we continue to see the growing effects of climate change, causing devastating floods, droughts and famine across the Global South and ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises in Yemen, Syria, Palestine and Ukraine.
This is a fairly bleak picture, but 2022 has also seen some historic victories when it comes to climate change and climate justice. At COP27, there was a breakthrough agreement on loss and damage funding for the countries worst affected by climate change. This signifies a rebalancing of the scales of influence at climate negotiations, away from the US and Europe and towards politicians, activists and indigenous peoples from the Global South. A once in a decade deal has just been closed at COP15, with countries agreeing to halt ecosystem destruction, end environmentally damaging subsidies, protect indigenous peoples' right to land and mobilise resources for nature restoration. Work continues on the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosure (TNFD), following the success of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), which has been recently incorporated into the Financial Conduct Authority’s mandatory disclosure for financial institutions.
Working in sustainability can be equal parts rewarding and frustrating. Change is happening, but without the speed and urgency required. There are many places to turn for inspiration and encouragement, but one of the best has to be books. There is no shortage of brilliant people sharing their visions for a fair and sustainable future, proposing new systems that value people and planet before profit.
Just as important though, is taking the time to read fiction as well as fact. Reading fiction allows us to visit new worlds and imagine new realities. One of the best writers for this is Margaret Atwood, known for her dystopian and utopian literature, and most recently running a virtual learning experience ‘Practical Utopias’ with participants from all over the world – more on this in 2023!
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of our top three fiction and non-fiction books we’ve read (or re-read!) this year (in time for Christmas):
Miraculous Abundance - Perrine & Charles Hervé-Gruyer
Spood-fed - Tim Spector
The New Wilderness – Diane Cook
Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler
The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 - Lionel Shriver
Citizens – Jon Alexander
Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet - Thich Naht Hanh
Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency - Mark Lynas
Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World - King Charles III