Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 3, 2020

Book Industry for Climate Action Group (BICAG)

I’m very pleased to be promoting this action group because (a) its aims are so worthwhile (b) if its first action is any guide its strategies will be effective and (c) my niece who works in publishing (Hi K!) is a founder member.  The following is copied shamelessly from the press release at Books and Publishing because my eyes still aren’t up to much just yet.

Writer Sophie Cunningham, children’s author Lorna Hendry and Berbay sales and marketing manager Kirsty Wilson have founded an industry action group to address climate change.

The Book Industry for Climate Action Group (BICAG)Book Industry for Climate Action Group (BICAG) is a ‘literary-focused group that actively encourages curiosity and rebellion’. Other founding members of the group include The Garret podcast host Astrid Edwards, Readings Kids bookseller Angela Crocombe, and a number of Black Inc. staff, including head of marketing and publicity Kate Nash, associate publisher Jo Rosenberg, editorial and production director Kirstie Innes-Will, and production manager Marilyn de Castro. The newly formed group said in a statement: ‘The climate emergency is the defining issue of our times and there has never been a more urgent need to understand our predicament. As always, it is books that have the power to inspire and transform us.’

The group’s first action is the creation of a reading list called Books for the Climate Emergency, which offers recommendations of fiction, nonfiction, classics, young adult and children’s books.

‘The implications of climate change are escalating and, as with everything, there is a book to help with that,’ says Cunningham. ‘There are books to help kids understand what’s going on. There are books that allow you to engage imaginatively with the crisis, and ones that give you the kind of practical advice that makes a complex situation less overwhelming.’

Copies of the reading list will be available at writers festivals and bookshops nationally, according to the group, and it is also available for download here.

BICAG is looking for new members to join, and anyone interested can contact the group via email or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


I have copied the Fiction, Non-Fiction and Classics booklists from the reading list, with links to my reviews:

Fiction helps us imagine what our world could look like, and there are no more powerful tools at our disposal than our creativity and empathy. These works tackle the theme of climate change from different perspectives.

  • The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson, Affirm Press, 2019, see my review
  • The Trespassers by Meg Mundell, UQP, 2019, see my review
  • Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar, Pan Macmillan, 2019, see my review
  • From the Wreck by Jane Rawson, Transit Lounge, 2017, see my review
  • Clade by James Bradley, Penguin, 2015
  • The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau,  Bloomsbury Australia, 2015, see my review
  • Oryx and Crake, (part 1 of a trilogy) by Margaret Atwood, Hachette Australia, 2013 (I read this too long ago for it to be reviewed on this blog)

These books will help you get your head around the complex issue of climate change and how we can – and must – address it.

  • Earth Emotions: New words for a new world, by Glenn Albrecht, Cornell University Press, 2019
  • Letters to the Earth: Writing to a planet in crisis by Jackie Morris, Jo McInnes and more, Harper Collins, 2019
  • On Fire: The burning case for a green new deal byNaomi Klein, Penguin, 2019
  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after warming by David Wallace-Wells, Penguin, 2019
  • We Are the Weather: Saving the planet begins at breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer, Penguin, 2019
  • Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming by Paul Hawken, Penguin, 2017
  • How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, equity, nature by George Monbiot, Verso, 2017
  • Active Hope: How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, New World Library, 2012

This summer, our unique environment has been ravaged by the effects of climate change. Australia is one of the countries most exposed to climate change, making the local perspectives offered by these titles required reading.

  • 2040: A handbook for the regeneration by Damon Gameau, Pan Macmillan, 2019
  • City of Trees by Sophie Cunningham, Text Publishing, 2019, see my review
  • Superpower: Australia’s low-carbon opportunity by Ross Garnaut, Black Inc., 2019
  • Sunburnt Country: The history and future of climate change in Australia by Joëlle Gergis, Melbourne University Press, 2018
  • The Handbook: Surviving and living with climate change by Jane Rawson and James Whitmore, Transit Lounge, 2018, see my review.  (I have bought half a dozen copies of this and given them to my friends and neighbours. Because the message is, we have to do this together.)
  • The Long Goodbye: Coal, coral and Australia’s climate deadlock by Anna Krien, Quarterly Essay 66 Black Inc., 2017


Mass global climate protests might be a new phenomenon, but climate change isn’t. These writers tried to galvanise us into action years ago. It’s not too late to read their work, and it’s not too late to demand action to protect our planet.

