6 Books on Climate Change from UC Davis

Get Informed and Inspired with New Books from Campus Authors

You don't have to be a student at UC Davis to learn from these professors. Their knowledge about the Earth and its environment is woven throughout these six new books that came out in 2023 or are about to be published. From oceans, fire, and evolution to transportation and sustainability these books inspire action on the world’s most pressing environmental issues. 

At Every Depth

Headshots of Tessa Hill and Eric Simons and book cover of "At Every Depth" featuring an underwater picture

At Every Depth by Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Tessa Hill and writer Eric Simons takes a deep and emotional dive into how human relationships with the ocean are shifting with the rapid changes occurring in the sea. 

“We tell stories of people who are rebuilding our connection to the ocean and carving a new, more sustainable way forward,” said Hill.

From scientists, to Indigenous community members, to fishermen, these people have watched the coast change and the losses that accompany it. 

“We hope that other people see what we are losing, and what we have to hold onto.” Hill and Simons tell stories of hope and the merging of knowledge that is helping the world form a more sustainable future. 

At Every Depth will come out February 6, 2024 and is available now for pre-order. 

The Evolution of Power 

Book cover of "The Evolution of Power." Features pictures of organisms; Headshot of Geerat Vermeij

Published in November, The Evolution of Power: A New Understanding of the History of Life is Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Emeritus Geerat Vermeij’s seventh book. 

From his career with seashell fossils and drawn evidence from life and society, Vermeij explores how natural selection and evolution funnel toward increasing power, and how this is closely connected to the evolution of humans. 

“Humans are, without any question, the most powerful species, both collectively and individually, that has ever lived on Earth,” said Vermeij. This “monopoly” on the Earth causes problems, and Vermeij argues that we can find solutions by looking outside this human-centric view. 

Learn more in this College of Letters and Sciences article.  

Design By Fire

Book cover of "Design by Fire." Depicts orange-filtered photo of a burned landscape; Headshots of Brett Milligan and Emily Schlickman

With California often aflame, Emily Schlickman and Brett Milligan in the Human Ecology department wrote Design by Fire, an exploration of how civilization should live under new fire regimes. 

Through the history of wildfire in the United States and multiple case studies of fire-conscious environmental design, Schlickman and Milligan explain future research directions and potential design techniques with over 100 full-bleed images and author-drawn illustrations.

“We felt compelled to expand the design and planning toolbox to explore new ways we might co-exist and co-create with fire,” said Schlickman. “The future is not inherently dire. We have agency in deciding what futures we may experience.”

The Manetti Shrem Museum will launch a companion exhibition, Pyro Futures, with Milligan and Schlickman this January.

Shifting Gears

Book cover of "Shifting Gears." Features photos of bikers and heavy traffic jams; Headshot of Susan Handy

Environmental Science and Policy Professor Susan Handy’s book, Shifting Gears, argues that transportation is not working in the U.S.

Handy, who directs the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC Davis, takes readers down the road into the failures of the nation’s car-centric narrative, and offers solutions to the root of this problem. She pushes for a shift in the nation’s transportation ideals to a system that is more diverse, just, and sustainable. 

She recently discussed the book in a Q&A with Sactown magazine.

Outdoor Environments for People

Book cover of "Outdoor Environments For People." Features a green blueprint artistic design; Headshot of Patsy Eubanks Owens

Patsy Eubanks Owens, Human Ecology professor, recently published Outdoor Environments for People, a book that sold out at her book signing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Her book merges outdoor landscape design with human behavior and psychology, creating a guide for designers and landscape architects. Owens urges a form of outdoor place design that responds to human and cultural behavior theories, such as territoriality and place attachment.

These human-need and climate-centric designs can have a large impact on the health, safety, and belonging of individuals and communities. 

The Sustainable Urban Development Reader 

Book cover of "The Sustainable Urban Development Reader." Features an imagined picture of a green space in a city; Headshot of Stephen Wheeler

Published early this year, The Sustainable Urban Development Reader by Human Ecology Professor Stephen Wheeler is an easily digestible introduction to sustainability within urban communities. 

“We need to think both about big-picture societal change and about smaller choices that we can make day-to-day,” Wheeler said. “I hope readers will be inspired to take some sort of action to make a difference.” 

His book helps readers understand the complex dimensions of sustainability action to “better serve human and ecological welfare in the long run.” He covers topics ranging from land use and green architecture to environmental justice. 

Wheeler’s book envisions sustainable communities through case studies from around the world and viable solutions to this 21st century challenge. 


Malia Reiss is a science news intern with UC Davis Strategic Communications. She studies environmental science and management at UC Davis.

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Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-750-9195, kekerlin@ucdavis.edu 

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