"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." -- Jane Goodall
"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." -- Albert Einstein
If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money." -- Guy McPherson
"We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it." -- Jay Inslee
Rising-Dispatches from the New American Shore | Elizabeth Rush
In “Rising,” Elizabeth Rush takes readers to the physical and cultural edges of the country, from the marginalized and forgotten citizens of places like Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, to the glass castles of Facebook and Google in Silicon Valley. As high tide and massive storms become the new normal, those at the coasts, especially those with lower incomes, will be most at risk of flooding and all that comes with it. At stake are not just coastlines; entire communities stand to lose their homes and lifestyles to climate change, becoming the first of many climate refugees. The question is not a matter of if but when we lose these lands, and Rush explores how we cope with this knowledge.
The Ends of the World | Peter Brannen
Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions
As we stare down the barrel of our own (man-made) catastrophe, science journalist Pete Brannen takes us on a walk down memory lane over millions of years to examine the planet’s five mass extinctions. With paleontologists as our protagonists, “The Ends of the World” uses fossil records across the globe to autopsy our five mass extinctions and portend our future. While the topic might sound as dry as a fossilized trilobite, Brannen’s wit may leave you chuckling aloud, from Ordovician to Cretaceous — call it rock and droll.
How to Give Up Plastic | Will McCallum
A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time
Plastics are everyone’s problem, and unless we as individuals, governments and companies all share responsibility, we won’t solve ever solve it. In this book, Will McCallum, head of oceans at Greenpeace UK, frames the current state of global plastic pollution and the environmental consequences of our throwaway, single-use culture. Part history, part guide, “How to Give Up Plastic” helps us understand our plastics addiction while giving us practical, ambitious steps to correct it.
Storming the Wall | Todd Miller
Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security
It’s time to open our eyes to the economic and political implications of climate change. In “Storming the Wall,” Todd Miller tells the story of climate change refugees that have been forced from their homes and paints a larger picture of how wealthy countries like the United States are putting up walls, militarizing borders and bloating detention centers to restrict those seeking refuge and maintain the status quo of the haves and have nots.
The Uninhabitable Earth | David Wallace-Wells
Life After Warming
Need to get up-to-speed on our climate emergency? “The Uninhabitable Earth” may be the book for you. In 200-odd pages, columnist and editor David Wallace-Wells deftly unpacks the past, present and future of life in the time of anthropogenic global warming. Remarkably, Wallace-Wells’s prose manages to convey not only the urgency (and anxiety) of our environmental crisis, but the opportunity we still have to seize the solutions right in front of us and turn things around. First you’ll get scared straight; then you’ll get straight to work.
Losing Earth | Nathaniel Rich
A Recent History
“Losing Earth” explores the environmental decade that never was: 1979–89, when we knew all we needed to know about global warming to stop it. Tracing the political and scientific history of the climate crisis, Nathaniel Rich reports how the public, with scientific backing, lined up to tackle climate change — until a coordinated campaign by lobbyists, corporations and politicians cast doubt on the whole thing. We all know what happened next. To understand how we got to where we are, we must look to the shortcomings of our past. “Losing Earth” does just that.
Don’t Even Think About It | George Marshall
Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
Why is our response to climate change so woeful? George Marshall explores how we make choices to act or ignore. And when it comes to climate change, it’s usually the latter. Climate change is a “wicked problem,” Marshall writes, a complicated challenge with no clear enemy and no silver-bullet solution. To tackle this problem and mobilize action, “Don’t Even Think About It” argues we need science, but just as importantly, we need emotional, compelling narratives.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? | Frans de Waal
People have long assumed that complex thought and emotion were exclusive to humanity. Primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal challenges this assumption, outlining the evolution of human understanding of animal cognition and exploring case studies of animal problem solving, tool use and social structures. This book is a source of provocative research findings, a history and critique of the field and a personal narrative of de Waal’s own career evolution. The result drives readers to reevaluate what it means to be intelligent while deepening their appreciation for the unique and diverse talents across the animal kingdom.
Salvage the Bones | Jesmyn Ward
Facts and figures may drive policy, but they rarely stir emotion with the strength that pure human storytelling can do. “Salvage the Bones” is the only work of fiction on this list, but author Jesmyn Ward comes from a place of enormous truth to tell the story of the Batiste family — bolstered by community, defined by pride and threatened by extreme heat and the battering of ever-stronger hurricanes. Like the book’s protagonist, 15-year-old Esch, Ward grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and lived through Hurricane Katrina, a category-5 hurricane that pummeled communities already made vulnerable by wetland degradation, local land subsistence and flooding. Ward’s prose rises above the cut-and-dried news coverage of the time to tell the story with a dignity and intensity that demonstrates all that we can create together and all that we stand to lose by climate change.
