LDF Team Book Recommendations

LDF strongly supports environmental literacy efforts, and we believe that helping the public at large learn more about our natural environment and systems is integral to empowering us all to take better care of our planet. To assist with this, the LDF team has compiled a suggested reading list of environmentally themed books for you to peruse. From coffee table books to in-depth non-fiction to children’s books, this ongoing list of book suggestions will be sure to enlighten, educate and entertain!

  • Talking with Nature

    Recommended by: Justin Winters

    Michael Roads had always been close to nature, but when a river started talking to him, he began to doubt his sanity. A series of encounters with the natural world followed, and Roads began to listen -- and let go. He found himself led stage by stage to a final wisdom, remarkable in its simplicity and in its message of hope for humanity. This book, a bind-up of his two best-known works, beautifully articulates that message.

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  • A New Reality

    Recommended by: Terry Tammenin

    A New Reality provides a scientific basis for recognizing that the current confusion and cultural conflict humanity is experiencing is neither predetermined nor our destiny but is, instead, part of a natural evolutionary process. The book shows us that a fact-based understanding of present conditions can lead us to a new reality reflecting interdependency, collaboration, and concern for the well-being of the many.

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  • The Madhouse Effect

    Recommended by: Karl Burkart

    The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate. Toles's cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann's expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two climate science crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books―and may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science.

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  • The Water Will Come

    Recommended by: Terry Tamminen

    If you want to understand the world of the not-too-distant future, The Water Will Come is a must-read. In 2017, the world got a preview with multiple hurricanes in the U.S. and massive flooding in Asia. Jeff Goodell writes with insight and compassion, giving us a primer we can use to persuade neighbors, friends, and politicians to take action NOW! Here’s a detailed review

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  • Extreme Cities

    Recommended by: Karl Burkart

    Extreme Cities by Ashley Dawson is a groundbreaking investigation of the vulnerability of our cities in an age of climate chaos. We feel safe and protected in the middle of our great urban areas, but are we? What will the cities of the future look like?

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  • Overview: A New Perspective of Earth

    Recommended by: Justin Winters

    Overview by Benjamin Grant is a stunning new perspective of Earth from space in pictures. The title points to the ‘overview effect’ - the transformative experience astronauts feel when seeing Earth from space and mankind’s place upon it. The photos of the profound impact humans are having on the planet are at once both beautiful and disturbing.

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  • Adults in the Room

    Recommended by: Daniel Cooper

    The former Greek Finance Minister tells what really happened with Greece and the EU in the economic meltdown. Super insightful on Bureaucracies, Bureaucrats, and globalization. Here is a great review from the Guardian.

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  • Real Impact

    Recommended by: Linda Sheehan

    Morgan Simon, founder and chair of the nonprofit Transform Finance, opens this fast-paced, provoking book with a crash course in impact investing, ‘the trillion-dollar trend most people have never heard of’.” She offers that “impact investing,” or investing for social benefit as well as profit, will be most effective if deeply rooted in the community it purports to serve, recommending that investors engage communities in the design, governance, and ownership of impact projects. Simon adds that projects should add more value in the community than is extracted, and should fairly balance risk and return among investors, entrepreneurs, and communities. These strategies are necessary to truly transform finance to ensure social well-being broadly. 

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  • The Genius of Birds

    Recommended by: Kristina Haddad

    An award-winning science writer tours the globe to reveal what makes birds capable of such extraordinary feats of mental prowess. Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores their newly discovered brilliance and how it came about. 

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  • Drawdown

    Recommended by: Gregory Lopez

    Climate change is real. So how do we solve it? Expand your scope of solutions beyond solar and electric vehicles by diving into Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. This book will provide an introduction to a multitude of solutions that will both intrigue and inspire you, such as cows eating seaweed. Who knew?

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  • California Goes Green

    Recommended by: Jill Gravender Matteson

    California Goes Green is a contemporary history of California's bold steps into the forefront of U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through personal experiences, colorful anecdotes and insider interviews, the book describes the energy and environmental progress of California over the past decades and suggests approaches that can be used in any jurisdiction to build long-term energy and environmental climate strategy. 

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  • Growing a Revolution

    Recommended by: Morgan Moore

    Soil health is an essential component to a greener future! This book provides a great overview of soil biology and how healthy soil can help feed a growing global population while slowing climate change. A great read that explains the environmental, social, and economic benefits of healthy soil for different farm sizes and geographies.

