Bekoff, M. 2007. Animals matter: A biologist explains why we should treat animals with compassion and respect. Shambhala, Boston, MA. A thought-provoking book filled with essays to get us thinking about how and why we use animals.
Bekoff, M. 2010. The animal manifesto: Six reasons for expanding our compassion footprint. New World Library, Novato, CA. A manifesto, in six meditations, on why we should care about animal welfare.
Berners-Lee, M. 2010. How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything. Profile Books, London. A sometimes surprising guide to the energy required to produce a variety of foods and services.
Blumstein, D.T. & Saylan, C.S. 2007. Essay: The failure of environmental education (and how we can fix it). Public Library of Science—Biology 5(5): e120. An essay about what a proper environmental education should do—instill a sense of wonder in children and prepare them to be engaged and politically active citizens.
Bloom, J. 2010. American wasteland: How America throws away nearly half of its food. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA. Extensive and expansive look at how we waste food at every stage of production and consumption and numerous suggestions on how to reduce food waste.
Ehrlich, P.R. & Ehrlich, A.H. 2008. The dominant animal: Human evolution and the environment. Island Press, Washington, DC. A wonderful synthesis of topics that the Ehrlich’s have been writing about for the past 40 years—over-population, over-consumption, and environmental degradation.
Ehrlich, P.R. & Holdren, J.P. 1971. Impact of population growth. Science 171: 1212-1217. The source of the original I=PAT equation.
Ehrlich, P.R. & Ornstein, R.E. 2010. Humanity on a tightrope: Thoughts on empathy, family and big changes for a viable future. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, MD. Thoughtful book about how and why we must increase (and in some cases are) our empathy to solve our collective problems.
Froyer, J.S. 2009. Eating animals. Little Brown, New York. A thoughtful and sometimes alarming book about how we grow and kill animals by an acclaimed fiction writer. If reading this makes you feel uncomfortable eating animals, try eating fewer.
Greenpeace. 2010. Carting away the oceans. www.greenpeace.org. Provides data on the fish sold by supermarkets. Pressure from Greenpeace has encouraged some markets (e.g., Target) to shift towards selling only sustainable harvested fish.
Hall, K.D., Guo, J., Dore, M. & Chow, C.C. 2009. The progressive increase of food waste in America and its environmental impact. Public Library of Science-One 4(11): e7940. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007940 Shows how food waste is increasing and documents its costs.
Hardin, G. 1968. The tragedy of the commons. Science 162: 1243-1248. Classic paper on the challenges in managing common resources.
Harte, J. & Harte, M.E. 2008. Cool the Earth, save the economy: Solving the climate crisis is EASY. www.cooltheearth.us An integrative look at possible solutions to solve our climate crisis.
Hopkins, R. 2008. The transition handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience. Green Books Ltd., Totnes, Devon, UK. A vision of a possible future. As a citizen of a Los Angeles, a megalopolis, I’m concerned about what we can do in cities. Read it and discuss options.
Jackson, J.B.C., et al. 2001. Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293: 629-637. Well documented study showing how overfishing has been responsible for widespread ecological change in coastal ecosystems.
Jackson, J.B.C. 2008. Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105: 11458-11465. Alarming review of how our over-fishing, and many other sources of human-caused environmental damage, is creating unpredictable behavior in our fisheries. In the future, we’ll likely be eating more jellyfish unless we work to protect our oceans.
Jacobs, J. 1961. The death and life of great American cities. Random House, New York. Describes the characteristics that make vibrant and healthy cities—mixed-purpose neighborhoods where citizens take an active role in each others comings and goings.
Kaiser, R.G. 2009. So damn much money: The triumph of lobbying and the corrosion of American government. Knopf, New York, NY. Illustrates the corruption of our political system by corporate lobbyists. Don’t like it: lobby to change it!
Kunstler, J.H. 2006. The long emergency: Surviving the converging catastrophes of the twenty-first century. Grove Press, New York, NY. One of many dystopic future scenarios. Makes you think about running out of oil though. Read it and discuss what we can do to prevent this scenario from coming to pass.
Louv, R. 2005. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. An inspiring book about how and why we need to get kids outside so that they can learn to appreciate nature.
Mitroff, I.I. & Silvers, A. 2009. Dirty rotten strategies: How we trick ourselves and others into solving the wrong problems precisely. Stanford University Press, Sanford. An interesting book that provides a number of examples about why it’s important to have different perspectives represented when solving complex problems.
Nestle, M. 2006. 2006. What to eat. North Point Press, New York. Comprehensive, witty, and highly informed guide about all things food. I find this to be an indispensable resource.
Nestle, M. 2007. Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health, 2nd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. A shocking look at the effect of corporate lobbying on the US food industry. Don’t like it: lobby to change it!
Ostrom, E. 1990. Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Original ideas from a Nobel-prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom on how common resources can be successfully managed by framing the questions about their use differently.
Pauly, D., Christensen, V., Dalsgaard, J., Froese, R., & Torres, F. Jr. 1998. Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279: 860-863. Documents the collapse of fisheries around the world.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change. 2009. Climate change 101: Understanding and responding to global climate change. http://www.pewclimate.org/global-warming-basics/climate_change_101Informative background information on climate change.
Pollan, M. 2006. An omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. The Penguin Press, New York. A wonderful and thought-provoking look at modern American agriculture and some alternatives.
Pollan, M. 2008. In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto. Penguin Books, New York. As Pollan writes “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. A thoughtful and concise gem.
Putnam, R.D. 2000. Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon and Schuster, New York. Documents (in extraordinary quantitative detail) how the rise of suburbia has isolated many of us. We are more isolated and no longer have time to talk with our neighbors or listen to others in our communities.
Saylan, C. & Blumstein, D.T. 2011. The failure of environmental education (and how we can fix it). University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. A book-length manefesto about how we must improve our education to create environmentally-savvy children who are prepared to work to improve our future.
Schlosser, E. 2001. Fast food nation: The dark side of the all-American meal. Houghton Mifflin, New York.
Singer, P. 1975. Animal liberation: A new ethics for our treatment of animals. Avon Books, New York. Classic and eye-opening look at how we use and sometimes abuse animals in our name. Began the modern movement in animal welfare and animal rights.
Singer, P. & Mason, J. 2006. The way we eat: Why our food choices matter. Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA. An eye-opening look at modern agriculture and how and why we should eat more compassionately.
Thaler, R.H. & Sunstein, C.R. 2008. Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Penguin Books, London.