“Green” Your Summer Reads

Constructing your summer reading list? Several of our Green Neighbors have brainstormed their favorite environmental books. Have a browse and see how you might like to “green” your summer reads.

  • A Sand County Almanac (1949), by Aldo Leopold. Collection of essays about Wisconsin land and people’s connection to it.
  • Silent Spring (1962), by Rachel Carson. Details the harmful effects of pesticides like DDT on the environment. Spurred change in the national pesticide policy.
  • Encounters with the Archdruid (1971), by John McPhee. Examines mining, land development, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered (1973), by E F Schumacher. Collection of essays examining Western economics.
  • Traces on the Rhodian Shore (1976), by Clarence Glacken. Human environment connections throughout history.
  • Earth and Other Ethics (1987), by Christopher Stone. Examines the ethics around natural objects; should rivers, animals, forests have rights?
  • The End of Nature (1989), by Bill McKibben. One of the first books to discuss climate change in layman’s terms and in relation to humankind’s future.
  • The American Replacement of Nature (1991), by William Irwin Thompson. Examines the commodities of capitalism.
  • Regarding Nature (1993), by Andrew McLaughlin. Industrialism and Deep Ecology.
  • The Spell of the Sensuous (1996), by David Abram. Explores the disconnect between humans and the natural world.
  • Serendipities (1999), by Umberto Eco. Essays about how truths can come out of false ideas or mistakes.
  • Earth in Mind (2004), by David Orr. How education may direct students away from feeling connected to the natural world.
  • Eco-Friendly Families (2008), by Helen Coronato. Guide to raising a family with “green” values.
  • Somatic Ecology (2009), by Robert Bettmann (a Green Neighbor!). Connection between the human body and the environmental crisis.
  • Merchants of Doubt (2010), by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. How a hanndful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming.
  • Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (2011), by Bill McKibben. Describes the current effects of climate change and ideas about how to move forward in this new world.
  • Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth (2012), by Mark Hertsgaard. Call to action based on the burden placed on “Generation Hot”, the two billion young people who will have to cope with the effects of climate change.
  • This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (2014), by Naomi Klein. Looks at the relationship between the global economy, political systems, free market ideology, and the climate change crisis.
  • Don’t Even Think About It (2014), by George Marshall. Understand why people doubt issues like climate change and can therefore help us find more effective arguments and strategies.
  • Missing Microbes (2014), by Dr. Martin Blaser. Discusses the possible dire consequences of our overuse of antibiotics.

Environment + Food Books

  • The Jungle (1906), by Upton Sinclair. The classic that spurred the nation’s awareness that our food production system might be in need of some closer monitoring.
  • Animal Factory (2000), by David Kirby. Follows 3 families who live and/or work near CAFOs and documents their view on the CAFOs’ impacts on the local environment
  • China Study (2005), by T. Colin Campbell. Analyzes the diet and health of millions of rural Chinese and the correlation between the two.
  • Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006), by Michael Pollan. An easy-reading book that highlights some of the concerns of our current food production system without getting into some of the goriest details.
  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (2007), by Caldwell Esselstyn. Offers compelling anecdotal evidence of the benefits of eating a plant-based, whole foods, low-fat diet. Plus recipes!
  • Eating Animals (2009), by Jonathan Safran Foer. Presents a very “in your face” (though enjoyable) argument against the consumption of animal products

Children’s books (with recommended age ranges):

  • The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge, by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen (grade 2-5)
  • Polar Bear, Why Is Your World Melting? by Robert E. Wells (grade 1-4)
  • How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming, by Lynne Cherry (local author from Takoma Park) (grade 4-8)
  • How Groundhog’s Garden Grew, by Lynne Cherry (local author from Takoma Park) (kindergarten-grade 3)
  • The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown (preschool-grade 1)
  • Xochilt and the Flowers/Xochitl, la nina de las flores, by Jorge Argueta and Carl Angel (bilingual English/Spanish) (elementary school)
  • The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss (grade 1-4)
  • True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet, by Kim Mckay and Jenny Bonnin (grade 5 and up)
  • Indigo Blume and the Garden City, by Kwame Alexander and JahSun (early elementary) (local author from DC)

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