Activist and writer Bill McKibben is the award-winning author of The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information. His new book, Eaarth, argues that our planet already has been irrevocably remade by human activity.
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, $16). Any book by this Kentucky farmer-writer will do, but this novel is a particularly moving part of his ongoing project: showing the meaning of and need for real human community. Once you’re finished with this, continue on to his collected essays.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (Ballantine, $7). The cantankerous desert writer Abbey is one of the funniest and deepest thinkers about the wild. This book will live on in a hundred years the way Walden does today—and it will introduce you to one of the few nature writers who never succumbs to Awestruck Solemnity.
Heart and Blood by Richard Nelson (Vintage, $21). Nelson, an Alaska writer, tells here a detailed story of the conflicts between people and deer across America. It’s an issue almost every suburbanite has dealt with—but Nelson begins and ends with haunting scenes from his life in the southeast archipelago of Alaska.
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams (Vintage, $14). Another powerful voice from the arid West, Williams tells in this powerful book the story of both natural and human decline. Read it and weep—but also read it and find yourself full of new resolve.
Plan B by Lester Brown (Norton, $16). In case you’ve ever wondered if civilization can keep going on its present course, this book by our most prominent eco-statistician will prove that the answer is no—and that, instead, there’s a wealth of real possibilities for change to a more sustainable and more human course.
The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder (Shoemaker & Hoard, $15). Our foremost poet of the natural world here writes in prose about some of the lessons he’s acquired in a lifetime of paying close attention. Snyder is a radical, but in a deeply conservative way. And if you don’t know his poetry, this book will convince you to read that next.