5 Books Every Environmentalist Needs on Their Shelf

5 Books Every Environmentalist Needs on Their Shelf

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First of all: I would really recommend our literature page. It contains all the books that I have personally read about the environment – and that I can absolutely recommend. This specific article does not necessarily contain books that I have read myself, but what a co-author recommended.

The talk of the hour, for quite a lot of hours now, has been the environment – how it changes, adapts, and reacts, what it is, and its history. The fact that this topic has become popular is widely regarded as a positive step ahead, and the emerging of genres such as “popular science” has brought with it a new awareness of the world around us especially by the younger generations.

If you’ve recently gotten into the topic of environment, climate, and forms of life, or if you’re an environmentalist by definition, there’s now not a few books you will enjoy reading about such topics. We’ve compiled a list of the most essential ones below.

5 Books Every Environmentalist Needs on Their Shelf
  1. The Last Wilderness: A Journey Into Silence by Neil Ansell


    “It is that exploratory desire to possess the wilds for ourselves that has resulted in their disappearance,” writes Neil Ansell in this incredibly human account of the wilderness. This book has quickly become a favorite of environmentalists and non-environmentalists alike, as it takes a deep dive into the Scottish wilderness through the brilliantly descriptive eye of Neil Ansell.

    What reviewers find most appealing about this book is how the author takes the descriptions of the wildlife that he encounters and adds his true and relatable insights about this life and the “civilized” atmosphere that he has temporarily left behind. In many ways, it is a perfect blend between educational and heart-felt.

  2. The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau


    “..the mission of men there seems to be, like so many busy demons, to drive the forest out of the country.”

    Henry David Thoreau is widely regarded as one of the biggest pillars of classic American literature. His breakthrough writing style and globally popular works still hold such high regard in the world of classic literature even after so many years. This particular account of Thoreau’s several trips into the Maine woods in the 1850s provides an eloquent and thought provoking look at how the world’s wilderness was changing back then, and when it’s read now, it gives a stunning contrast between the world’s attitude towards the wilderness in the 1850s and that attitude, much amplified and aided by technology, in our modern days. Seen through the eyes of a brilliant writer as Thoreau, this book is equally informative and enjoyable to read.

    This is more a book that describes love to nature. It does not necessarily give you any information about “what if we destroy the environment – and the nature will collapse!?“. However, the intense and accurate description of how important nature is to all life on this planet is quite remarkable.

  3. The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell


    “We live in the empiricist’s nightmare: there is a reality far beyond our perception. Our senses have failed us for millennia. Only when we mastered glass and were able to produce clear, polished lenses were we able to gaze through a microscope and finally realize the enormity of our former ignorance.”

    Biologist David George Haskell takes an unusual, and surprising in its simplicity, route to learning about the environment. Observing a one-square-meter area of the Tennessee forest on a daily basis over the course of one year, Haskell documents and analyzes the changes, adaptations, and peculiarities he encounters on the course of the 4 seasons. The book provides an all inclusive insight from one of the world’s leading biologists, yet it’s simple and easy enough to be highly enjoyable for non-scientists as well.

4.     The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change by Gleb Raygorodetsky


While urban communities have in a way devised several technological comforts to battle (or rather ignore) the effects of climate change, indigenous communities have a drastically different story to tell. Gleb Raygorodetsky is a conservation biologist who has spent a large portion of his career working with and closely observing indigenous communities and how they adapt and deal with the changes imposed by the ripple effect of urbanization and the industrial revolution. Dr Gleb provides a wholesome and informative view of how these communities are affected, as well as a real and confrontational take on climate change and its effects.

Why is this book so relevant?

Let me give you two scenarios so that you can better understand this book.

1. The industrial revolution in UK. The air pollution in London at the time was horrible because of the factories.

2. Beijing in 2018. People are living in harmful conditions due to the extreme economic growth that China has seen for many, many years.

You see what happens? Economic growth very often leads to decisions that are environmentally harmful.

  1. The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell



    “We are already engineering the Earth’s operating system by dumping billions of tons of greenhouse gases into it every year. We’re just doing it badly. Why not get good at it?”

    At face value, this book might be regarded by some as offering a very grim and apocalyptic view of what the Earth’s future might look like if we don’t change our ways. However, upon reading this book, you will realize that it does just that, and proves why that prediction could very well be real, as well as how it can be avoided. The author presents credible data and very real scenarios that scientists have predicted for the world’s major coastal cities. It’s a wake-up call for skeptics and a call to action for those who hold the keys for change.

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