Love books? Hate books but love nature? Well these reads will get you either way. From the scientific to poetic nonfiction, these old white guys have you covered. Disclaimer: I didn’t choose these authors solely because they were old and white.
A Sand County Almanac
by Aldo Leopold
Leopold, an ecologist and environmentalist, uses these essays to guide the reader through his experience of nature in Wisconsin of all places. It’s as vivid as any personal experience and even more beautiful as Leopold’s knowledge on many subjects fills in the topic, making each foray on the land more real and special. He writes more like a poet than a scientist, adding to his unique perspective and making his experience accessible and visceral for any reader.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Another collection of essays, Edward Abbey takes a break from monkeywrenching to give readers an autobiographical glimpse into his work as a park ranger at Arches National Park in the late 50s. His characteristic brash and contradictory voice colors each essay, making them deeply personal and real. From experiences with rattlesnakes to his still-controversial wishes of outlawing roads in national parks, he bares himself and his sometimes hilarious, always heartfelt views to the world.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Pulitzer-prize winning author and scientist, Sagan wrote Cosmos to explore the mutual development of science and civilization. Sagan draws the reader in, fostering a sense of wonder bred by an understanding of science. The fact of humans outgrowing the planet is one of the central questions: how do we continue to live as part of a system in which we believe ourselves to be the most important component? Featuring such well-known anecdotes as the “Pale Blue Dot” speech, he opens the door to a new perspective and wonderment of the world around us.
Other Great Selections: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, and This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein are also brilliant.
By Kristen Edge