With gorgeously graphic mountains and tall, oxygen-giving trees, the outdoors is a place to relax, connect and really feel at home. But with environmental election issues taking a backseat this cycle amid rapidly increasing environmental woes, committing to saving the planet has never been more pressing. For Earth Day, we started making our lifestyle a little more green, from buying a cute eco-friendly briefcase instead of a leather handbag to swapping out our wardrobe with eco-conscious fashion brands. Whether you’re trying to learn more about the issues affecting our planet or just want to get psyched for Earth Day, these 14 enviro books and ebooks will make you a tree-hugger in 500 pages or less.
1. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein ($11): Following the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein’s newest climate change exposé is a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about the issue.
2. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson ($9): The 50-year anniversary edition of Rachel Carson’s classic is a definite must-read for anyone wanting to know just exactly how we got where we are today. Following the effects of insecticides and pesticides on songbirds throughout the US, it’s a dense non-fiction that’s worth the heavy lifting.
3. The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches ($4): This Earth Day, teach your tots about recycling with this cute storybook that follows a day in the life of a plastic bottle. From the store to your home to the recycling plant, this adorable water bottle might just be the first step to creating a greener next generation.
4. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman ($15): Have you ever wondered what would happen to the Earth if we just, you know, got up and left? In this award-winning and best-selling account, Alan Weisman sets out to answer this exact question by calling on every environmental assessment and all the science experts he could find.
5. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough ($18): Tackling everything from carpeting to campuses, Braungart and McDonough offer a new philosophy on creating objects — ones that give to the Earth once they’ve outlived their purpose, instead of causing waste.
6. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss ($8): “Unless someone like you… cares a whole awful lot… nothing is going to get better… it’s not.” Written decades before its time, this Dr. Seuss classic read, and now gorgeously animated film, is the perfect reminder this Earth Day that change starts with you.
7. The King and Queen of Malibu: The True Story of the Battle for Paradise by David K Randall ($18): Following the compelling story of Frederick and May Rindge, this retelling of the battle to save Malibu in the early 1900s might just be the most compelling narrative you read all year.
8. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver ($9): Immerse yourself in all the reasons why the outdoors are the best in this beautifully written novel, made up of three intertwined stories by Barbara Kingsolver. Bonus points if you read it sprawled out on the grass on a sunny spring day.
9. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood ($9): In this epic tale of man’s journey of survival in an environmentally ruined world, Snowman, better known as Jimmy, is determined to never give up, even though he might just be the last man on Earth. Riddled with flashbacks and parallels to our own environmental issues, this novel is a heavy read that’s definitely worth the effort.
10. The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr ($9): From the writer of Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr’s first collection of short stories is a beautiful look at nature’s abundance and power through the eyes of man. It’s the perfect enviro-friendly companion for anyone looking for a shorter read.
11. The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land by Curtis Allen Stone ($20): Have you ever been so motivated by a gorgeous Pinterest post or Instagram pic that you want to grow your own veggies IRL? This comprehensive look at how to get around the apartment complex (AKA not having any green space to grow anything on) is an awesome guide for any beginner urban farmer.
12. Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau ($5): If there’s one classic American read that comes to mind when you think of the great outdoors, it’s probably Walden. Detailing a life of social and physical isolation, this abridged version will have you planning a camping trip ASAP.
13. London Fog by Christine L. Corton ($27): Ever wondered why they call the popular tea concoction a London Fog? In this descriptive non-fiction, Corton explores the first global air-pollution crisis in London with considerable depth and power. It’s a definite must-read for anyone concerned with air quality and environmental history.
14. Forest of Wonders by Linda Sue Park ($10): When Raffa Santana, a gifted young apothecary, enters the Forest of Wonders, he has no idea that the cure he creates for an injured bat will have such extreme consequences. A YA novel from superstar fantasy writer Linda Sue Park, this beautifully written and captivating story might just inspire a new generation of green-minded rockstars.
What’s your favorite Earth Day read? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via Getty)
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