Top 10 Environmental Books

 

Most would agree that humankind is doing more harm than good to the planet that is our home, but when exactly, and, more importantly, how exactly did everything go wrong?

Here is a list of ten of the best environmental books that hopefully will provide an insight into all matters green.

 

Our Angry Earth

This book presents details on the main threats to our planet’s ecosystem and takes a comprehensive look at the methods we can adopt to save ourselves from destruction.

Read it For:
Most of the scientific processes – the Greenhouse effect, Global Warming, the Depletion of the Ozone layer, etc. are explained in layman’s terms.The facts are piled up steadily without it ever feeling like too much information.
Don't Read it For:
Since the book was published nearly two decades ago, it is very much out of date
What makes this book stand out?:
Though it is informative, it will instill in the readers an extremely real sense of fear and guilt that will (hopefully) rouse them into action.

Harvest of Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating

Goodall provides her insights on how we can change the ecological situation of the world just by altering our eating patterns.

Read it For:
The book’s rather brutal honesty is jarring, but it sends a rousing message about mankind’s consumption habits and the constant encouragement to promote organic farming, buying local produce, and think about what resources we’re using.
Don't Read it For:
This is not a scientific exploration of the problems that face current society.
What makes this book stand out?:
The sense of hope the author’s words gives the reader, as well as the tender yet urgent messages it sends.

The World Without Us

The book takes a look at how the planet would fare if humans were to cease existing entirely.

Read it For:
The vivid, almost eerie descriptions about how our cities would be replaced by greenery, how farmlands would turn to forests, and how wildlife in all shapes and forms would flourish make this book a real treat to read.
Don't Read it For:
The message that stands is a tad repetitive.
What makes this book stand out?:
The premise of the story is quite original and sends a strong, powerful message

The Diversity of Life

In this book, Edward O. Wilson explains in a distinctly scientific matter how life on Earth came to be.

Read it For:
Wilson conveys information articulately and persuasively whilst maintaining an easy-to-understand writing style. He adds a copious amount of details to his descriptions of nature which are wonderful to read.
Don't Read it For:
The slightly repetitive content matter, as well as the author’s focus on large-scale solutions rather than what can be done in the community.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book provides a great overview of the current situation and the strategies we can use to overcome it.
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The End of Nature

Bill McKibben talks about the planet like a massive organism that is not independent of human activity. He describes in detail the factors affecting wildlife, specifically due to mankind’s impact, and warns us of the damage we cause.

Read it For:
The case presented is that man has destroyed nature in all sense of the word, and the author does a superb job of describing phenomena such as Global Warming and the Ozone Layer Depletion.
Don't Read it For:
McKibben’s words are written with a sense of finality: as though there is absolutely no redemption, no way to reduce the damage done, leaving the audience with a hopeless, discouraging feeling.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book is both informative and rousing. The author draws from his own experiences in his explanations, and that makes the writing feel real.

Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air

MacKay analyzes the possibilities of switching to a sustainable form of energy and how life would change if it happened.

Read it For:
The book is an easy read and acts as a good introduction for readers just getting into the topic.
Don't Read it For:
The mathematics are simple, a mere estimate: if you’re looking for the exact sums, this book will not give it to you.
What makes this book stand out?:
The arguments offered are unbiased, and the use of real figures makes for an interesting read.

Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

The book delves into the possibility of energy conservation and how it can change our daily lives for the better.

Read it For:
The author leaves no stone unturned in terms of all the areas he addresses. The writing and research are both top-notch: Brown also makes use of useful facts and figures to support his arguments.
Don't Read it For:
While the book provides a few examples, these only detail the successes rather than the failures and how we can learn from them.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book is an eye-opener and motivates the audience to go out there and make a difference.

Earth from Above

A photography book, the Earth from Above shows us what a visual masterpiece our planet is.

Read it For:
The superb aerial shots from all over the world, coupled with simple, strong descriptions. There are lots of facts and figures along with smaller paragraphs on mankind and its development.
Don't Read it For:
Minimal text: the book isn’t meant to be a source of information, so don’t peruse it if that’s your goal.
What makes this book stand out?:
The photographs are stunning, and really makes the viewer appreciate just how gorgeous our planet is and how we really must try to save it.

A Green History of the World: The Environment & the Collapse of Great Civilizations

Ponting examines the interaction between mankind and his surroundings, starting with farming and going on to describe the race for development, and covering everything in between.

Read it For:
The assessment of humankind’s assault on the planet and all the damage we have caused is thorough and offers an interesting point of view.
Don't Read it For:
The author chooses to berate humanity as a whole rather than offer solutions to the problem.
What makes this book stand out?:
The retelling of the world’s history from an environmental angle is a fascinating one.

The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth’s History

David Beerling examines and details the role plants have played in regulating the Earth’s temperature, hence creating the Earth’s atmospheric conditions what they are today.

Read it For:
The writing is clear and efficient in laying down the facts, and is insightful in its approach to plants being the center of ecosystems.
Don't Read it For:
The writing lacks overall flow, and is meant for readers who already have decent knowledge of ecology.
What makes this book stand out?:
The botanical emphasis really makes the reader appreciate the value of plants in the world today.

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