5 Books That Will Fuel Your Inner Activist In 2020

Everyone tries to turn over a new leaf in the New Year. These books about how to up your activism game are the perfect gift for someone this Christmas. Give one of these five great reads, and lay the groundwork for your buddy, your brother or your grandmother to start taking action this 2020.

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5 Books That Will Ignite Your Inner Activist

Books are just the best Christmas presents. Candles, clothes and jewellery are great, but a book gifts someone a new perspective, a world to get lost in and a conversation to join. 

There will be something here for anyone you know who’s incubating an inner activist. Whatever obstacles they are coming up against, the authors will get them feeling excited and empowered to take action. Whether it’s redressing the fashion industry, kicking carbon out of the climate crisis or fighting for a form of social justice, they will get a motivating boost of drive and self-belief. And hey, the planet needs all the help it can get right now. So your present could contribute to a better world too!

Plus scroll down to the end to find a brilliant competition where you can win all of these books!

Image Photography | Kisha Bari

1. Shut It Down

Know someone who feels overwhelmed and hopeless in the face of a social issue they care about? Shut It Down is the book that will get them empowered and inspired to act. It is written by Lisa Fithian, who Mother Jones described as “the nation’s best-known protest consultant”.

This read offers practical advice about how you can incite change on a community level, which will go on to create positive, wider reaching ripples. Fithian backs up her prescribed practices with historical success stories. They delve behind the scenes of some of the most important social justice movements of the last few decades, to prove that civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action are the most powerful means of righting societal ills.

Fithian will show your reader that these methods are also part of a creative, selfless and a spiritual quest. Whilst she draws inspiration and lessons from the past, Fithian has made her book applicable to modern day activists, living in this unprecedented era of Trump, Brexit and the Climate Emergency.

Image Photography | Kisha Bari

2. Fibershed

If you’ve got a farmer, a knitter, a fashion fiend or simply a consumer in your circle, this book will show them how to stage their own personal and ongoing fibershed moment. 

Fibershed covers a topic that we are technically all wrapped up in: the societal and environmental impact of the clothing we wear. Author Rebecca Burgess is a weaver and natural dyer from California, who speaks from her experience of having had backstage access to textiles production. 

Image Photography | Paige Green

This is a hopeful book. The thread that runs through it is Rebecca’s personal tales of her home community. They uncover that ample raw material does exist to support a new regional textile economy. If realised, this would hugely contribute to climate change prevention and soil restoration. 

The book explains that if you understand what constitutes a sustainable second skin, and you wear it, the dirty textile industry will have to follow suit and clean up its act.

Image Photography | Paige Green

3. Burn

This is one for that climate conscious person who rolls their eyes at the hackneyed methods of combating carbon emissions. Give them this book to get them feeling refreshed and inspired. 

The premise of Burn literally stems from some of civilisation’s greatest grassroots. Authors Albert Bates and Kathleen Draper explore a technique used by the ancients of the Amazon. They employed it to rejuvenate and enrich their soils and, according to Bates and Draper, we can use it to reverse and capitalise on the carbon emissions currently devastating the planet. 

A bigger vision for human progress is laid out in this book. It explores how carbon can actually be used to create a circular system that will enrich our soils, clean our water, create building materials and even drive revenue for companies and boost the economy.

4. Rules for Revolutionaries 

Just incase it wasn’t obvious, Rules for Revolutionaries is an ironic title. Do you know someone who strives to make changes but struggles to think outside the box? This gift could get them to step out of their comfort zone and play in a bigger picture. 

Rules is all about going against the grain of the political establishment. Authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley will inspire your tentative reader to break out of the thinking that can confine and inhibit individuals and organisations, who attempt to reform whilst playing by the rules. 

This book uses as its guide the groundbreaking, experimental campaign that saw volunteers use technology to get Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign to take off. 

Alongside the story, Rules for Revolutionaries delivers 22 rules for ‘big organising’, which Bond and Exley guarantee can drive any type of social change movement.

5. From What Is To What If

We are repeatedly told that the future is bleak: climate catastrophe is coming and our mental health is plummeting. We all know someone who believes that they, and the world at large, are destined for gloom, doom and destruction. Rob Hopkins’ brilliant From What Is To What IfW

Win all of these books!

That’s right, we’ve got one of each of these five activism starting books from Chelsea Green Publishing to give away, in a lovely tote bag. Give one of these books for a present this Christmas and win a set for yourself.

Enter the Chelsea Green Publishing competition

Valid to US and UK entrants. Enter before 14 November, see T&Cs on the comp.

On the hunt for other green Christmas gifts?

Be sure to check out our Ethical Christmas Gift Guide

A bit nervous about taking action for the first time? 

Here’s everything you need to know to take action this autumn

Unsure about why we need to revolutionise the fashion industry?

This is why our cheap clothes are costing the earth