As Earth Day approaches, it’s a great time to ponder the importance of our connection to the natural world. Aside from taking our shoes off and indulging in a bare-foot walk outdoors (earthing – it’s a real things, google it), there is nothing quite like reading a remarkable eco-inspired book because, let’s face it, reading books rooted in introspection may boost our own reflections, leaving us feeling inspired and empowered to make positive changes for the environment.
So here are 10 eco-passion page-turners – books to read on Earth Day and beyond. These are books I’ve read and loved, books that focus on our relationship with Mother Nature from insightfully varied perspectives.
Happy reading! 🌎
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Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit
Author Lyanda Lynn Huapt
Rooted encourages readers to reflect on their relationship to the land around them; it encourages reflections on our actions and decisions that can help create a more sustainable future. Rooted inspires readers to be mindful of our planet’s fragility and beauty through vivid descriptions of the natural world, heartfelt reflections, and lyrical prose. This is an essential read for anyone looking to become more connected with nature and celebrate Earth Day meaningfully.
When we allow ourselves greater freedom in space and place than has come to be the norm, we create our own pathways of meaning and knowledge upon the land where we dwell. Wandering freely, we garner landmarks, presences, ecological awareness, a sense of kithship. Our brains and our hearts alike gather this knowledge as we become intimate with the paths that speak to us most strongly.– Rooted, Lyanda Lynn Huapt
World of Wonders
Author Aimee Nezhukumatathil
From the sea’s enchanting creatures to the land’s sacred forests, Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders is a stunning collection of reflections that will transport readers into an astonishing world. This book celebrates Earth Day through vivid descriptions and lyrical language. With her sharp eye for detail, Nezhukumatathil captures the beauty of nature and encourages readers to reflect on their place in the natural world. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in Nezhukumatathil’s observations of some of the world’s most interesting creatures.
Under a brilliant moon, and unbeknownst to us, the darkened world silvers and shimmers from pink and ebony wings, a small thunder. We can’t possibly hear such an astonishing wind while we try to keep in step with our small dances on this earth. But we should try. We should try.– World of Wonders, Aimee Nezhukumatathil
The Hidden Life of Trees
Author Peter Wohlleben
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben is the perfect read for Earth Day. Exploring the fantastic interconnectedness of trees and how we can better understand our place in nature. This book takes us on a science-based journey of forest ecology; the intricate relationships between species went far beyond what I could’ve imagined. Wohlleben balances fact with interest and avoids that dull tone some nature books tend to have. I learned so much from this read. My appreciation for trees’ vital role in keeping the planet healthy bloomed.
“We shouldn’t be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered.”– The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben
Fresh Banana Leaves
Author Jesccia Hernandez
A dive into sociological, cultural, and scientific conversations around Indigenous peoples and the environment, Fresh Banana Leaves demonstrates how Indigenous sciences can concretely shape conversations around healing landscapes. The book looks into various Indigenous communities that incorporate traditional knowledge into their environmental practices and how this sustains their relationships with both each other and the land.
“When we heal ourselves, we heal landscapes, and it is time to create space for Indigenous peoples to heal as we move forward in life.”– Fresh Banana Leaves, Jesccia Hernandez
Author Merlin Sheldrake
The title explains it all for this one. In this epic adventure into fungi, Merlin Sheldrake dives into the depths of fungi’s little-explored yet critical relationships with their environment. He introduces us to a previously hidden world of fungi and its complex web of life. Sheldrake brings this underground realm to life through vivid descriptions and fascinating stories. As we travel through these magical places, we discover that fungi are teachers, healers, and providers of essential resources for all living organisms. We also learn how our actions can profoundly affect the interconnected web of life within these delicate ecosystems. Entangled life offers a beautiful tapestry of knowledge and understanding that will challenge our preconceptions about nature and the environment. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the connection between humans and nature.