Where the Water Goes | David Owen
Life and Death Along the Colorado River
The Colorado River provides water for nearly 40 million people, but with climate change and booming populations, this river’s tap is close to running dry. David Owen takes us on a journey down this prized waterway, from the snowmelt atop the Rocky Mountains to the dried-up deserts of Mexico. After nearly a century of division by lawyers and politicians, overuse by farmers and cities and redirection by engineers and bureaucrats, the Colorado River’s resilience is waning. We’ve created this mess, but we can also pull ourselves out of it, Owen argues, before the tap runs completely dry.
This Radical Land | Daegan Miller
A Natural History of Dissent
When most still believed the natural world was a limitless resource for the taking, early environmentalists saw an ideal in which humans could coexist with the natural world, rather than exploiting it. Through a series of essays, Daegan Miller highlights efforts to bring together ideals of environmental justice, conservation and sustainable development at a time in history when American progress was viewed through the lens of unhindered extraction and expansion. This journey into the earliest beginnings of environmentalism is a reminder that radical, innovative ideas have always been a part of the effort to live in harmony with our planet.
Merchants of Doubt | Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway
In “Merchants of Doubt,” Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway draw a direct line between the tobacco industry’s initial response to secondhand smoke and our contemporary way of thinking about science, specifically global warming. As the books explains, a few industry-backed scientists led a coordinated campaign to cast doubt on science: Cherry-picking facts, misrepresenting views and celebrating unregulated capitalism as inherently American. It’s a common theme in our history and one that is still playing out today: Thanks to a few very powerful people, facts have been misconstrued and the public misguided in favor of unregulated, corporate-friendly ventures. Meanwhile, global warming has accelerated and so, too, has our own doubt about it.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes | Dan Egan
Since their settlement in the 1800s, the Great Lakes have undergone a destructive transformation by pollution and invasive species, the latter a byproduct of various engineering feats throughout the 20th century. Egan traces the roots and progress of these environmental challenges, as well as the hazardous social, economic and political problems they’ve caused. What’s at stake is the largest body of freshwater in the world, a precious environmental resource home to diverse ecosystems and depended upon by hundreds of thousands. It’s our job to protect it.
books about for kids:
The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk
by Jan Thornhill
Great Auks were flightless birds that resembled penguins. They were prolific in the icy waters of the northern Atlantic until human hunters, egg collectors, and climate change led to their extinction. Unfortunately, many other bird species are on a similar path. “The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk” is a beautifully designed picture book that reminds us how precious life is – all life. Booklist says, “This vivid, fascinating story emphasizes not only the importance of conservation but also how deeply intertwined the human and animal worlds can be. Eye-opening and tragic, to be sure, but surprisingly hopeful all the same.”
The Problem of the Hot World
by Pam Bonsper
The trees have stopped growing. The grass is all gone. The world is too hot, and there’s no more water to drink. When the forest world is turned upside down, how will the animals survive? Five friends – a fox, a bear, an owl, a mole, and a deer – set out on a journey to find where the water has gone. Can they bring it back? “The book has a lovely forest setting with recognizable animals, very interesting and charming illustrations (in perfect synergy with the story), and tells the story of environmental changes in a very simple, friendly, serene way,” says one Amazon reviewer.
It’s Your World
by Chelsea Clinton
“The New York Times” bestselling book of empowerment for kids, written by Chelsea Clinton, includes an important message on the environment. With facts, charts, photographs, and stories, readers walk away with a deeper understanding of our earth and how to act to protect it. “Taking an upbeat, positive approach, former First Daughter Clinton stresses the importance of being proactive and involved when it comes to current events. She includes many examples of children and teens who have made a difference, and each chapter ends with a list of concrete actions readers can take,” says School Library Journal.
by Seymour Simon
Global warming may be an outdated term, but this book from award-winning science writer Seymour Simon is still highly relevant. The vibrant full-page, full-color photographs provide an up-close introduction concerning the facts surrounding climate change.
