Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. 1967, 1990.
Abbey spent a year alone as a ranger in a national park in southeastern Utah. His book describes his time there, what he learned about the land in front of him, the world around him, about himself, and also explores his perception of the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests.
Bormann, F. Herbert and Stephen Kellert (eds.). Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The Broken Circle. 1993.
Environmental specialists argue that in order to solve global problems we must view them from a broad interdisciplinary perspective that acknowledges the relationship between ecology, economics, and ethics. This book covers a variety of topics, ranging from global atmospheric degradation to the loss of forests and massive species extinctions.
Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring.
First published in 1962, this book raised awareness about the environmental and human risks of using pesticides, such as DDT, and was one of the contributing factors that spurred the modern environmental movement.
Cone, Marla. Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic. 2006.
Cone, a U.S. environmental journalist, reports her findings from an investigation into why the Arctic 's native inhabitants are heavily impacted by pollution due to chemicals being carried to the area by winds and waves, and how Arctic cultures are adapting.
Devall, Bill and George Sessions. Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered. 1985, 2001.
An introduction to the emerging theme of “deep ecology,” a way to develop harmony between individuals, communities, and nature. The authors show how to participate in major environmental issues in a positive and creative manner.
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. 1999, 2005.
In this Pulitzer-prize winning book, noted evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond poses an answer to the question of why some societies have been able to conquer and displace others. Diamond devotes a number of chapters to the history of the development of agriculture and its effect on human societies.
Ehrlich, Paul. The Population Bomb.
In this 1968 book, biologist Ehrlich predicted that rapid population growth would lead to worldwide famine and environmental degradation.
Ehrlich, Paul, et al. The Stork and the Plow: The Equity Answer to the Human Dilemna. 1997.
Population experts argue that to diminish the possibility of widespread starvation, we need to increase the equity of women and support farmers in developing countries.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. 1968, 2001.
Says Aldo Leopold, "There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot." In this series of nature essays, Leopold articulates an elegant statement of the appropriate relationship between humans and the land.
Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. 2006.
Levitt and Dubner are economists exploring how economics can explain phenomenon in everyday life – including drops in crime rate and the impact parenting has on children. The two discover fascinating explanations, and may just change the way people view economics.
Lovins, Amory. Soft Energy Path: Towards a Durable Peace. 1977.
Lovins compares “soft energy” and “hard energy” paths, arguing for “soft energy” and that we can rely on less energy supply than is usually assumed.
Muir, John. My First Summer in the Sierra. 1911, 2004.
A collection of journal entries Muir wrote during his time as a sheep herder in the Sierra Nevada details the beautiful surroundings he encountered and explains his transformation from an industrial engineer to a pioneer of the environmental movement.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden.
An autobiography written when Thoreau spent two years living in a forest near Walden Pond provides a detailed account of his time living off the land and presents his critique of the contemporary Western world.
Wheelwright, Jeff. Degrees of Disaster: Prince William Sound: How Nature Reels and Rebounds. 1996.
An account of the ecological effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill on Prince William Sound, telling the complex story of a region where natural disturbance is normal. Wheelright concludes that the clean up efforts may have caused more damage than the oil did and that, left alone, the Sound would have repaired itself quickly.
Wilson, Edward O. The Diversity of Life. 1999, 2003.
With fascinating stories and rich detail, biologist Edward O. Wilson surveys the origin and role of species diversity and discusses areas of ongoing research in this field.