Dig into our resilience-inspired pop culture summer tips

A person sitting in front of a laptop, in the background are bookshelves.

Whether you prefer a book, podcast or movie, our list has something for everyone. Picture taken in the library of Stockholm Resilience Centre. Photo: E-L. Jansson/Azote

Find your 2022 summer inspiration with one of these Anthropocene-themed books, podcasts, and movies


Summer is a great time to take a break and to slow down from your everyday work. It’s also a good opportunity to learn something new or be inspired.

To help you make the most of your time off, we have compiled a small list with our favourites. From clashes over sand to possible bright futures based on renewable energy and the downfall of civilisations, this list features nine picks from our staff. Enjoy!


Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

“It’s a novel that is squarely about the Anthropocene, climate, global interconnections etc. I was inspired to read it due to my research collaboration with colleagues from Kolkota on the Indian Sundarbans. It answers the Ghosh’s previous point in ‘The Great Derangement’ that literary culture has largely ignored climate change, the largest single event to happen to modern humans”, says centre researcher Tim Daw.

Book cover of Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh (Macmillan Publishers)

Read a review of Gun Island in the Guardian here

Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World by Carlos Orsi, Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro and Fabio Fernandes

“Imagine worlds running completely on renewable solar/wind energies, futures where the global food crisis has been solved through circular economies, infrastructures where nature and technology cooperate to create ecological harmony.

As a branch of ecological science fiction, solarpunk is a reaction against paralyzing eco-dystopia and looming pessimism.

This anthology of Brazilian solarpunk stories is particularly remarkable not only because these imaginations come from Brazil, world leader in solar energy, but also because they engage indigenous knowledges, solidarity economies, and community-based solutions without disregarding persistent social and racial inequalities in the colonial and extractive history of the region.

Ultimately, each story offers insights into what renewables mean and what green can cost in terms of endless extraction and dispossession when transitioning from coal mining to wind turbines or solar panels”, says centre researcher Azucena Castro.

Read more about Solarpunk here

The World for Sale by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy

“In The World for Sale, two leading journalists lift the lid on one of the least scrutinised corners of the economy: the workings of the billionaire commodity traders who buy, hoard and sell the earth’s resources”, writes The Financial Times which shortlisted it as one of the best business books of 2021.

Read the full synopsis by the Financial Times here

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

“A classic which is well worth a re-read from an Anthropocene angle. Essentially, Steinbeck describes the repercussions of the North American Dust Bowl event in the 1930’s. A series of droughts and dust storms render large parts of the great plains infertile and force an estimated 500 000 mostly landless farmers to migrate – a tipping point of the prairie social-ecological system.

With humanity nearing more and more tipping points on different scales, Steinbeck’s novel describing dramatic changes and consequences is as relevant now as it was in 1939 when it was first published”, says centre communications officer Johannes Ernstberger.


Outside/In by New Hampshire Public Radio

“I am woefully behind, but I’ve been listening to Outside/In out of New Hampshire Public Radio for a few years and although their work is generally about the outdoors it often relates to the work we do at Stockholm Resilience Centre,” says PhD student Mary Scheuermann.

Media card for the podcast Outside/In

Listen to the podcast here

Twenty seventy-two by Spotify Studios

The future is in our hands. We have the power, and the responsibility, to change the planet and the society for the better. For ourselves and future generations. The worlds we can create 50 years in the future are familiar and at the same time incomprehensible. Take part in stories rooted in the latest research from residents in some of our possible futures.

Twenty seventy-two is a collection of audio short stories written by Tuva Novotny and Henrik Björn, read by Gizem Kling Erdogan and Edvin Ryding. The short stories are based on research-based future scenarios developed by Andrew Merrie, Head of Futures at Planethon and centre affiliate.

Listen to the podcast here

Fall of Civilizations by Paul M.M. Cooper

“The Fall of Civilizations podcast is another favourite. It includes discussions and descriptions of the human-environment interaction resulting in the flourishing, conflict and eventual decline or change in power in different places and eras”, says PhD student Mary Scheuermann.

Listen to the podcast here


Sand wars by Denis Delestrac

Most of us think of it as a complimentary ingredient of any beach vacation. Yet those seemingly insignificant grains of silica surround our daily lives. Every house, skyscraper and glass building, every bridge, airport and sidewalk in our modern society depends on sand. We use it to manufacture optical fibre, cell phone components and computer chips.

Based on encounters with sand smugglers, barefoot millionaires, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous real estate developers and environmentalists, this investigation takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush.

Watch a trailer for the documentary here

Breaking boundaries by Netflix, featuring Johan Rockström and David Attenborough

The Netflix production follows the scientific journey of Johan Rockström and his team's discovery of the nine planetary boundaries – a set of margins we must stay within, not just for the stability of our planet, but for the future of humanity.

Watch a trailer and access the documentary here

Published: 2022-06-30

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