Reading the news about the state of the environment can leave you feeling helpless and maybe not fully informed. What are we supposed to do to help the world? In these 10 books, different subjects, from chemical pollution to the stuff we consume, are explored and solutions are provided in an easy-to-digest manner. These books will take you on an adventure of the spirit toward living a more environmentally friendly life.
These are the best books on how to make good environmental choices and reconnect with nature.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Silent Spring, which was published in 1962, is widely considered to be the book that kicked off the modern environmental movement. The book is concise and informative and yet poetic in a way. In it, Carson speaks of ecological systems and the impact of the chemical industry on the planet. Carson, who wrote this book while dying of cancer, was attacked for her work and accused of being a communist, which had serious ramifications during McCarthyist red-scaring.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax is a must-have for any child’s bookshelf. In it, the Truffula trees are chopped down in order to make Thneeds. The Lorax, a small, mustached person angrily protests the removal of the trees and advocates for environmental protection. This book is a perfect introduction for children ages 4 and older to pressing environmental issues. Discuss with your kids how natural resources are used and what this can do to our world.
Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg
Have you ever wondered about the impact of watching Netflix? How about turning on a light bulb? If you want to take a deep dive on the impact of your consumption, big purchases or small, Schlossberg’s book is a great place to start. Its focus is on fashion, fuel, technology, and food. The issues written about in this book are complicated, by Schlossberg does a masterful job of breaking each one down, making it easily digested and actionable.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
The animals of the world are vanishing at an alarming rate, but incredibly, this realization is very new. Before the late 1700s, it was believed that complete extinction of a species wasn’t possible. This denial is now behind us and the world is waking up to the impact of humanity. Kolbert’s book truly is a page turner, easy to be engrossed in. It is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking and informative.
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, A Sand County Almanac is a classic and a must-read. The book tells the stories of an unspoiled natural world and takes readers on a trek through the seasons and the changes that occur in the land. A Sand County Almanac explains how destructive mankind’s impact on the land has been and what can be done to reverse the damage.
The Eye of the Elephant by Delia and Mark Owens
The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness takes a hard look at the incredible loss of elephants the world has experience since the 1970s. This book details the struggles that Delia and Mark Ownes experienced in trying to save elephants from certain doom. Reading this book is an adventure in and of itself and the incredible stories held within will keep you turning the page.
How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
Your attention is one of your most valuable and sought-after resources according to artist, author, and critic Jenny Odell. In her book, How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell describes just how difficult it is to simply do nothing. In doing nothing, you’re actually paying a new kind of attention. When you liberate yourself from the distractions of the world, you can see more clearly that bold action on the environment is required and discover different paths to happiness. Once you’ve finished, you’ll feel compelled to spend some time doing nothing in particular.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
In Walden, Henry David Thoreau reflects on the art of living simply and the nature of the world around us. The book, published in 1854, can be an intense read, covering a broad range of subjects from spiritual discovery to satire to self-reliance. It is another classic that should be on the read list for anyone interested in nature and introspection.
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
Stuff. You probably have some stuff and you probably use some of that stuff every day. Is that where the story ends? Not according to The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. The book is an expansion on a documentary of the same name which explores how overconsumption threatens the health of the environment, the global economy, and even us. This book is particularly important because it not only describes the problem but offers concrete solutions to the problems it identifies.
Love Earth Now by Cheryl Leutjen
Have you ever awoken in the morning and wondered what you can do for the planet today? Love Earth Now: The Power of Doing One Thing Every Day is like a self-help book for being conscious of your environmental impact and taking positive steps toward being “eco-mindful.” This book provides you with examples, big and small, of what you can do each day to contribute less to environmental problems and love the Earth.