EDN's Reading List of Environment-Themed Books | Earth Day Network

Below are some favorite earth-friendly books selected by EDN staff, including classics and recent releases.

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A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land,” writes Leopold in these essays about his farm in Wisconsin, other farms and wilderness areas, and the need for conservation.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Bryson’s tales from the trail are funny as well as fascinating.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver’s story is of her family’s challenge to eat only locally-grown food for one year.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings — asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass — offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

Cowed by Denis and Gail Boyer Hayes
Globally recognized environmentalists (Denis is EDN’s board chair emeritus and the organizer for the first Earth Day) analyze how our beneficial, centuries-old relationship with bovines has evolved into one that now endangers us.

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough
McDonough challenges us to redesign our world to be less wasteful and more sustainable.

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard
This provides an interesting look at how light pollution opposes human biology and distances experiences with the environment.

The End of Nature by Bill McKibben
This call for humanity to stop destroying our natural environment is also one of the first mainstream books to tackle the subject of global warming.

The Extinction Market: Wildlife Trafficking and How to Conquer It by Vanda Felbab Brown
Poaching and wildlife tracking is the subject of this book, which explores strategies to end the practices that are responsible for species loss and extinction.

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All by Oran B. Hesterman
This book explains the dysfunction of our current food system and shares a wealth of ideas on how we can all help make a better system.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
This novel about about a struggling marriage contains a subplot about the environmental impacts of mountain-top removal mining.

Game of Thrones by George by R.R. Martin
It’s been said that the Game of Thrones trilogy is really all about climate change.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst
The science of how trees survive and thrive reminds of the need to protect our forests.

Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
This novel is set in the Sunderbans, the world’s largest deltaic region.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
One man’s quest to be one with nature, alone in the wild, is a beautiful and heart-breaking story.

Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. by Cynthia Barnett
This book eloquently and vividly explores the complexities and intricacies to water management across the state of Florida.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nature is not fixed but fluid,” writes Emerson, who urges us to better appreciate nature’s beauty.

Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The exploration of where our food comes and what we eat includes the impact food production has on the environment.

The Reef by Romesh Guneseker
A main character in this coming-of-age tale is a marine biologist.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Carson’s 1962 book, which explored the dangers of pesticide use, is considered a groundbreaking work that spurred the modern environmental movement.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
Geologists, marine biologists, botanists and other researchers weigh in on species facing extinction.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
A move to a green economy is the way to take on the climate crisis.

This Radical Land: a Natural History of Dissent by Daegan Miller
This series of essays illustrates efforts to bring together ideals of environmental justice, conservation, and sustainable development at a time when manifest destiny was still the prevailing ideologies of American progress.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature,” writes Thoreau in this book written while living in a remote cabin the woods.

Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Did the destruction of the natural environment lead to the post-apocalyptic world in this tale?

Have your own suggestions for earth-themed books? Share your favorite earth-themed books with us using the #EDNBooks hashtag and we’ll add favorites to our list.

For more reading recommendations, check out our post on climate fiction (cli-fi) books and earth-friendly children’s books


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