A Life on Our Planet, by David Attenborough

Staff Pick

Moving from the 1930s to today, Attenborough, now 94, takes the vital signs of the planet, showing what has happened as the human population has grown from 2.3 to 7.8 billion, the atmosphere’s carbon load has gone from 280 to 415 ppm, and the percentage of wild land has plummeted from 66 to 35. Including both the wonders he’s seen and filmed—from fossils to rainforests to whale songs—and the radical changes in the planet’s stability that have caused biodiversity to plummet, rainforests to turn into savannahs, and the white poles to turn blue, this “witness statement” is heartbreaking. But just when it seems we have doomed all life on Earth, ,Attenborough presents “A Vision for the Future,” one that looks at technical and social innovations around the world and finds a real basis for hope. By listening to nature and imitating it rather than trying to control it, and especially by restoring biodiversity, he shows that the land and oceans will regain their balance, provide enough food for both humans and animals, and make life sustainable for generations to come. But nature can’t help us unless we change our fundamental relationship to it—and time is short.


A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future By Sir David Attenborough, Jonnie Hughes (With) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538719985
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grand Central Publishing - October 6th, 2020

Notes From an Apocalypse, by Mark O'Connell

Staff Pick

As O'Connell notes, the end of the world has been prematurely announced many times. But now, with extreme weather events, the sixth extinction, and novel viruses, will this be the real thing? To appease, inform, and perhaps indulge his "obsession" with today's end times, O'Connell sought out others similarly--and not so similarly--concerned. These eight essays recount his meetings with "preppers" for the collapse of life as we know it, specialized entrepreneurs selling bunkers to survivalists, advocates for relocating humanity to Mars, and fellow connoisseurs of catastrophe on a guided tour to Chernobyl. Interspersing travel narrative with reflections on the meaning of civilization and its ruin, he also meditates on the ethics--and the sheer possibility--of raising children at this fraught moment. Ultimately, invoking philosophers from Beckett and Kierkegaard to Arendt and Dr. Seuss—along with watching young climate strikers and witnessing his infant daughter's sheer joy in life—he decides that it's worth being part of the world, even one in such dire straits, and relinquishes some of his anxiety to enjoy the gifts Earth still gives us. If he can do it, we can too.  

Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back By Mark O'Connell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543002
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday - April 14th, 2020

The Joyful Environmentalist, by Isabel Losada

Staff Pick

Words like “joy,” and “delight” are thin on the ground in most environmental writing, but they are the raison d'être of Losada’s spirited and practical exploration of ways both to help the planet and to live a more satisfying life. The two go hand-in-hand: if we eat better—more fresh food, more meals with family and friends, metal cutlery rather than plastic—we’ll leave less trash, use fewer resources, and feel better both mentally and physically. If we own less we’ll value more highly what we have, and our lives will be enriched by the meaning these objects hold for us. If we bike to work, we’ll save money, engage more directly with our neighborhoods, and be more physically fit. These aren’t prescriptions, but suggestions, and Losada knows they won’t work for everyone. But even before that, they’re lively, often funny stories. More a friend than a visionary. Losada shares her own experiences (trying to dodge plastic in the supermarket, canvassing for the Green party, demonstrating with Extinction Rebellion) and equips readers with ways to cut through the “greenwash” to what’s authentically eco-friendly. 

The Joyful Environmentalist: How to Practise without Preaching By Isabel Losada Cover Image
ISBN: 9781786784704
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Watkins Publishing - July 14th, 2020