It’s Getting Hot in Here
by Bridget Heos
Author Bridget Heos tackles climate change head-on in this informative book written for a teen audience. Heos explains the history and science behind what’s causing our planet to warm and details the way humans have played a dominant role in its acceleration. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Well-researched and comprehensible, ‘It’s Getting Hot in Here’ is an alarming, but never alarmist, examination of a critical topic.”
Eyes Wide Open
by Paul Fleischman
Meant for older readers, “Eyes Wide Open” is a call to action that instructs teens and young adults on how they can evaluate the issues surrounding our environment using a combination of media, politics, and history. This guide is a must-read for young minds seeking to make a difference.
Books Featuring Endangered, Threatened, or Extinct Animals:
Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink
by Jane Goodall,
, Gail Hudson
From world-renowned scientist Jane Goodall, as seen in the new National Geographic documentary Jane, comes an inspiring message about the future of the animal kingdom.
With the insatiable curiosity and conversational prose that have made her a bestselling author, Goodall - along with Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard - shares fascinating survival stories about the American Crocodile, the California Condor, the Black-Footed Ferret, and more; all formerly endangered species and species once on the verge of extinction whose populations are now being regenerated.
Interweaving her own first-hand experiences in the field with the compelling research of premier scientists, Goodall illuminates the heroic efforts of dedicated environmentalists and the truly critical need to protect the habitats of these beloved species. At once a celebration of the animal kingdom and a passionate call to arms, HOPE FOR ANIMALS THEIR WORLD presents an uplifting, hopeful message for the future of animal-human coexistence.
The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat by Charles Clover
Gourmands and health-conscious consumers alike have fallen for fish; last year per capita consumption in the United States hit an all-time high. Packed with nutrients and naturally low in fat, fish is the last animal we can still eat in good conscience. Or can we?
In this vivid, eye-opening book—first published in the UK to wide acclaim and now extensively revised for an American audience—environmental journalist Charles Clover argues that our passion for fish is unsustainable. Seventy-five percent of the world’s fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished; the most popular varieties risk extinction within the next few decades.
Clover trawls the globe for answers, from Tokyo’s sumptuous fish market to the heart of New England’s fishing industry. He joins hardy sailors on high-tech boats, interviews top chefs whose menu selections can influence the fate of entire species, and examines the ineffective organizations charged with regulating the world’s fisheries. Along the way he argues that governments as well as consumers can take steps to reverse this disturbing trend before it’s too late. The price of a mouthwatering fillet of Chilean sea bass may seem outrageous, but The End of the Line shows its real cost to the ecosystem is far greater.
Endangered Animals: A Reference Guide to Conflicting Issues
By Richard P. Reading, Brian Miller
Our planet is losing its diversity of life at a rate unparalleled in recent times (see Wilson 1988). As human population and needs (real or perceived) expand, the globe becomes scarred by a deadly scythe. The habitats we increasingly harvest, such as tropical forests and wetlands, are often the crucibles of biotic richness. Is this loss simply fate? Are Homo sapiens following some specific manifest destiny? Should people just accept the trend and go about their daily business? After all, don’t people simply represent one species on the planet, all of which are struggling for survival?
Many adopt that attitude. It is certainly the easy path. After all, no matter how apocalyptic the outcome, the process is so slow (at least on human time scales) that it is nearly imperceptible. Also, each generation of increasingly urbanized populations throughout the world moves farther from nature. A few people may notice that the howl of a wolf no longer floats over the hills or that the springtime song of their favorite prairie bird rings less frequently than in their youth. But by and large, many lost life forms are too distant and obscure to be missed, and in thousands to millions of cases the forms may be gone before they are even known to science.
Yet there is a myriad of people who find this trend unacceptable. The stories of some of those people are encapsulated in this book. Issues that surround the dramatic declines of species are complex, often conflict-laden, and not easy to reverse. However, one can learn from past practices, improve performance, and avoid the problems common to endangered species conservation. To that end, this volume provides 49 case studies of subspecies, species, or groups of species that have been pushed to the brink of extinction. The contributing authors have dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort toward preserving the organisms about which they write, and they describe the controversies and complexities of each struggle. They do not want to be part of a modern extinction spasm, in which a large number of species go extinct in a relatively short period of time.
