There are many books on the market that are especially good for individuals new to the green movement. When asking what book every environmentalist should read, this is a difficult question because this is completely based on what you are looking for. If everything is connected, then it is important that one read books over aspects of the green movement that cover more than one is specifically interested in. The two connected links include some highly rated environmentalist books that should broaden your knowledge. Enjoy!
Every envoronmentalist must read the essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin. It is an infuelntial essay which hilights the problems with undervaluing social costs of using common goods (goods which are non-excluable but are rival) and how without regulation these resources would be underproduced or depleted.
Oh, I had to read the Tragedy of the Commons for an Urban Planning class! Very good read! I personally reccomend the Sustainability Revolution (link below). It discusses the impact of sustainability in commerce, the community, natural resources, and the atmosphere.
Depends on the topic. I loved “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer, which discusses factory farming. “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson Levine is an environmental classic as well. For every environmental topic, there’s a great book to go with it.
Great question, there are so many! Here are a few that I enjoyed.
Cradle to Cradle by McDonogough and Braungart (http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilgrim_at_Tinker_Creek)
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Collapse and Guns Germs and Steel both by Jared Diamond
I think the book to read is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Praising the body, the earth, and the natural communion of things, it can be seen as the foundation of American Poetry and is also one of the greatest books ever written.
“All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.” — From Leaves of Grass.
Song of the Dodo is an excellent and easy read that points out all of the loss that has already occurred with biodiversity. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in environmentalism.
I would recommend The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Both delve into America’s food production and agri-business. They investigate the increasingly monopolized world of food, and its adverse affects on small farmers, consumers, and the environment. Both really great reads and very interesting.
I would suggest any of Michael Pollan’s books to both environmentalists, and those not particularly interested in the environment. Not only do they provide ways to live more sustainably, but they offer tips on how to improve your life and health in general.
My vote is for Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, as I believe it to be the literary marker of the green movement; it brought awareness to environmental issues that had not, as yet, been so directly pointed to before. I think of it as a harbinger of change.
Food Rules by Michael Pollan. This book offers simple and straight forward rules for eating wisely. It offers wit and humor and reminds us that food doesn’t have to be so complicated!
Without a doubt, Thoreau’s Walden (or Life in the Woods). I consider him to be one of the first–if not altogether, the first environmentalist. In this particular work, he writes about the human need and subsequent search to find a place in nature.
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn is an essential for any activist, let alone environmentalist. A philosophical book using the Socratic method of teaching, a man finds he can conserve with a very well-informed ape. The gorilla telepathically teaches him “how man came to be this way” from his point of view. It’s a very interesting read that triggers a lot of thought and discussion around how humans have come to dominate the world and how maybe that’s not the best way to live.
Everyone should read Aldo Leopold’s The Sand County Almanac. It covers a lot of ground and was a pioneer for environmentalism in its day – and it is still relevant now. A chapter from this, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” remains one of the most profound things I’ve ever read.
Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us” has definitely changed the way I look at the world and how humanity interacts with it! The book is essentially a “though experiment” that seeks to answer the question of what would happen if all of humanity simply disappeared from Earth. One fact that I remember from the book that I can’t get out of my head is the number of birds killed by cell phone towers in the U.S. (I’ll give you a hint–the answer is in the billions). Weisman doesn’t push people to take action, but he doesn’t really have to. The facts speak for themselves and if you aren’t impelled to think about the impact your decisions will have on the future of this planet then I highly recommend this book.
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