WiseOceans Top 5 Books - 2023

Our Top 5 Books 

Each year on 9th August the literary world honours National Book Lovers Day, a day whose origins may be shrouded in mystery, but it’s goal, to celebrate reading, is not.

From stone carvings to parchment, to the printing press and computers and even more advanced technology, curating your own library has never been easier! But, what books should you consider for this year’s celebrations? Well, look no further! We asked our team, and resident WiseWorms book club for their top picks (environmental-based of course!) 

1. The Future We Choose

This 2020 Sunday Times Bestseller provides readers with the opportunity to discover why there’s still hope for the planet and how we can each make a difference in the climate crisis, starting today.

Written by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, this defining book outlines two possible scenarios for our planet. One describes the Earth in 2050 if we fail to meet the Paris Agreement Climate Targets (in which Christina led negotiations for the United Nations). In the other, the authors lay out what it could be live to live in a regenerative world that has net-zero emissions. 

Whilst alarming, this book is a call to arms – it shows us how we can, and will, survive! 


Figueres and Rivett-Carnac dare to tell us how our response can create a better, fairer world


2. What a Fish Knows

This popular science book is based on the intelligence, and behaviour of fish. Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water?

Author Jonathan Balcombe, a British scientist and author who has written numerous books on animal behaviour, ecology, and conservation, argues that animals do not simply aim to survive, but also take part in certain types of behaviour purely for fun or pleasure.

Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish – more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined – we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Passionate about convincing the general public that fish are not unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines, the author sets out to challenge the way in which we view, and treat, fish, making the point that catching any other animal in this way would be seen as totally unacceptable. 

Brimming with exciting discoveries, insightful anecdotes and key scientific facts, this proves to be an informative and fascinating read, undoubtedly generating thought-provoking questions for those who choose to learn more about our underwater cousins. 

3. All We Can Save

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis is a compilation of illuminating essays and poems from women at the forefront of the climate movement curated by two climate leaders – Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katherine K. Wilkinson.

Whilst it is clear that women and girls are vital agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial table. To change everything, we need everyone. All We Can Save illuminates the often overshadowed expertise and insights from dozens of diverse climate-leading women in the United States of America. 

From scientists to journalists, farmers to designers, this masterpiece combines literary and art to create a soothing, yet still educational, overview of how we can quickly reshape society. Why not take join them on their journey toward all we can save?

4. It’s Not That Radical

It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action to Transform Our World is climate activist Mikaela Loach’s debut book and addresses how representations of climate action in the mainstream media have been white-washed, green-washed and diluted to be made compatible with capitalism.

Written from a place of deep hope, Mikaela is a passionate advocate for climate justice, and for society to take a long overdue visit to the roots of capitalist exploitation, poverty, police brutality, and legal injustice – the systemic causes of climate degradation. 

Named as one of the most influential women in the UK climate movement, Mikaela (who would likely prefer not to spend too long discussing titles) is a revolutionary and one who is here to empower a new generation of activists.

It’s Not That Radical provides interesting insight into the intersections of the climate crisis with oppressive systems and pays homage to Mikaela’s dedication to making the climate movement a more accessible space – vital in today’s society. 

5. How to Speak Whale

This hugely entertaining read comes from a strange life experience – a whale landing in a kayak, almost killing it’s occupant!

Tom Mustill, a biologist and filmmaker, shared a clip – which later went viral – and subsequently became obsessed with whales after his peculiar encounter. How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication is his original investigation into the deep ocean and today’s cutting-edge science. Upending much of what we know about these majestic ocean giants, Tom poses questions such as ‘What would it take to have a conversation with a whale?’, ‘Are we ready for what they might say?’ and ‘What would the consequences of such human-animal interaction be?’

This book takes readers on an enthralling deep dive into animal communication, animal-human interactions, and our wider world. Recommended by authors such as Christiana Figueres, Philip Hoare, and Lucy Jones, How to Speak Whale is sure to be an entertaining read.

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