  • Dark Emu: Black seeds: Agriculture or accident? by Bruce Pascoe, Magabala Books, 2014, see my review
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism v the climate by Naomi Klein, Simon & Schuster, 2014
  • Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action by David Spratt & Philip Sutton,  Scribe, 2008
  • Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, nature and climate change by Elizabeth Kolbert, Bloomsbury, 2006
  • An Inconvenient Truth: The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it,  Al Gore, Rodale Books, 2006 ( saw the movie. I thought it would change everything, but it didn’t.
  • The Weather Makers:The history and future impact of climate change by Tim Flannery, Text Publishing, 2005
  • The End of Nature by Bill McKibben, Anchor, 1989; reissued 2006 by Random House
  • The Sea and the Summer by George Turner, Orion SF Masterworks, 1987

About us the BCAG
The Book Industry Climate Action Group is made up of publishers, booksellers, writers, editors and other publishing professionals
who share a deep concern about the global climate emergency. We work within the principles and shared values of Extinction Rebellion. To find out more, go to
This reading list is a work in progress. We would love your input. Please send us your suggestions for other titles or newly released books on the theme of the climate emergency.
If you want to be kept in the loop when the list is updated, or if you would like a digital copy for your business or workplace, let us know.
March 2020


  1. Great post with lots of reading suggestions.


  2. A great initiative Lisa.

    I’m a bit amused though by the definition of Classic! Over at AWW I feel I can JUST justify a book published 25 years ago as classic BUT 5 years ago? It does rather debase the term. Nonetheless, the books listed there are good I’m sure. I have The weather-makers but still haven’t read it – probably a bit late now. I have read a later Bill McKibben book which I’ve reviewed and greatly liked.

    (Hope your eyes are improving every day.)


    • Yes, it’s not quite my definition of a classic either, but maybe they’re thinking that these will become the classics of the future?


      • Yes, I’m guessing they are, but I still think it debases the real meaning of the word.


        • Looking again at their introductory remarks… perhaps they are making a political point rather than a literary one? As in, see, here, all these years ago these writers were warning us and nobody listened.
          Perhaps they should have called them the Cassandras instead…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Haha Lisa, yes. And I see your point, they could be using it that way. It’s not Kosher though because technically classics are the opposite – they’re the things we do take note of and remember! (Though in AWW I relax this remembering aspect and just go with age!)


            • LOL If there is one aspect of loving books in which we are doomed to fail, it is classifying them!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm, this isn’t quite what I expected when I saw the name of the group. Do they plan to do more other than putting together book lists? How are they making the book industry more environmentally sustainable? All that paper, all that packaging etc


    • I think it’s very early days… they don’t even have a website yet, though they’re on Facebook etc. But I think that raisin awareness through reading is a good start, we can’t get any other kind of change without changing attitudes in the first place, that’s been the problem in Australia from the start.


      • Agreed. Raising awareness is good. But most people who need their awareness raised won’t ever pick up a book 🤷🏻‍♀️


        • Don’t ask me where I read it, but I have read something recently that said if you’re trying to change attitudes (e.g. with anti-vaxxers) the best way is not to try with the die-hards, but to work with the ones who are not fully committed to a position. It’s what I used to do at school. I never wasted my time on the Stone Age Troglodytes who refused to change. I worked with the people who weren’t sure, and could be persuaded to think differently. And eventually the SATs were left out on a limb looking stupid. (Even then some of them wouldn’t change but they were in a minority that nobody respected).
          So, re climate change, if it’s possible to reach people who haven’t figured it out yet but feel a bit scared by our recent summer, perhaps through a book group or being given a book from this list as a present (which people tend to feel obligated to read) or just hearing about it from other people who’ve read the book, maybe those people in the uncommitted middle might contemplate changing their vote, or taking some kind of political action. I think just heading about the scenarios painted in The Glad Shout, or Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists would freak a lot of people out…
          Say what you like about ScoMo, his No 1 priority is to get re-elected, and if he thinks that the ‘silent majority’ a.k.a. his dopey Quiet Australians who voted for him have shifted ground, he will use whatever authority he’s got from winning the unwinnable election to keep their vote.
          And at the end of the day, Kim, we can’t give up. We have to try anything and everything. Because it’s not our future we’re messing with, it’s the generations to come. And the Planet.


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