Megan asked the Tearfund Action team to share some of the books, podcasts and videos that have inspired them to pursue justice, particularly around plastic pollution, climate change, and activism. Here are their top picks.
By Megan Prosser | 15 Apr 2020
Almost everyone’s daily routines look different now from how they did a month ago. I used to pass the time on my daily commute by reading a book or listening to a podcast. Believe it or not, I’ve actually found myself missing it. So I went looking for some good content to check out during lockdown.
I’ve recently joined the Tearfund Action team which campaigns against global injustice. It may seem like a strange time to think about plastic pollution, climate change and activism, but I know it’s important to stay engaged with the issues making those in poverty even more vulnerable. I asked the team to share some of the books, podcasts and videos that have inspired them on their journey to pursue justice.
Here are our top picks, all on the theme of justice and calling for a fairer world.
Note: these are just suggestions, not endorsements from Tearfund
Don't even think about it: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
– George Marshall
Why do people still ignore climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence? How do we rethink this challenge so we can overcome it together? An exploration of psychology and social dynamics told with engaging stories from across the world.
Climate justice: hope, resilience, and the fight for a sustainable future
– Mary Robinson
This is an inspiring call to action on climate change, with stories and lessons for a way forward. It’s a book that’s been passed around our team, with many of us finding it had a powerful impact on us personally.
Planetwise: dare to care for God's world – Dave Bookless
After throwing away rubbish on holiday, Dave Bookless heard God challenge him about how humankind was treating creation. This was the start of a journey of discovery and led to him writing this hope-filled, biblical case for caring for the planet.
Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist
– Kate Raworth
Don’t be put off if you don’t consider yourself an ‘economist’! The concept of ‘doughnut economics’ is a helpful way of looking at how to meet human needs and stay within our world’s environmental limits. This paints a brilliant picture of a society where everyone can flourish.
Generous justice: how God's grace makes us just – Timothy Keller
This is one of the books that has had the most powerful impact on me in learning about God’s heart for justice. It provides a solid theological foundation for social justice, in a succinct and accessible way.
Turning the tide on plastic: how humanity (and you) can make our globe clean again
– Lucy Siegle
Journalist and eco-lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle wants to end the problem of plastic. There are plenty of practical ideas to try in this book, making it a great addition to our Rubbish Campaign resources.
7: an experimental mutiny against excess – Jen Hatmaker
This thought-provoking book deeply challenged me to reconsider my lifestyle and habits. The author identified seven areas of excess in her life, tackling one each month by changing her lifestyle choices. Her reflections on faith and consumerism are honest, challenging and inspiring.
From what is to what if: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want – Rob Hopkins
To effect dramatic change, we humans need to use our most critical tool: our imagination. This is Hopkins’ main idea, as he suggests the question ‘What if?’ is needed now more than ever. Read this to engage your creativity in bringing about change for the better.
This changes everything: capitalism vs. the climate – Naomi Klein
From the author, social activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein comes this book that exposes many of the myths that muddy the climate change debate. In it, she looks at the systemic causes behind climate inaction, and how we might build a better future.
Positive News magazine
‘Fed up of bad news but want to stay informed?’ This is Positive Magazine’s tagline, and it feels apt right now. You’ll find stories of social and environmental progress, and people making a positive difference in the world. Added bonus – it’s a carbon-neutral publication!
The Hopeful Activists’ Podcast
Even if you don’t consider yourself an ‘activist’, this podcast will inspire you with bold stories from Christian activists – people who have embraced the ancient call to action. Co-hosted by Rich Gower from the Tearfund Action team!
Reasons to be cheerful – with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd
Check this one out for optimistic discussion on ideas that could improve the world, with guests ranging from world experts to comedians. According to the website, the podcasts ‘explore the ideas, people and movements solving the biggest challenges facing society’.
Making Disciples – The Podcast
Tune in for weekly content that helps your personal discipleship and spiritual formation. This is a great resource no matter what your context. Look out for a recent episode featuring Tearfund’s Ruth Valerio.
What On Earth? The Sustainable Podcast
The environmental campaigning organisation Hubbub has created this podcast looking at the past, present and future of environmental issues. Listen to this for a discussion on climate change that ‘doesn’t want to make you run for the nearest bunker’, and promotes personal action.
This is one of the few podcasts where climate change and comedy go hand in hand. Sustainababble provides weekly episodes about the environment ‘for and by the confused’, dissecting some big topics with a good dose of humour. The best comedy is based on truth, right?
Conscious Chatter is a conversation about our clothes and the impact of what we wear every day. If you’ve heard a bit about ethical fashion but want to go further, this podcast will teach you more about the clothes industry and how we can be a part of changing it for the better.
No Place Like Home
Hosted by two climate activists and dear friends, No Place Like Home dives into the spiritual, personal, cultural and emotional aspects of climate change. An honest, authentic podcast that gets to the heart of climate change and what it means for humanity.
‘Climate In crisis’ – Spring Harvest Home
Watch Jack Wakefield from our Tearfund Action team give a brilliant talk on ‘Climate in crisis’ as part of the Spring Harvest Home online conference this week.
The boy who harnessed the wind
A young teenager in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his village from famine. This film shows how local innovation can be transformative, and how climate change deeply affects those whose livelihoods depend on farming.
Recycling sham – an episode of the Broken documentary series
This documentary episode takes a closer look at why recycling isn’t the answer to the world’s plastic problem, even if corporations try to convince us otherwise. Where do recycled products really end up?
A plastic ocean
An adventure documentary all about the shocking amount of plastic in our oceans, and what can be done about it. Worth a watch, especially if you’ve been part of our Rubbish Campaign.
The true cost
Filmmaker Andrew Morgan travels the world to find out who really pays the price for our clothing. An important exploration of the human and environmental cost of the fast fashion industry.
This documentary follows the work of oceanographer, marine biologist and environmentalist Sylvia Earle on her campaign to save the world’s oceans from the threats of overfishing and toxic waste.
From Oscar-winning director Bong Joon Ho, this fictional story follows a child as she befriends the loveable hippo-esque creature Okja. I found it captivating – especially when considering how we can treat creation well.
The Praxis Labs online course
Ok, this last one is slightly more than just ‘watching’. If you’d like to go deeper into hopeful activism and turn your faith into action, you can sign up for this course through the Praxis Centre for Hope & Activism. You can sign up as an individual or a group for six weekly sessions starting on 30 April. Tearfund are contributing to this special installment of the course, so there is no upfront financial cost for this, although you will be able to make a contribution at the end if you'd like to.
I’d love to hear what resources have impacted and inspired you. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any reflections or recommendations you’d like to share. Stay safe in these strange times!
Megan Prosser, Tearfund Action
Written by Megan Prosser