Written by Caroline Haywood, Four Green Steps
Monday, 29 October 2012 19:33
Top 15 Most Influential Environmental Books
If you're looking for some environmental reads, check out these fifteen influential works that have impacted the green movement and that capture a narrative from the environment movement of the 21st Century.
- Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, detailing the harmful effects of DDT on wildlife, spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.
- Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac saw a major turning point in nature conservation efforts. Leopold details, through a beautifully written narrative, the development of a new ideology for framing conservation efforts in the future, based on human's relationship with the land.
- Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a children's book about the destruction of a forest for commercial gain may instil an environmental devotion from a young age. It's an uplifting rhyme about how you can manage to reverse destruction, if you care enough about nature.
- Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or A Life in the Woods is an elegantly written record of his experiment in simple living in a cottage in the woods (from 1854).
- The World Commission on Environment and Development's Brundtland Report is viewed as the document in which sustainable development was made a broad global policy objective. Sustainable development is classically defined here as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
- Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed asks the question "What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to fall into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?" to spur action on environmental degradation.
- William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things uses the motto "Waste equals food" to explain how products can be designed so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new, just like in nature.
- Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers outlines the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a catastrophic future.
- George Monbiot's Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning takes the science of climate change as its premise and offers an ambitious framework to cut our carbon dioxide emissions across numerous sectors.
- Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was an important advocacy documentary that brought the problem of climate change and possible mitigation actions to the attention of Western society, and North America in particular.
- Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species was the first time that human's existence on this earth was questioned, along with the idea that man ought to be dominant over nature. Instead, man was identified as being an integral part of nature.
- Plato has been attributed with some of the earliest writings that showed concern for the environment. Plato commented on deforestation twenty-five centuries ago and described the effects of soil degradation and deforestation on Greece.
- Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal examines, with a wry wit, how fast food has hastened the destruction of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor and fuelled an epidemic of obesity.
- Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons describes the inevitable depletion of a shared resource by a group of individuals. It set up the basis for the two most popular types of modern environmental regulation: assigning property rights (market-based measures) or committing to strict regulations or taxes (command-and-control measures).
- Novella Carpenter's Farm City: The Education of an Urban Gardener is an inspiring memoir of a woman who turned a vacant lot in downtown Oakland into a thriving farm.
Which environmental article/book do you find to be the most influential? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Amazon.com
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