Book Club: Our environment
To celebrate Earth Day and the multitude of threats our planet faces, we thought we would look at the top three books about our environment. Using a mixture of science, passion and courage, these authors have explored complex and controversial issues affecting the sustainability of both earth and people on it.
Already a best-selling author of volumes on the wonders of the oceans, Carson turned her attention to the increasing reports of damage from “miracle” pesticides being sprayed, spread and air-dropped on 1950’s America. She doggedly followed studies and lawsuits documenting the human and wildlife toll from DDT, chlordane, dieldrin and many other now-banned substances.
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century. Carson, however, was stricken with breast cancer while writing “Silent Spring,” and died age 56, not long after its publication.
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
In what began as another groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker (for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006) Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate what is really going on with the global environment. She asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet. Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the book to read on the defining issue and greatest challenge of our times, and becomes more prophetic year after year.
Kolbert lays out the argument convincingly and compellingly. Because she is not daunted by the science, the argument comes across measured and deliberate – maybe even a bit understated at times – making it all the more effective. For anyone still harboring doubts about global warming, this book may well challenge their current thought processes.
“UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.”
Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the Once-ler.
The book is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger corporate greed poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler and the environment as The Lorax.
The Lorax was Dr. Seuss’ personal favorite of his books. He was able to create a story addressing economic and environmental issues without it being dull. “The Lorax,” he once explained, “came out of me being angry. In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.” His classic cautionary tale is now available in an irresistible mini-edition, perfect for backpack or briefcase, for Arbor Day, Earth Day, and every day.