One Earth Book List

Below is a selection of environmentally themed books recommended by the One Earth team. 

  • Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals

    A state-of-the-art "1.5ºC Climate Model" released by the prestigious scientific publisher Springer Nature, offers a roadmap for meeting -- and surpassing -- the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement, proving that we can solve the global climate crisis with a transition to 100% renewable energy and a large land conservation and restoration effort. The book, entitled Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement, was the culmination of a two-year scientific collaboration with 17 leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), two institutes at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the University of Melbourne’s Climate & Energy College. 

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  • The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild

    Enric Sala wants to change the world--and in this compelling book, he shows us how. Once we appreciate how nature works, he asserts, we will understand why conservation is economically wise and essential to our survival.
    Here Sala, director of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project (which has succeeded in protecting more than 5 million sq km of ocean), tells the story of his scientific awakening and his transition from academia to activism--as he puts it, he was tired of writing the obituary of the ocean. His revelations are surprising, sometimes counterintuitive: More sharks signal a healthier ocean; crop diversity, not intensive monoculture farming, is the key to feeding the planet. With a foreword from Prince Charles and an introduction from E. O. Wilson, this powerful book will change the way you think about our world--and our future.

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  • The Botany of Desire

    Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. Just as we’ve benefited from plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?

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  • Kiss the Ground

    In Kiss the Ground, author Josh Tickell takes on humanity’s greatest challenge: Climate Change. And along the way he delivers surprising insights into diet, health, nutrition and our relationship with food, each other and the planet. By focusing on the role of soil as the largest and most overlooked carbon sink on Earth, Kiss the Ground finds a new lens through which to view many of our problems and new tools to solve them. 

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  • Cooked

    In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth— to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook.

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  • The Carbon Farming Solution

    Agriculture is rightly blamed as a major culprit of our climate crisis. But in this groundbreaking new book, Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture―specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming”―can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform. 

    Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in above-ground biomass. Combined with a massive reduction in fossil fuel emissions―and in concert with adaptation strategies to our changing environment― carbon farming has the potential to bring us back from the brink of disaster and return our atmosphere to the “magic number” of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Toensmeier’s book is the first to bring together these powerful strategies in one place, including in-depth analysis of the available research and, where research is lacking, a discussion of what it will take to get us there.

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  • All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

    There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial table. More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone.

    All We Can Save illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States—scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race—and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society.

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  • Farming While Black

    Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.  Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.  

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

    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. 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.

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

    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.

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  • The Overstory

    The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

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  • Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as If Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered

    Could there ever be an alternative stock exchange dedicated to slow, small, and local? Could a million American families get their food from CSAs? What if you had to invest 50 percent of your assets within 50 miles of where you live?Such questions-at the heart of slow money-represent the first steps on our path to a new economy. Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money presents an essential new strategy for investing in local food systems and introduces a group of fiduciary activists who are exploring what should come after industrial finance and industrial agriculture. Theirs is a vision for investing that puts soil fertility into return-on-investment calculations and serves people and place as much at it serves industry sectors and markets. Leading the charge is Woody Tasch-whose decades of work as a venture capitalist, foundation treasurer, and entrepreneur now shed new light on a truer, more beautiful, more prudent kind of fiduciary responsibility. He offers an alternative vision to the dusty old industrial concepts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when dollars, and the businesses they financed, lost their connection to place; slow money, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in the new economic, social, and environmental realities of the 21st century. Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money is a call to action for designing capital markets built around not extraction and consumption but preservation and restoration. Is it a movement or is it an investment strategy? Yes

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  • Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

    Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Award-winning philanthropy executive Edgar Villanueva draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.

    Though it seems counterintuitive, the philanthropic industry has evolved to mirror colonial structures and reproduces hierarchy, ultimately doing more harm than good. After 14 years in philanthropy, Edgar Villanueva has seen past the field's glamorous, altruistic façade, and into its shadows: the old boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression among the "house slaves," and those select few people of color who gain access. All these funders reflect and perpetuate the same underlying dynamics that divide Us from Them and the haves from have-nots. In equal measure, he denounces the reproduction of systems of oppression while also advocating for an orientation towards justice to open the floodgates for a rising tide that lifts all boats. In the third and final section, Villanueva offers radical provocations to funders and outlines his Seven Steps for Healing. 

    With great compassion—because the Native way is to bring the oppressor into the circle of healing—Villanueva is able to both diagnose the fatal flaws in philanthropy and provide thoughtful solutions to these systemic imbalances. Decolonizing Wealth is a timely and critical book that preaches for mutually assured liberation in which we are all inter-connected.

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  • Education in Movement Spaces: Standing Rock to Chicago Freedom Square

    This book amplifies the distinct, intersecting, and coalitional possibilities of education in the spaces of ongoing movements for Native and Black liberation. Contributors including Alayna Eagle Shield, Django Paris, Rae Paris, and Timothy San Pedro highlight the importance of activist-oriented teaching and learning in community encampments and other movement spaces for the preservation and expansion of resistance education. With chapters from scholars, educators, and organizers, this volume offers lessons taken from these experiences for nation-state schools, classrooms, and spaces of teaching and learning that are most commonly experienced by Native and Black children and educators. Through attention to recent social movements across the United States—from Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter—this book demonstrates the vital connections between Native and Black communities’ educational futures.

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