The Songs of Trees
David George Haskell
In David George Haskell’s love letter to trees, he observes a dozen trees over several years—city trees in Manhattan and Jerusalem, forests in the Amazon and North America and ones on the front lines of environmental change like eroding coastlines and war zones—and reports on how human history, nature and ecology are intertwined in the life of the tree.
Where the Water Goes
David Owen writes about the history and significance of the Colorado River in this part-travelogue, part-geopolitical and ecological lesson. He traces the water from it’s roaring headwaters to its terminus, which used to be a thriving wetland and is now a parches desert. He notes all of the power plants, golf clubs, farms, Las Vegas fountains that rely on this water and yet puzzles over why this crucial American water source isn’t better protected.
No Immediate Danger
William T. Vollmann
William T. Vollmann has cast his nonfiction lens on issues of poverty, violence and immigration. In No Immediate Danger, he examines the factors and human actions that have contributed to global warming. He examines the many causes of climate change, from industrial manufacturing and agricultural practices to fossil fuel extraction, economic demand for electric power, and the desire that people all over the world have to live in comfort. He also aims a critical eye at nuclear power, visiting the ghost towns of Fukushima, Japan left by the tsunami and the reactor meltdowns of 2011, gauging the levels of radiation left behind. This book, the first volume in a series, will be a seriously important read.
Dr. Qing Li
As a society, we are often inside instead of out and staring at a screen, rather than blue sky. As a result, we suffer from nature deficit disorder, but studies have shown that spending mindful, intentional time around trees—what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing—can promote health and happiness. This book teaches how running your hands over bark, standing in the dappled sunlight under a grove of trees and smelling the earthy scents can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, boost your mood and help you live a longer, healthier life.
The Botany of Desire
In this 2001 book by one of America’s most trusted food experts, Michael Pollan examines how plants have evolved to serve humankind’s most basic yearnings: sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. Pollan uses the potato to the apple to the tulip to marijuana to beautifully illustrate his point and ask the question: who is really domesticating whom?
Our earth is changing in vast and mysterious ways—and not always for the better. Ocean levels are rising, there’s a plastic island in the Pacific that’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas, and atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased tenfold since the 1950s. Some of what we can do to combat climate change is to read and understand what is happening in the world around us, so we can begin to do our part to lessen our impact.
Some of these titles shed light on how climate change is occurring, and some merely talk about the incredible things nature does and why we should celebrate it. Did you know trees communicate in family units? And that just being in the forest has healing powers? Read this books to celebrate the earth and to do your part in helping to heal it.
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