I really like anything by Michael Pollan. His books are useful to a wide range of people, even those who do not consider themselves environmentalists. My favorite book of his is Food Rules because it is very basic and to the point.
Silent Spring is an essential classic about the dangers of chemical pesticides. Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire (also a documentary) is very interesting; it’s mostly about how certain plants have adapted to various climates in order to spread throughout the world – but it also explains “monoculture” very well, and important concept to understand why farmers have to use so many chemical pesticides. Food Inc. (also a documentary) gives important/disturbing info about the food industry. Friedman’s Hot Flat and Crowded is an important modern edition to the list, which explains the need for a green movement from an economist’s perspective.
I agree with the “Silent Spring” votes in that Carson’s book brings important environmental issues to light in a very engaging way. Her book is not only informative, but also enjoyable to read. Her message is a lasting one – compelling people to act in environmentally conscious ways – that transcends the currency of the DDT/pesticide subject. Her advocacy of a moral obligation to protect our environment is particularly relevant as we continue to face challenges with the by-products of our technologies and lifestyles today.
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