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Social Impact and Sustainability Books That Are Inspiring Change 

Social Impact and Sustainability Books That Are Inspiring Change 


Social impact and sustainability are among the more significant forces driving change in today’s world. The scope of our understanding of the concepts of sustainability and social impact has also evolved. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) social impact leaders are at the forefront of creating and applying a more inclusive understanding of sustainability, one that not only seeks to drive positive change for the planet but also incorporates tackling critical issues related to community development, education, housing, agriculture, corporate responsibility, impact investing, and more

The following are four recent books by BIPOC authors who are inspiring change and starting important conversations across the fields of sustainability and social impact. 

Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman

Leah Penniman is a Black Creole farmer who has led others toward an anti-racist food system for nearly two decades. She works in the northeastern United States to create programs that will help Black, Latinx, and Indigenous farmer-activists reform and radicalize the organization of the food system.

Penniman has created innovative programs like the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion and the Youth Food Justice program for leadership training. As a result, she has become a leader in a global network that works to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, help to restore indigenous land-use practices, and destroy food apartheid.

It's About Damn Time, by Arlan Hamilton with Rachel L. Nelson

Arlan Hamilton is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital. This venture capital fund invests in underrepresented people: women, people of color, and those from the LGBT community. A former music coordinator, Hamilton spent time homeless and endured rejection after rejection. But, her fortunes changed when an angel investor wrote her a check for $25,000. Hamilton’s book tells the story of her rise from being penniless to running an investment fund worth millions.

Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence. by John Francis, Ph.D.

When the struggle to save the victims of oil spills left him feeling frustrated and helpless, John Francis decided he would take a more personal stand — no longer using any form of motorized transportation. However, as a young African-American man walking across the country in the early 1970s, Francis expanded his understanding of "the environment" to include the ways humans treat one another and how we can benefit the earth.

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind, by Harriet A. Washington

From lead poisoning to the effects of atmospheric pollution, disease, and industrial by-products, environmental hazards harm BIPOC Americans disproportionately. A Terrible Thing examines the many tragic side effects of this condition.

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