Environmental Books for The Holiday Season

We have surveyed our staff and compiled a list of books that make for wonderful gifts this holiday season. From coffee table books, to in depth non-fiction to children’s books this list will provide a beautiful way to give a gift that will enlighten, educate and entertain. LDF strongly supports environmental literacy efforts, and we believe helping the public at large learn more about our natural environment and systems is integral to empowering us all to take better care of our planet. We hope you join us in this effort and utilize our recommendations this holiday season!

Cadillac Desert

Cadillac Desert is a great page-turner that shows how exploitation of water in America has led to astonishing human development -- large-scale agriculture, enough power to build the planes and ships that won WWII, and even the movie industry in Hollywood. But it has come at the cost of decimating once-thriving ecosystems. The book eloquently shows how we have been wasting this precious resource and what we can do to restore much of what’s been lost.

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Half-Earth

In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. Legendary conservation biologist E.O. Wilson’s new book Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal. He proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem -- dedicate fully half of our landscapes and seascapes to nature.

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Green Giants

Get to know the leaders behind some of the world’s most influential Fortune 500 companies working to address pressing social and environmental issues by leveraging the power of their brands for good. These 9 companies collectively reach billions of people worldwide, and they hope to green our economy from the inside out, by changing how products are made.

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Conscious Capitalism

Author John Mackey coins the term “conscious capitalism” to describe the emerging business philosophy that strives to create value beyond the traditional financial bottom line. When businesses thoughtfully investigate, and become aware of, the consequences that their business activities have on society, the economy, and the environment, they can direct their activities to create positive societal impacts while increasing their profitability.

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A Passion for Nature – The Life of John Muir

I chose this book because the life of John Muir as America's founding conservationist should be studied and revered. His craving for adventure, deep passion for nature and activist spirit continue to inspire. And I remind myself daily of his most profound quote, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." (P.S. I was born in John Muir Hospital!)

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The Lorax

What if wildlife could talk to you about pollution and habitat loss? Would you listen? Communication is not always the easiest thing to accomplish, especially between audiences of different backgrounds. So, what better way to tell a complex story than through the magical words of Dr. Seuss? Children, and who are we kidding, us adults too, can spend a few minutes with the Lorax and quickly become invested in this environmental tale of sorrow and hope.

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Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibility

This book reaffirms the power that the individual holds in organizing. An essential read for the disillusioned activist, a beautifully written reminder to keep fighting the good fight and to stay hopeful. Change happens and it happens with action. And action is not possible without hope.

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All the World

All the World is one of my favorite children’s books to read to my kids. It is a beautiful poem about how we are all connected to our planet. It highlights wonderful gifts our precious world provides that are often taken for granted, and I love that it instills a connection to nature.

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Gold, Fame, Citrus

I chose this book because it takes place in a post-apocalyptic, drought ravaged Los Angeles. Those who remain are environmental refugees and must consider a risky journey through an unforgiving desert. While set in the future, the writer incorporates many historical references to water issues in Los Angeles, and southern California culture overall. While a bit dark, I liked this book because it paints a compelling picture of a dust bowl era in Los Angeles.

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Small is Beautiful

Our current economic system treats ecosystems and species as capital to be consumed. Because our environmental laws fail to challenge this overarching system, they can only slow the consumption – they cannot stop or reverse it. In his classic Small Is Beautiful, economist E.F. Schumacher instead offers solutions rooted in changing economics to serve, rather than degrade, the earth.

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