In honor of the upcoming launch of our Sustainability Study Circles on Thursday, Aug. 7th, I have put together a list of my favorite books in the realm of the environment and sustainability. Many of these are taken straight from the reading list of an Environmental Literature class I took last spring that changed my life and my relationship with written work and some I have discovered on my continued search to understand the state of the world and what to do about it. Here is a list of the top 10 environmental writing pieces that first inspired me to make changes in my life, come to terms with difficult environmental issues, and most of all, fall in love with the earth and a future in environmental advocacy and ecological living.
This list is a varied collection of material aimed at exposing someone with environmental interests to the wide range of genres that exist for an equally diverse subject. Included are works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, compilations of essays, and spiritual study. I recommend experiencing these books in an order similar to the one listed below and interspersing Mary Oliver’s Poetry and the Tao Te Ching throughout all of your reading (it is especially needed during the heavier middle section of books 4-7):
1. The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell
2. Tao Te Ching
3. Mary Oliver: New and Selected Poems
4. What’s Gotten Into Us? by McKay Jenkins
5. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
6. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges
7. Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us by Alexandra Morton
8. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
9. The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein
10. Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
As a college student about to start my senior year, the books that have been recommended to me and are on the top of my reading list include: What Now? by Ann Patchett, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan and Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, both by Charles Eisenstein.
Do you have any recommendations for environmentally related literature? Let us know in the comments!