Book Picks: "Green" Books

Green Books

Spring is the time for all things green. Grass is growing, leaves are budding, and, of course, green is the color for St. Patrick's Day. With that in mind, we've picked a selection of "green" books for to check out - books that will bring you in touch with your green thumb by bringing you information about nature, climate, and the environment.

Down From the Mountain

'Down From the Mountain: The Life & Death of a Grizzly Bear,' by Bryce Andrews

Down from the Mountain tells the story of one grizzly in the changing Montana landscape. Millie was cunning, a fiercely protective mother to her cubs. But raising those cubs in the mountains was hard, as the climate warmed and people crowded the valleys.

That trouble is where award-winning writer, farmer, and conservationist Bryce Andrews's story intersects with Millie's. He shows how this drama is "the core of a major problem in the rural American West--the disagreement between large predatory animals and invasive modern settlers"--an entangled collision where the shrinking wilds force human and bear into ever closer proximity.

A Life On Our Planet

'A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future

"I am 93. I've had an extraordinary life.

As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world - but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been the loss of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity.

I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake -- and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right."

Climate Crisis

'Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet,' by Noam Chomsky

In this compelling new book, Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin map out the consequences of unchecked climate change, and present a realistic blueprint for change: the Green New Deal.

They show how forecasts for a hotter planet strain the imagination: vast stretches of Earth will become uninhabitable, plagued by extreme weather, rising seas, and crop failure. Arguing against the misplaced fear of economic disaster arising from the transition to a green economy, they show how this concern encourages climate denialism.

Climate change is an emergency that cannot be ignored. This book shows how it can be overcome politically and economically.

Floating Coast

'Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait,' by Bathsheba Demuth

The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans--the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia--before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress.

Floating Coast is a resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet. 


'Fathoms: The World in the Whale,' by Rebecca Giggs

In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet's atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover how plastic pollution pervades our earth's undersea environment. With depth and clarity, Giggs outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet.

The Future Earth

'The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming,' by Eric Holthaus

In The Future Earth, Eric Holthaus offers a radical vision of our future, specifically how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. Anchored by world-class reporting, it shows what the world could look like if we implemented radical solutions. 

This is the book for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the current state of our environment. Hopeful and prophetic, The Future Earth invites us to imagine how we can reverse the effects of climate change in our own lifetime and encourages us to enter a deeper relationship with the earth as conscientious stewards.

The Story of More

'The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here,' by Hope Jahren

The Story of More is Hope Jahren’s impassioned open letter to humanity. Jahren celebrates the long history of our enterprising spirit, which has tamed wild crops and sent us to the moon. She also shows how that spirit has created excesses that are quickly warming our planet. In short, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions, from electric power to automobiles, that, even as they help us, release untenable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. She explains the consequences of greenhouse gases and shares the science-based tools that could help us fight back.

Leave Only Footprints

'Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park,' by Conor Knighton

When Conor Knighton set off to explore America's "best idea," he worried it was his worst idea. A broken heart had left him longing for a change of scenery, but the plan he'd cooked up in response had gone a bit overboard in that department: Over the course of a single year, Knighton would visit every national park in the country, from Acadia to Zion. Filled with fascinating tidbits about our parks' past and reflections on their fragile future, this book is both a celebration of and a passionate case for the natural wonders that all Americans share.

The Nature of Nature

'The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild,' by Enric Sala

In this inspiring manifesto, Enric Sala makes a clear case for why protecting nature is our best health insurance, and why it makes economic sense. His revelations are surprising, sometimes counterintuitive: More sharks signal a healthier ocean; crop diversity, not intensive monoculture farming, is the key to feeding the planet. Using fascinating examples from his expeditions and those of other scientists, Sala shows the economic wisdom of making room for nature, even as the population becomes more urbanized.

Owls of the Eastern Ice

'Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl,' by Jonathan C. Slaght

Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston's fish owl is highly elusive. They are also endangered. And so, as Jonathan C. Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species' survival. Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

Nature's Best Hope

'Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard,' by Douglas W. Tallamy

In this book, Douglas W. Tallamy outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature's Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it's practical, effective, and easy. You will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard.

If you're concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature's Best Hope is the blueprint you need.

The Sun Is a Compass

'The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds,' by Caroline Van Hemert

During graduate school, ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert began to feel stifled in the isolated, sterile environment of the lab. Worried that she was losing her passion for the scientific research she once loved, she wanted to experience wildness again, to be guided by the sounds of birds and to follow the trails of animals.

In March of 2012, she and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic. Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace. This book is great for fans of Cheryl Strayed.

The Nature Fix

'The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,' by Florence Williams

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while walking over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. From forest paths in Korea to islands in Finland to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science at the confluence of environment, mood, health and creativity. She uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our lives shift indoors, these ideas are more urgent than ever.

The Hidden Life of Trees

'The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries from a Secret World,' by Peter Wohlleben

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow. Wohlleben presents the science behind the unknown life of trees and their communication abilities, and he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices benefit both the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.

The Fragile Earth

'The Fragile Earth: Writing from the New Yorker on Climate Change'

The New Yorker has devoted enormous attention to climate change, describing the causes of the crisis and the political and ecological conditions we now find ourselves in. 

The Fragile Earth tells the story of climate change--its past, present, and future--taking readers from Greenland to the Great Plains, and into both laboratories and rain forests. It features some of the best writing on global warming from the last three decades, including Bill McKibben's seminal essay "The End of Nature," the first piece to popularize both the science and politics of climate change for a general audience.

Published on March 15, 2021
Last Modified May 06, 2021