Environmental books you should be reading

While we’re all about screening enlightening films here at OEFF, we also love books. Good, sound ideas can come from many sources. We’ve found some of the best on important environmental topics between the covers of books.

Nothing is more inviting on these cold winter days than to get hooked on a good book.  Here are 5 environmental books we’re recommending you add to your January and February reading lists. 

Lab Girl book cover

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

304 pages, Knopf (April, 2016)

An acclaimed woman scientist’s illuminating memoir that offers a fresh, revelatory look at the plant world. Moving from Jahren’s childhood in rural Minnesota and her hours spent playing in her uncompromising father’s classroom lab to scientific adventures across the United States, over the Atlantic and to Hawaii, the author offers acute insights on nature that will open readers’ eyes to the sophisticated mechanisms of plants.

The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy by Michael E. Mann, Illustrated by Tom Toles

208 pages, Columbia University Press (September, 2016)

Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, and Tom Toles, Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist of the Washington Post have been out front on the fight against climate denialism for years. Their book portrays how denialists must twist logic to explain away the substantiated evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate.  With this book, the pair “throws attitude back at climate deniers while painting path forward,” Mark Ruffalo writes.

Fixing the Food System by Stephen Clapp

206 pages, Praeger (November, 2016)

Clapp, a veteran journalist and Washington insider steeped in food policy issues, takes a comprehensive look at the struggle over the future of food. He takes on a broken system by examining the vision for a reformed national food policy, which includes the true cost of food, access to healthful food, farm policies that support public health and environmental objectives.

The Wonder of It All: 100 Stories from the National Park Service by Yosemite Conservancy (Editor)

320 pages, Yosemite Conservancy (March, 2016)

The National Park Service celebrated its first 100 years in 1916. Since its founding, tens of thousands of NPS employees and volunteers have devoted themselves to preserving U.S. public lands, which today number more than 400.  Within this book are 100 true stories from current and past NPS employees and volunteers that make for an engrossing, funny, and often moving read.

Patagonia Tools for Grassroots Activists: Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement by Nora Gallagher (Editor), Lisa Myers

 288 pages, Patagonia (February, 2016)

Inspired by Patagonia’s Tools Conference, where experts provide practical training to help make activists more effective, the outdoors company captures Tools best wisdom and advice into this book, meant to be a resource organizations wanting to sharpen skills like campaign and communication strategy, grassroots organizing, and lobbying as well as working with business, fundraising in uncertain times and using new technologies. It’s sprinkled with inspirational thoughts from acclaimed activists, such as Jane Goodall, Bill McKibben, Wade Davis, Annie Leonard, and Terry Tempest Williams.