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Contemporary Books


#Book Recommendation Lists #Books about the Environment #Contemporary Books #Modern Books


1y4e Team

Sustainability: A History

“In this illuminating and fascinating primer, Jeremy L. Caradonna does just that, approaching sustainability from a historical perspective and revealing the conditions that gave it shape. Locating the underpinnings of the movement as far back as the 1660s, Caradonna considers the origins of sustainability across many fields throughout Europe and North America. Taking us from the emergence of thoughts guiding sustainable yield forestry in the late 17th and 18th centuries, through the challenges of the Industrial Revolution, the birth of the environmental movement, and the emergence of a concrete effort to promote a balanced approach to development in the latter half of the 20th century, he shows that while sustainability draws upon ideas of social justice, ecological economics, and environmental conservation, it is more than the sum of its parts and blends these ideas together into a dynamic philosophy. Caradonna’s book broadens our understanding of what “sustainability” means, revealing how it progressed from a relatively marginal concept to an ideal that shapes everything from individual lifestyles, government and corporate strategies, and even national and international policy. For anyone seeking understand the history of those striving to make the world a better place to live, here’s a place to start.”

Link: [ http://www.richardpowers.net/the-overstory/ ]

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/sustainability-a-history/9314522/item/18344788/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=high_vol_midlist_standard_shopping_customer_acquisition&utm_adgroup=&utm_term=&utm_content=666157863328&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiAiP2tBhBXEiwACslfnk-2LA2gau-gq84qoPpz0ZShdbgWfP5ty7imQA6oMOy51a7OqV6jEhoCE_wQAvD_BwE#idiq=18344788&edition=8635973 ]

The Parrot and the Igloo

“With narrative sweep and a superb eye for character, Lipsky unfolds the dramatic narrative of the long, strange march of climate science. The story begins with a tale of three inventors―Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla―who made our technological world, not knowing what they had set into motion. Then there are the scientists who sounded the alarm once they identified carbon dioxide as the culprit of our warming planet. And we meet the hucksters, zealots, and crackpots who lied about that science and misled the public in ever more outrageous ways. Lipsky masterfully traces the evolution of climate denial, exposing how it grew out of early efforts to build a network of untruth about products like aspirin and cigarettes. Featuring an indelible cast of heroes and villains, mavericks and swindlers, The Parrot and the Igloo delivers a real-life tragicomedy―one that captures the extraordinary dance of science, money, and the American character.”

Link: [ http://www.richardpowers.net/the-overstory/ ]

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-overstory_richard-powers/19531683/?resultid=3ca178e1-a189-4051-8b3a-61acdcfa72a1#edition=20972489&idiq=36629266 ]

The Overstory Book Cover

The Overstory

A book that reached Bestseller Status on the New York Times list and received the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this book captivates with a bunch of individual tales that form “concentric rings of interlocking fables” ranging over time. The connection point for these stories is the deeply fascinating and nuanced world of trees. Written with a kind of lyrical blend of science and art, The Overstory is dense with information that doesn’t tire out the reader while peering behind the veil of the otherworldly interconnectedness of trees and the humans that live in proximity to them over time.

Link: [ http://www.richardpowers.net/the-overstory/ ]

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-overstory_richard-powers/19531683/?resultid=3ca178e1-a189-4051-8b3a-61acdcfa72a1#edition=20972489&idiq=36629266 ]

Braiding Sweetgrass Book Cover

Braiding Sweetgrass

Originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020, Braiding Sweetgrass is a personal bridge to a deeper connection with that which sustains us from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s perspective as an indigenous person, a mother, woman, scientist (Botanist), teacher, and friend. Kimmerer’s writings underscore how an “awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.” As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she writes about her personal experiences working with both plants and cultural traditions, “weaving from three strands: indigenous ways of knowing, scientific knowledge, and the story of an Anishinabeckwe scientist trying to bring them together in service to what matters most.”

