Here are some titles I have on my own reading list. If you’ve already read any of these books please feel free to comment below and express your thoughts.
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
While studying abroad in France, my Environmental History professor noted that Silent Spring is considered “the book” to have sparked the American environmental movement in 1962. Memorialized for its emphasis on global climate change and the disasters that come with it, Carson’s novel has persevered against explosions of critique and remained the keystone of Environmental Studies.
- Cool Cuisine: Taking The Bite Out of Global Warming by Laura Stec and Dr. Eugene Cordero
Just understanding that this book was written by a chef and a climate scientist persuades me to give it a try; I firmly believe that every thought and action in the environmental movement needs to be backed by scientific evidence. Cool Cuisine has been recognized as not only a successful cookbook but a well-researched work on climate change and food systems. Scientific American featured an article on the piece back in 2009, just one year after it was published. Reviewers note that the book has a great balance between an engaging and informative narrative voice- supposedly it’s a good read for kids, too!
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Today I stumbled across an interesting article posted on Farmers Market Vegan (a passionate blog written by a student at Vassar college) about Pollan’s highly acclaimed book. It’s a rather fiery critique with an interesting argument on Pollan’s self-justifying rhetoric. A New York Times book review also seems to be a bit ambivalent about how far-reaching Pollan’s novel can go. However, as a vegetarian who does not have any ethical qualms with eating animals that were treated in a humane, natural manner, I am eager to hear his reasoning.
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Without an understanding of the past, it is increasingly difficult to make informed decisions about the future. Food-production is an industry with deep roots in American history. Though certainly outdated, The Jungle is one of the most important works of literature hailing from the early 20th century. Thanks to Sinclair’s investigative reporting, not only do we understand the power of the pen but also the significance of enacting health and work safety laws. His innovative example is one we cannot forget.
- The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
Admittedly, I was assigned to read about a third of this book last semester for a course on Christianity and Culture. Regardless of your religious background or beliefs, Berry is a beautiful and persuasive writer. He displays thoughtful ideas in a way that is both sobering and compelling; he urges us to “think little” and take responsibility for the global community through small, everyday actions. The few essays I’ve already read in The Art of the Commonplace truly inspired me with a hope that “doing good” can start at my own doorstep.
I tried to keep this list short although I could continue. However, if you have any book suggestions please feel free to share below. Holding strong to the belief that it is important to examine all points of view, any titles that argue against the environmental movement are also encouraged!
(Photos courtesy of http://www.amazon.com)