Since its origin on April 22, 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a multi-day celebration and call to action. This year, the festivities kick off on April 20 with a global youth climate summit and the Hip Hop Caucus “We Shall Breathe” event. On the 22nd, President Biden will host world leaders at a Global Climate Summit, where we hope they will respond directly to the work and words of the young environmental activists leading the conversation for change. To help bring more teens into that dialogue, we’ve gathered resources from around the web and the world.
No Planet B from Haymarket Books and Teen Vogue is a collection of essays that embraces the intersectionality of the climate movement. Editor Lucy Diavolo recognizes that young people have already demonstrated their capacity and willingness to lead on this issue, and this book gives them the microphone. From essential FAQ-style pieces to journalism on the global plastics crisis or publicly owned utilities, this book covers a lot of ground and would be great for a young activist in the making or as a classroom curriculum support.
Earthday.org has collected a significant Environmental Education Resource Library with lesson plans and more, including advocacy packets created by students and for students. They cover a variety of issues, such as Intersectional Environmentalism.
Every Day is Earth Day: Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Harriet Dyer is printed on 100% Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper and provides a short, accessible, graphic-driven tool for practical action.
Though some of the information provided reflects the author’s UK background, most of the suggestions can be universally applied. As a collection of information snapshots, this title might fit more as a brief reference, especially for younger teens just beginning research.
This Pocket Change Collective title, Imaginary Borders, was a 2021 Amazing Audio Selection, and author and activist Xiuhtexcatl Martinez brings home the reality of climate change as a human rights issue. Marrying social justice and environmental activism, this book will meet teens wherever they are and inspire them to join the movement for positive change.
Scientist and writer Hope Jahren’s The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here breaks down this complicated subject into four parts (Life, Food, Energy, Earth) and explains each contributing factor in clear and concise language. The final section turns readers to the actions they can take and provides practical (and hopeful!) steps to measurable change. While published for adults, this title would be a great supplement for older teens, particular with an environmental studies course or program. And in November, a Young Adult adaptation will be available, custom-made for teen audiences.
The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative recently featured a series of booklists focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. International librarian Courtney Park gathered these K-12 resources around Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Most of the GLLI collection (from international librarian Jeremy Willette) on Climate Change focuses on younger readers, but there are a few middle grade and YA titles on the list, so check it out!
Besides books, young activists can get inspiration from podcasts, including Mothers of Invention, which brings a feminist approach to a manmade problem, or Inherited, a narrative podcast created by and for and about young activists in the youth climate movement. (hint: these would work for The Hub Challenge participants looking for a podcast teens might love!)
This post is the first in a series focused on Social Justice and Youth Activism. If you have titles to recommend for future posts, contact us with your recommendations!