Definition: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braiding_Sweetgrass ]

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/braiding-sweetgrass-indigenous-wisdom-scientific-knowledge-and-the-teachings-of-plants_robin-wall-kimmerer/9039161/?resultid=c677e713-d5b8-4e08-9790-89f49f1e9d43#isbn=1571313567 ]

Endgame Volume II Cover

Derrick Jensen

Over a long list of titles, author Derrick Jensen has investigated issues of civilization, justice, sustainability, culture, and more. His arc has been impressive in the way it pairs honest and intellectual care with realistic and factual study of our relationships to earth and each other. A favorite is the two volume Endgame which looks at “the problem of civilization” and “resistance.” More recently, Jensen has investigated and exposed the hypocrisy of leading environmental groups and industries like cannabis (which has a sordid carbon legacy, to be sure). His practice “asks the questions most refuse to ask and, in that seeking questioning, uncovers profound truths that we ignore at our peril” (Chris Hedges). Jensen’s works speak to the sanctity of the earth itself from the baseline of honoring and protecting.

Definition: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrick_Jensen ]

Action: [ https://derrickjensen.org/ ]

Storming the Gates of Paradise Book Cover

Rebecca Solnit

A writer of immense talent and passion, Rebecca Solnit is a champion of feminism, activism, environmentalism, and more. Over 17 books and many essays, articles, and interviews, Solnit continues to push against the status quo and provide needed perspectives on issues including sustainability. Particularly in her essays that range from the climate crisis, figures from Trump to Greta Thunberg, protest, isolation, and more, you can roll with her across the page as she touches on many facets of life and the struggle today. In her books she delves deeper into “meaning, place, language and belonging at the heart of the defining crisis of our time.”

Definition: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Solnit ]

Action: [ http://rebeccasolnit.net/ ]

The Shock Doctrine Book Cover

Naomi Klein

An author of deep clarity and focus, Naomi Klein became a household name with her poignant book The Shock Doctrine, which looked behind the curtain of “disaster capitalism,” and how timely that was. She has published eight books that cover all manner of political, social, and environmental issues. A particularly vital book was This Changes Everything (2014), which was a New York Times bestseller explaining how the climate crisis “challenges us to abandon the core ‘free market’ ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.” Now followed by How to Change Everything, which is written for younger readers, Klein pulls from her 20+ years of experience researching and reporting on climate change to give access to various strategies that can help create a better future.

Definition: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein ]

Action: [ https://naomiklein.org/ ]

Generation Dread Book Cover

Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis

This recently published book (2022) looks at dealing with the various mental health impacts of the ecological crisis from the perspective of a PhD in Science and the current Planetary Health Postdoc Fellow at Stanford University in California, Britt Wray. In Wray’s words, “the first crucial step toward becoming an engaged steward of the planet is connecting with our climate emotions, seeing them as a sign of humanity, and learning how to live with them.” Incorporating race and privilege with climate-aware therapies, coping strategies, and ideas about future mental health innovations, Generation Dread helps readers face eco-anxiety.

Definition: [ https://www.brittwray.com/ ]

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/generation-dread-finding-purpose-in-an-age-of-climate-crisis_britt-wray/29509869/?resultid=de49899e-3dd3-4e90-aa66-2d03a1422e92#edition=60378432&idiq=55044514 ]

The Hour of Land Book Cover

Terry Tempest Williams

A profound writer on social and environmental justice who focuses on the American West (especially Utah), Terry Tempest Williams relates the health of ecologies and humans, especially women’s health. Lyrical writing in her memoir recounted her mother’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer concurrently with the flooding of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, and in The Clan of the One-Breasted Woman, she linked nuclear testing in her region to the high incidence of cancer in her family. Williams has received many accolades and awards including the Robert Marshall Award from the Wilderness Society in 2006. Williams’ activism and contributions in writing books, articles, and more are well known. A personal favorite is Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

Definition: [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Tempest_Williams ]

Action: [ http://www.coyoteclan.com/ ]

We Are the Weather Book Cover

We Are the Weather

Jonathan Safran Foer’s award-winning book, “We Are the Weather,” has been hailed for its unique approach to discussing the global climate crisis. Foer combines an analysis of the impact of animal agriculture on the environment with a series of deeply personal narratives about his own life and family. The author’s ultimate recommendation is that everyone should abstain from eating animal products for two out of their three daily meals (at least). However, Foer is honest in discussing his own lapses back into meat-eating. If you are interested in learning about how your diet affects the environment and how you can reduce your carbon footprint as relates to food, give this book a try.

Action: [ https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/food-will-win-the-war_jonathan-safran-foer/20161474/ ]