10 Environment Reads to Start your Summer Right

Summer has finally arrived! It’s the perfect weather for sitting in the park, on a beach, or on a fire escape reading a book while you catch the sun’s rays. So, whether you’re sitting by a fountain in Central Park or lounging in the sand in Florida, this list of 10 environment reads has something for everyone!

For the reader who misses stops on the subway because they are too engrossed in their reading:

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

Released in February 2019 this year, this book has already become a #1 New York Times Bestseller. But beware, this book is not for the faint of heart. Through astonishing attention to detail and an intense investigation into climate change, Wallace-Wells records one of the scariest future predictions of climate change to date. Check it out here.

For the beach bum who finally finished setting up their umbrella and towel:

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud-Homme

As Prud’homme crosses the U.S., he pulls his readers into the dramatic, dangerous, and colorful world of water as he investigates the important role water plays in the world today. Delve into this 2011 book that asks questions about a resource we often take for granted as it tries to answer the most fundamental question: What is the fate of water in this century? Check it out here.

For the babysitter waiting at the playground when Netflix is going too slow:

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

The first novel from an award-winning short fiction author has been heating up the world of climate fiction (or cli-fi, for short) since it hit the shelves in 2015. In her book set in a futuristic and climate-destroyed Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, Watkins explores the relationship between Luz and Ray as they navigate their arid surroundings. Content to survive as they are, everything changes when they meet a child on their way out of the abandoned city. Check it out here.

For the person who reads emotional quotes on Pinterest before going to bed:

Losing Miami by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué

Written in a mixture of Spanish and English, author Ojeda-Sagué confronts the future of Miami in the face of the climate crisis. In a city that faces one of the biggest threats in the US as sea levels rise, this collection of poems begins to deal with how to cope in the face of such odds. Check it out here.

For the university student who’s a little excited for school to start back:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

This Pulitzer-Prize winning book takes the reader on a journey through the world’s history and the five mass extinctions of the past. Through the investigation and collection of modern research, Kolbert explores what it means to be living in the Anthropocene and experiencing first-hand the sixth great extinction. Check it out here.

For the person in the office with a succulent on their desk:

Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

Author of one of the original books on global warming, Bill McKibben in this second work expands on the greater evolution of climate change. In the modern age where robots and artificial intelligence are posing new questions to humanity’s relationship with Earth, McKibben uses his personal experience from 350.org to write a “call to arms” that is equal parts “A love letter, a plea, a eulogy, and a prayer”. Check it out here.

For the person who just booked two summer flights using only points:

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail

Travel with the veteran war reporter, Dahr Jamail, as he writes about his “journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.” In a perilous tale of the fragility and beauty of this planet, Jamail’s words and photographs begin to explain how quickly life can change and what we can do about it. Check it out here.

For the skeptic…you know who you are: Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

This book, co-authored by two science historians, was published after five years of research into the scientists who challenged the evidence behind global problems ranging from big tobacco to global warming to DDT and more. But this is no book of conspiracies. The authors aim to keep an objective view as they discuss how fear of climate change is reminiscent of the perceived Soviet threat during the Cold War. Check it out here.

For the apartment owner with the rooftop who’s forced to cook for all the summer parties:

Thug Kitchen Official Cookbook

This cookbook is not for the mild! Featuring recipes and how-to’s like “How to Make Vegetable Broth from Scraps” and “Mixed Veggie and Tofu Chilaquiles”, this cookbook will have you cooking like an eco-friendly master chef in no time. And while you’re cooking, you can listen to the chefs of Thug Kitchen on their podcast talk about culture, politics, and humor through food! Check it out here.

For the friend who already owns a set of virtual reality goggles:

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

This cli-fi novel, which has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2018, fast forwards to a New York City confronted with the impacts of global warming. In a city where the roads have become canals and skyscrapers jut from the water, residents of one apartment building in Madison Square create new ways of living in this changed world. In his novel, science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson imagines how the city that never sleeps could look when the waters continue to rise. Check it out here.

Catie Brown

Although I’ve always loved writing, I embarked on my journey into science journalism about three years ago. I am fascinated by all things water — oceans, ice, coral reefs, currents, extreme weather, sanitation, energy, and (of course!) climate change. I also love looking into the different ways we talk about climate change as a social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and political crisis. Big thanks to coffee and chemistry jokes for keeping me going. Happy reading!