“Fungi make worlds. They also unmake them. There are lots of ways to catch them in the act. When you cook mushroom soup, or just eat it. When you go out gathering mushrooms, or buy them. When you ferment alcohol, plant a plant, or just bury your hands in the soil; and whether you let a fungus into your mind, or marvel at the way that it might enter the mind of another. Whether you’re cured by a fungus, or watch it cure someone else; whether you build your home from fungi, or start growing mushrooms in your home, fungi will catch you in the act. If you’re alive, they already have.”– Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake
Like Streams to the Ocean
Author Jedidiah Jenkins
One of my favorite books of all time, Like Streams to the Ocean, is nothing short of poetic introspection that ties environmental observation with human experience. As I read through each chapter, I felt invited into an intimate conversation between the author, his world and perspective, and myself – there is a sense of commonality.
“If there is no God, and we are just atoms bouncing through a giant something, then the mystery of consciousness is all the more amazing. We are pieces of matter, perfectly organized in such a way that we are able to see ourselves. What an honor. What a commission. And if the saints and mystics are right, and we really are children of God, then wow. We are creations of the Most High, main characters in the cosmic drama of meaning. Maybe those two options aren’t as different as we think.”– Like Streams to the Ocean, Jedidiah Jenkins
The Book of Hope
Author Jane Goodall
A beautiful and inspiring look at the global climate crisis. Through her powerful words, Jane Goodall brings hope and peace in this collection of stories, photographs, and interviews with scientists, activists, and everyday people, she reveals how positive change can come from collective action. From examples of sustainable agriculture projects to individuals who have made a difference in their communities and the latest breakthroughs in climate science, The Book of Hope is a call for hope, resilience and compassion.
“Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.”– The Book of Hope, Jane Goodall
Author Robin Wall Kimmerer
I listened to Braiding Sweetgrass while hiking the PCT, and the audiobook was a wonderful partnership between hiking and the detailings of author Robin Wall Kimmerer’s relationship with the land. She speaks from an Indigenous perspective, blending traditional knowledge and scientific understanding to describe the intimate relationship between people and nature. Her writing carries a deep reverence for the land and its creatures, a reminder of our connection to the Earth and our responsibility to take care of it. This is a book that will restore and invigorate your love for the Earth and help you learn how to be more mindful of the environment. It’s an inspiring read for Earth Day and beyond.
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”– Brading Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
Image from: http://www.booksandmortar.com
Author Robin Wall Kimmerer
Another enchanting embarkment into the natural world with Robin Wall Kimmerer. In Gathering Moss, Kimmerer leads us through the secrets of moss and its relationship with other plants. She emphasizes the importance of moments of observation when one can take a step back from daily routines and allow nature to speak for itself. Her passionate writings encourage us to be good stewards of our environment and recognize that even the most diminutive life forms can play a significant role in our lives.
“In indigenous ways of knowing, it is understood that each living being has a particular role to play. Every being is endowed with certain gifts, its own intelligence, its own spirit, its own story. Our stories tell us that the Creator gave these to us, as original instructions. The foundation of education is to discover that gift within us and learn to use it well.”– Gathering Moss, Robin Wall Kimmerer
How to Be a Climate Optimist
Author Chris Turner
I’m currently reading this novel, so I don’t have a detailed synopsis like the previous books. However, I can say this novel gives readers an optimistic outlook on the climate crisis with bite-sized scientific studies and inspiring stories of people who are successfully combating the climate crisis. He also emphasizes ways to support the cause individually and collectively to create positive change. Perfect add to your Earth Day book list!
“When I say I’m a climate optimist, I mean that, in the face of the existential challenge of climate change, I believe the world will develop and implement better systems and technologies to meet out daily needs and reduce our global greenhouse gas emission…”– How to Be a Climate Optimist, Chris Turner
- How do you celebrate Earth Day?
- What is your favorite outdoor space? Is it your backyard, a hike you’ve done? I have so many it’s difficult to pick just one.
- What is one thing you can do to help combat the climate crisis? I know that can be a heavy question. In the wake of all we are facing, it can be difficult to believe you can make a difference on a global scale, but it’s each person’s individual actions that have the power to make change happen.
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