Endangered Animals: Discover Why Some of the World's Creatures Are Dying Out and What We Can Do to Protect Them by Ben Hoare (Author)
Eyewitness: Endangered Animals takes a look at creatures around the world that are currently threatened with extinction, along with the ways that we can help them survive. Starting with an overview of biodiversity and the web of life, the book then examines the threats facing a wide range of species, including polar bears, sea turtles, tree frogs, river dolphins, jaguars, pandas, gibbons, and the California condor.
books about other dangers:
A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End by J.E.N. Veron (Author)
Like many coral specialists fifteen years ago, J. E. N. Veron thought Australia's Great Barrier Reef was impervious to climate change. "Owned by a prosperous country and accorded the protection it deserves, it would surely not go the way of the Amazon rain forest or the parklands of Africa, but would endure forever. That is what I thought once, but I think it no longer." This book is Veron's Silent Spring for the world's coral reefs.
Veron presents the geological history of the reef, the biology of coral reef ecosystems, and a primer on what we know about climate change. He concludes that the Great Barrier Reef and, indeed, most coral reefs will be dead from mass bleaching and irreversible acidification within the coming century unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed. If we don't have the political will to confront the plight of the world's reefs, he argues, current processes already in motion will become unstoppable, bringing on a mass extinction the world has not seen for 65 million years.
Our species has cracked its own genetic code and sent representatives of its kind to the moon--we can certainly save the world's reefs if we want to. But to achieve this goal, we must devote scientific expertise and political muscle to the development of green technologies that will dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and reverse acidification of the oceans.
Rainforest: Endangered (Abandoned Places) by Dr. Simon Dures (Author) :
Rainforests are a natural wonder, our planet's green lung. Rainforests are home to over half the world's animal and plant species. Many of our everyday foods originate from these rich habitats, and rainforest plants are used in life-saving medicines. Most importantly, rainforests play a critical role in stabilising our climate; without them, life on Earth would be quite different. Yet, despite their vital importance, rainforests are disappearing at an increasingly alarming rate.
This book celebrates these essential ecosystems, looking at both tropical and temperate rainforests around the world, providing a pictorial record of these living wonderlands before they are gone forever.
Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Charles Moore (Author),Cassandra Phillips (Author)
The researcher who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—and remains one of today's key advocates for plastic pollution awareness—inspires a fundamental rethinking of the modern Plastic Age.
In 1997, environmentalist Charles Moore discovered the world's largest collection of floating trash—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ("GPGP")—while sailing from Hawaii to California. Moore was shocked by the level of pollution that he saw. And in the last 20 years, it's only gotten worse—a 2018 study has found that the vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean is now bigger than France, Germany, and Spain combined—far larger than previously feared.
In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life of plastics. From milk jugs and abandoned fishing gear to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin and be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments, including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and certain cancers. An urgent call to action, Plastic Ocean's sobering revalations have been embraced by activists, concerned parents, and anyone alarmed by the deadly impact and implications of this man-made environmental catastrophe.
Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution by Beth Gardiner (Author):
Nothing is as elemental, as essential to human life, as the air we breathe. Yet around the world, in rich countries and poor ones, it is quietly poisoning us.
Air pollution prematurely kills seven million people every year, including more than one hundred thousand Americans. It is strongly linked to strokes, heart attacks, many kinds of cancer, dementia, and premature birth, among other ailments. In Choked, Beth Gardiner travels the world to tell the story of this modern-day plague, taking readers from the halls of power in Washington and the diesel-fogged London streets she walks with her daughter to Poland’s coal heartland and India’s gasping capital. In a gripping narrative that’s alive with powerful voices and personalities, she exposes the political decisions and economic forces that have kept so many of us breathing dirty air. This is a moving, up-close look at the human toll, where we meet the scientists who have transformed our understanding of pollution’s effects on the body and the ordinary people fighting for a cleaner future.
In the United States, air is far cleaner than it once was. But progress has failed to keep up with the science, which tells us that even today’s lower pollution levels are doing real damage. And as the Trump administration rips up the regulations that have brought us where we are, decades of gains are now at risk. Elsewhere, the problem is far worse, and choking nations like China are scrambling to replicate the achievements of an American agency—the EPA—that until recently was the envy of the world.
Clean air feels like a birthright. But it can disappear in a puff of smoke if the rules that protect it are unraveled. At home and around the world, it’s never been more important to understand how progress happened and what dangers might still be in store. Choked shows us that we hold the power to build a cleaner, healthier future: one in which breathing, life’s most basic function, no longer carries a hidden danger.