Ooooohhh. While I am way into the classics, including Rachel Carson, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, I think Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen is my favorite for it’s ability to inspire change. I feel that with all the environmental issues out there, and the plethora of people who care but don’t know what they can do, making decisions about the food they eat is the best way to begin proactive environmental change.
When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce is an interesting book that follows water issues in over 30 different countries. Even as I type this, there are water conflicts and issues occurring all over the world. This book takes a look at the impacts of water on social and economic issues and how water has shaped our world.
Of course, The Lorax by Dr. Suess is a timeless classic with the theme of how nature is destroyed for big business.
My favorite environmental book is Food Rules by Michael Pollan. I love it because it is simple, and to the point. It seems like there is so much information in the media about what to eat to be healthy and environmentally friendly, and at times it becomes overwhelming. Pollan’s book is a quick and easy read, but has a ton of great tips.
While it’s not a book about the environment in the same sense as some of the other answers given, my favorite would be O Pioneers by Willa Cather. It takes place on a farm in Nebraska, focusing on the second generation of pioneers who have come to farm the land. On the surface Cather seems, at times, to take the stance that humans are meant to master the landscape, shape it and make it do their bidding by farming it relentlessly. But her descriptions of the wild prairie, as well as the protagonist Alexandra’s passion for preserving the land even as she farms it, show that the novel is really an argument for sustainability. Alexandra’s actions show her to be deeply connected to the land in a way that her fellow farmers are not, concerned for its longevity but also interested in utilizing it to its full potential. Alexandra compromises the pristine landscape of untouched prairie for what she sees as a better version of the land that sustains both herself and her family while retaining the wild beauty she so appreciates.
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