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  • The Soul of an Octopus

    Recommended by: Keith Shattenkirk

    Octopuses are incredible species, well known for their expert camouflage techniques. Scientists are discovering that not only are they masters of disguise, but they are also one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In this book, Sy Montgomery chronicles her relationship with a number of different octopuses, exploring their individual personalities and emotions in an entertaining, thought-provoking way.

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  • Reason for Hope

    Recommended by: Kate Thomas

    Dr. Jane Goodall's revolutionary study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe preserve forever altered the very, definition of humanity. Now, in a poignant and insightful memoir, Jane Goodall explores her extraordinary life and personal spiritual odyssey, with observations as profound as the knowledge she has brought back from the forest.

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  • What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming

    Recommended by: Olivia Esse

    In What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming, psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes explores the psychology of climate change, from eco-anxiety to adamant climate change denial. In examining the lack of response to concerning scientific evidence, Stoknes highlights the power of storytelling and how climate scientists may harness it to their (and the planet’s) advantage.

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  • Ground Truth

    Recommended by: Karl Burkart

    Ground Truth: A Guide to Tracking Climate Change at Home is a guide to living in this condition of changing nature, to paying attention instead of turning away, and to gathering facts from which a fuller understanding of the natural world can emerge over time. Featuring detailed guidance for keeping records of the plants, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, and mammals in your neighborhood, this book also ponders the value of everyday observations, probes the connections between seasons and climate change, and traces the history of phenology—the study and timing of natural events—and the uses to which it can be put. An expansive yet accessible book, Ground Truth invites readers to help lay the groundwork for a better understanding of the nature of change itself. 

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  • The Nature Fix

    Recommended by: April Gilbert

    Everyone has an inclination that being in nature is good for the body and soul, and history is full of artists and great thinkers who have shared that sentiment. In The Nature Fix, Florence delves into cutting edge neuroscience to explain exactly why that is, and prove that time spent in nature is essential to developing and maintaining healthy cognitive function. As we increasingly spend more time indoors, this is a great reminder to make the effort to protect and spend time in places in places of natural beauty. 

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  • Diet for a Small Planet

    Recommended by: Orquidea Hale

    Put best by author Frances Moore Lappe herself “This book is about protein – how we as a nation are caught in a pattern that squanders it; and how you can chose the opposite – a way of eating that makes the most of the earth’s capacity to supply this vital nutrient.” The book describes our current approach to getting protein, why it is inefficient and how we can get more, better, protein with less damage to the Earth. It also details the nutritional science of protein giving guidelines to how much we need, what are excellent non-meat sources, and it even includes recipes! Published in 1971, Lappe was a pioneer in the movement for sustainable food. Much of her work still stands true today, and continues to influence our world. 

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  • Merchants of Doubt

    Recommended by: Kristina Hambley

    Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversial story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is "not settled" have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. "Doubt is our product," wrote one tobacco executive. These "experts" supplied it.

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  • The Botany of Desire

    Recommended by: Edward Bell

    Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. Just as we’ve benefited from plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?

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  • Right Out of California

    Recommended by: Caryn Mandelbaum

    In a major reassessment of modern conservatism, noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR’s New Deal. Right Out of California tells how this brief moment of upheaval terrified business leaders into rethinking their relationship to American politics—a narrative that pits a ruthless generation of growers against a passionate cast of reformers, writers, and revolutionaries.

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  • The EARTH Book

    Recommended by: Jenna Cittadino

    The EARTH Book by Todd Parr is a perfect gift for a budding environmentalist ages 2–5. It’s a wonderful introduction to how to live a sustainable life.  Mr. Parr’s illustrations are fun, engaging, and silly and they provide a connection between an action and the impact: how a simple choice a child can make will affect the planet.  Bonus: If you like this book, check out Todd Parr’s The Peace Book and The Feelings Book, because it’s all connected to making our planet a better place.

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  • Breakpoint

    Recommended by: Karl Burkart

    In Breakpoint: Reckoning with America's Environmental Crisis, eminent ecologist Jeremy B. C. Jackson and award-winning journalist Steve Chapple traveled the length of the Mississippi River interviewing farmers, fishermen, scientists, and policymakers to better understand the mounting environmental problems ravaging the United States. Along their journey, which quickly expands to California, Florida, and New York, the pair uncovered surprising and profound connections between ecological systems and environmental crises across the country. Artfully weaving together independent research and engaging storytelling, Jackson and Chapple examine the looming threats from recent hurricanes and fires, industrial agriculture, river mismanagement, extreme weather events, drought, and rising sea levels that are pushing the country toward the breaking point of ecological and economic collapse.

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