Go Green: Fiction Books Inspired by Sustainability Principles

“Earth has plenty resources to suffice our need, but no planet has enough resources to suffice our greed.”
Abhijit Naskar, The Gentalist: There’s No Social Work, Only Family Work

Mother Earth has been catering to the need of living beings for eons. With her verdant forests, arrays of food, and plentiful water, she has been sustaining life. Being wholly dependent on her for everything, it is our duty as human beings to sustain our planet as well. However, are we doing it? Put your hand on your heart and ask yourself this. Are we taking care of our beloved Earth?

Over the years, we have allowed our greed to reign supreme. In the name of civilization, we have permitted our selfish desires to ravage our beautiful planet. Today, pollution, poverty, and overpopulation are common. Industrialization, urbanization, technological development, and illiteracy are the driving factors degrading our environment. If we do not take steps to mend our ways, it would be too late for us and our planet.

Sustainable development comes into play here. Now, you may ask what sustainable development is. As per the World Health Organization, “Sustainable development is a broad term to describe policies, projects and investments that provide benefits today without sacrificing environmental, social and personal health in the future.”

In simpler terms, sustainable development refers to nothing but developing the future without sacrificing the future. It aims to protect Earth and its resources for our future generations.

To make sustainable development a reality, the United Nations came up with 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as SDGs. The aim is to accomplish all these goals by 2030.

Dissemination of the message of sustainable development is key to its realization. Books are one of the most effective methods to spread awareness. Many of us like to escape to the world of fiction to get away from the humdrum of our daily lives. A novel with an ingrained lesson of sustainable development not only entertains us but also teaches us something valuable.

Let us have a look at some amazing fiction books that uphold the value of sustainable development.

The Grapes of Wrath

Author: John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath (1939 1st ed cover)

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was first published way back in 1939. Set in the Depression Era, the Pulitzer Prize winner recounts the dire effects of a man-made climate disaster. The Grapes of Wrath follows the poor Joads family as they leave their Oklahoma homestead and make their way to California. The grim injustices that the Joads had to experience while traversing the dry and dusty climes are heartbreaking. The pain of poverty and the ridicule of the better-offs will still ring a bell for readers today. Steinbeck is a brilliant writer. He brings to us human suffering and resilience. At the same time, he gives us a unique insight into the natural world. There is a chapter wherein you are made to see the world from a turtle’s eyes for a while. We get to see how indifference to nature leads to man’s own doom. This American classic leaves us with the feeling that we all have a choice – a choice to live happy and sustainable lives.

The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy


The Road pennedby Cormac McCarthy is definitely a masterpiece. This post-apocalyptic novel follows a father and his son as they make their way to the coast. Their road is through an America that is devastated. There is nothing but ash, snow, stones, and the darkness of doom. The father-son duo only has a gun, a cart of food, and the clothes on their back as they traverse the ruins of humanity. McCarthy gives us a glimpse of a future that is very much probable. A future that awaits us is dark, grim, and lonely. At the same time, he depicts the tenacity and love of humans. Through simple and straightforward language, Cormac McCarthy both dashes our hopes and revitalizes them. He horrifies us with the hopelessness of a probable future. At the same time, he shows us that we can overcome it all. The Road takes us on a journey that will definitely teach us some valuable life lessons.

Sultana’s Dream

Author: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Sultana’s Dream is a work way ahead of its time. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain penned this utopian science fiction short story in 1905. Published in The Indian Ladies Magazine, it is considered by many as the first feminist science fiction story. Sakhawat, herself a part of a conservative culture, imagines a land called Ladyland. Here, women reigned supreme. They could walk the streets fearlessly, get the best education, fight wars, drive flying cars, and make the most innovative inventions. In this land, there is no crime, and nature is respected. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat’s Sultana’s Dream is a must-read for everyone. It underscores the significance of equality, a key principle of sustainable development.

Rakta Karabi

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, is an author par excellence. He was a polymath who excelled in the fields of art, literature, and music. All his works have a profound meaning. In 1924, Tagore came up with the allegorical play, Rakta Karabi. It was published in the magazine, Prabasi. The drama is set in the fictional kingdom of Yakshapuri where the king had taken on a dictatorial persona. He relentlessly exploits nature and humans for his own gain. He takes the help of science to build a well-oiled bureaucratic machine in order to increase his wealth. His greed knows no bound. He shuns nature and beauty in favor of materialistic wealth. Tagore depicts how vehemently protests can arise against such a state. He aims to find a balance between mechanization and nature.


It is high time that we take our planet seriously. We need to remember that Earth is the only planet where life is feasible. If Earth dies, we all die. Hence, we need to step up and take care of Earth.

The books listed here all underscore the importance of sustainable development. Hope you enjoy them.

Note: All images on our site are in the public domain or are used with WordPress permission, unless stated otherwise.

One thought on “Go Green: Fiction Books Inspired by Sustainability Principles

  1. I rarely read this kind of story because I have huge eco-anxiety. But, of course, I understand their importance. And I was glad to learn about the first feminist sci-fi piece!


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