~ Are green books Left books? Probably. ~
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Beautifully written and cheerily pessimistic. While squishing down a hill in Scotland or munching on analgesic leaves in the rainforest, the author, who is the main science writer at the New Yorker, leaves no doubt—we are wiping out species at an alarming rate, whether we mean to or not. Highly recommended. (A short video about mass extinction)
The Way of Ignorance by Wendell Berry
A book of essays. Our great poet and philosopher of all things agrarian, Berry, a Kentucky farmer, reminds us that another philosophy, besides that of free markets and profit, is amenable to farming—farmers as caretakers rather than exploiters. “Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so, and we reward them for it.”
Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway
The authors point out that while American scientists have led the way in studying the environment, “a small yet potent subset” of the science community has busied itself in muddying the waters. Delay is the name of the game, a strategy that helped tobacco companies rake in billions in extra profits even after they knew that cigarettes caused cancer. Same strategy with climate change. Also a documentary film.
The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler
Kunstler, who is an engaging speaker in person, examines how we wasted our precious farmland to achieve an ugly result—unpleasant and unsustainable homes and commercial buildings, and much “ubiquitous highway crud.” A follow-up book, Home From Nowhere, offers solutions.
Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen
When most of us are forgotten, this is one person who won’t be. NASA scientist James Hansen has been leading the fight for recognition of the dangers of global warming since the 1980s. “Hansen paints a devastating, all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the near future, mere years and decades from now, if we follow the course we’re on.”
The End of Nature by Bill McKibben
One of the most important authors and books on climate change. “More than simply a handbook for survival or a doomsday catalog of scientific prediction, this classic, soulful lament on Nature is required reading for nature enthusiasts, activists, and concerned citizens alike.”