Environmental Sciences

Life | Chemistry | Physics | Environmental | Earth | Technology


AnthillAnthill
A Novel

Author: E.O. Wilson
Topic: Biology, Ecology

Description (Amazon.com)
Winner of the 2010 Heartland Prize, Anthill follows the thrilling adventures of a modern-day Huck Finn, enthralled with the “strange, beautiful, and elegant” world of his native Nokobee County. But as developers begin to threaten the endangered marshlands around which he lives, the book’s hero decides to take decisive action. Edward O. Wilson—the world’s greatest living biologist—elegantly balances glimpses of science with the gripping saga of a boy determined to save the world from its most savage ecological predator: man himself.


Never-Cry-WolfNever Cry Wolf
Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves

Author: Farley Mowat
Topic: Conservation

Description (from Inside Flap)
Hordes of bloodthirsty wolves are slaughtering the arctic caribou, and the government’s Wildlife Service assigns naturalist Farley Mowat to investigate. Mowat is dropped alone onto the frozen tundra, where he begins his mission to live among the howling wolf packs and study their waves. Contact with his quarry comes quickly, and Mowat discovers not a den of marauding killers but a courageous family of skillful providers and devoted protectors of their young. As Mowat comes closer to the wolf world, he comes to fear with them on onslaught of bounty hunters and government exterminators out to erase the noble wolf community from the Arctic. Never Cry Wolf is one of the brilliant narratives on the myth and magical world of wild wolves and man’s true place among the creatures of nature.


Guns-Germ-SteelGuns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies

Author: Jared Diamond
Topic: Environmental Studies

Description (Amazon.com)
In this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion –as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war –and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California’s Gold Medal.

CollapseCollapse
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Author: Jared Diamond
Topic: Environmental Studies

Description (Amazon.com)
In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates? As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.


Silent-SpringSilent Spring

Author: Rachel Carson
Topic: Environmental Studies, Marine Biology

Description (Amazon.com)
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.


Edge-of-the-SeaThe Edge of the Sea

Author: Rachel Carson
Topic: Environmental Studies, Marine Biology

Description (Amazon.com)
A book to be read for pleasure as well as a practical identification guide, The Edge of the Sea introduces a world of teeming life where the sea meets the land. A new generation of readers is discovering why Rachel Carson’s books have become cornerstones of the environmental and conservation movements.


Tapirs-Morning-BathThe Tapir’s Morning Bath
Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest

Author: Elizabeth Royte
Topic: Biology, Ecology, Nature of Science

Description (Amazon.com)
An engaging portrait of a community of biologists, The Tapir’s Morning Bath is a behind-the-scenes account of life at a tropical research station that “conveys the uncertainties, frustrations, and joys of [scientific] field work” (Science). On Panama’s Barro Colorado Island, Elizabeth Royte works alongside the scientists–counting seeds, sorting insects, collecting monkey dung, radiotracking fruit bats–as they struggle to parse the intricate workings of the tropical rain forest. While showing the human side of the scientists at work, Royte explores the tensions between the slow pace of basic research and the reality of a world that may not have time to wait for answers.


Diversity-of-LifeThe Diversity of Life

Author: E. O. Wilson
Topic: Evolution, Ecology, Environmental Studies

Description (Amazon.com)
In this book a master scientist tells the story of how life on earth evolved. Edward O. Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse and why that diversity is threatened today as never before. A great spasm of extinction – the disappearance of whole species – is occurring now, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted, the loss of biodiversity is a far more complex problem – and it is irreversible. Defining a new environmental ethic, Wilson explains why we must rescue whole ecosystems, not only individual species. He calls for an end to conservation versus development arguments, and he outlines the massive shift in priorities needed to address this challenge. No writer, no scientist, is more qualified than Edward O. Wilson to describe, as he does here, the grandeur of evolution and what is at stake.


Fish-Changed-WorldCod
A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World

Author: Mark Kurlansky
Topic: Organismal Biology, Environmental Studies

Description
A delightful romp through history with all its economic forces laid bare, Cod is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod–frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were the fate of the universe. Here–for scientist and layperson alike, for philosopher, science-fiction reader, biologist, and computer expert–is a startlingly complete and rational synthesis of disciplines, and a new, optimistic message about existence.


Sand-County-AlmanacA Sand County Almanac
And Sketches Here and There

Author: Aldo Leopold
Topic: Environmental Studies, Naturalist, Conservation

Description (Amazon.com)
First published in 1949 and praised in The New York Times Book Review as “a trenchant book, full of vigor and bite,” A Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and highly ethical regard for America’s relationship to the land. Written with an unparalleled understanding of the ways of nature, the book includes a section on the monthly changes of the Wisconsin countryside; another part that gathers informal pieces written by Leopold over a forty-year period as he traveled through the woodlands of Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Sonora, Oregon, Manitoba, and elsewhere; and a final section in which Leopold addresses the philosophical issues involved in wildlife conservation. As the forerunner of such important books as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, and Robert Finch’s The Primal Place, this classic work remains as relevant today as it was forty years ago.


Monster-of-GodMonster of God
The Man Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind

Author: David Quammen
Topic: Conservation, Psychology

Description (Amazon.com)
For millennia, lions, tigers, and their man-eating kin have kept our dark, scary forests dark and scary, and their predatory majesty has been the stuff of folklore. But by the year 2150 big predators may only exist on the other side of glass barriers and chain-link fences. Their gradual disappearance is changing the very nature of our existence. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain; instead we survey it invulnerably from above—so far above that we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem. Casting his expert eye over the rapidly diminishing areas of wilderness where predators still reign, the award-winning author of The Song of the Dodo examines the fate of lions in India’s Gir forest, of saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia, of brown bears in the mountains of Romania, and of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East. In the poignant and troublesome ferocity of these embattled creatures, we recognize something primeval deep within us, something in danger of vanishing forever.


Life | Chemistry | Physics | Environmental | Earth | Technology

Do you have a favorite environmental science book?
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