Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Environment & Nature. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. This Is Your Mind on Plants


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

From number-one  New York Times  best-selling author Michael Pollan, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants - and the equally powerful taboos Of all the things humans rely on plants for - sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber - surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime? In This Is Your Mind on Plants , Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs - opium, caffeine, and mescaline - and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying  not  to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then, why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings? In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively - as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost 25 years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.

  • Author: Michael Pollan
  • Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Science & Engineering, Science, Nature & Ecology, Ecology

                 

2. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

A New York Times Bestseller A Washington Post Bestseller Named a "Best Essay Collection of the Decade" by Literary Hub As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass , Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

  • Author: Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions; First Paperback edition (August 11, 2015)
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-1571313560
  • Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches

                 

3. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century. "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't, which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America. We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as "What shall we have for dinner?"

  • Author: Michael Pollan
  • Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Science & Engineering, Science, Nature & Ecology, Ecology

                 

4. Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.   The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).   In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.

  • Author: Paul Stamets
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Gardening & Landscape Design
  • ISBN: 978-1580085793
  • Dimensions: 7.44 x 0.88 x 8.98 inches

                 

5. Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

From the author of GROWING GOURMET AND MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS comes the only identification guide exclusively devoted to the world's psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Detailed descriptions and color photographs for over 100 species are provided, as well as an exploration of their long-standing (and often religious) use by ancient peoples and their continued significance to modern-day culture. Some of the species included have just been discovered in the past year or two, and still others have never before been photographed in their natural habitats.

  • Author: Paul Stamets
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1st edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Biological Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0898158397
  • Dimensions: 5.97 x 0.67 x 9.04 inches

                 



6. All About Weather: A First Weather Book for Kids


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

Take kids ages 3 to 5 on an exciting and educational weather adventure! Welcome to the wonderful world of weather! From the warm, balmy days of summer to the cold, crisp nights of winter, kids will learn all about the four seasons, as well as how clouds form, why it rains, what causes a rainbow, and so much more. Read along and wow your child with the meteorological magic that’s happening around them every day. Go beyond other weather books for kids with: A whirlwind of info ―Help toddlers and preschoolers understand how weather works through simple explanations. Sunny illustrations ―Colorful and adorable images help kids better understand and engage with what they’re learning. A rain of fun facts ―Keep older readers interested with neat info, like the fact that wind can be used to create electricity. If you’re looking for weather books for kids, this illustrated guide provides your tot with an extraordinary weather adventure!

  • Author: Huda Harajli MA
  • Publisher: Rockridge Press; Illustrated edition (March 24, 2020)
  • Genre: Children's Books, Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • ISBN: 978-1646116164
  • Dimensions: 7.99 x 0.14 x 7.99 inches

                 

7. Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

"Surging sea levels are inundating the coasts." "Hurricanes and tornadoes are becoming fiercer and more frequent." "Climate change will be an economic disaster." You've heard all this presented as fact. But according to science,  all of these statements are profoundly misleading. When it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that "the science is settled." In reality, the long game of telephone from research to reports to the popular media is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Core questions—about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be—remain largely unanswered. The climate is changing, but the why and how aren't as clear as you've probably been led to believe.  Now, one of America's most distinguished scientists is clearing away the fog to explain what science really says (and doesn't say) about our changing climate. In Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters , Steven Koonin draws upon his decades of experience—including as a top science advisor to the Obama administration—to provide up-to-date insights and expert perspective free from political agendas.  Fascinating, clear-headed, and full of surprises, this book gives readers the tools to both understand the climate issue and be savvier consumers of science media in general. Koonin takes readers behind the headlines to the more nuanced science itself, showing us where it comes from and guiding us through the implications of the evidence. He dispels popular myths and unveils little-known truths: despite a dramatic rise in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures actually decreased from 1940 to 1970. What's more, the models we use to predict the future aren't able to accurately describe the climate of the past, suggesting they are deeply flawed.  Koonin also tackles society's response to a changing climate, using data-driven analysis to explain why many proposed "solutions" would be ineffective, and discussing how alternatives like adaptation and, if necessary, geoengineering will ensure humanity continues to prosper. Unsettled is a reality check buoyed by hope, offering the truth about climate science that you aren't getting elsewhere—what we know, what we don't, and what it all means for our future.

  • Author: Steven E. Koonin
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (April 27, 2021)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Earth Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-1950665792
  • Dimensions: 6.19 x 1.1 x 9.31 inches

                 

8. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she's been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron's Avatar ) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own. Simard writes--in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways—how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies--and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them. Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them—embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey--of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

  • Author: Suzanne Simard
  • Publisher: Knopf (May 4, 2021)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Biological Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0525656098
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches

                 

9. Total Survival: How to Organize Your Life, Home, Vehicle, and Family for Natural Disasters, Civil Unrest, Financial Meltdowns, Medical Epidemics, and Political Upheaval


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

Knowing that no survival book can cover every conceivable aspect of surviving in every conceivable situation, in Total Survival , veteran survivalist James C. Jones delivers tips that cover the most likely needs of readers and for which there is useful and practical instruction. His goal is to share a variety of practical survival skills, principles, and ideas in an easy-to read format that will aid the reader in becoming stronger, safer, and more self-reliant. The ten principles of survival that Jones sets out are derived from analysis of true survival accounts. Studies of why some people survived fires, plane crashes, assaults, and other deadly situations while others in the same situations perished confirm that these principles made the difference. Although the data and concepts in Total Survival are derived from accounts of acute disasters—such as tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and epidemics—they apply equally well to chronic disasters, such as economic decline, shortages, unemployment, climate change, and personal family or health issues. In reality, all of life is a survival challenge, and a survival emergency is just a high-intensity life test. These ten survival principles are the key to success in everyday life, especially during an emergency.

  • Author: James C. Jones
  • Publisher: Skyhorse (February 26, 2019)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Sports & Outdoors

                 

10. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Environment & Nature - August 2021

"Merlin Sheldrake’s marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth’s marvels.... Wondrous." ( Time ) A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk ). Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Time New Statesman London Evening Standard Science Friday When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave. In Entangled Life , the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web", to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms - and our relationships with them - are changing our understanding of how life works. Praise for Entangled Life " Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of Robert Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition.... Food for the soul." (Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal ) "An ebullient and ambitious exploration... This book may not be a psychedelic - and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet) - but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do." (Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times )

  • Author: Merlin Sheldrake
  • Genre: Science & Math, Biological Sciences, Plants, Mushrooms