April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the very first Earth Day celebration in 1970. Although digital this year, Earth Day remains a great time to reflect on our connection to the planet and to our community. Check out these reads to inspire your Earth Day!

How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time by Will McCallum

Around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean every year, killing over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Plastic pollution is the environmental scourge of our age, but how can YOU make a difference? This accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, will help you make the small changes that make a big difference, from buying a reusable coffee cup to running a clean-up at your local park or beach.

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The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things by Peter Wohlleben

In The Secret Wisdom of Nature, Peter Wohlleben takes readers on a thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible. In this tour of an almost unfathomable world, Wohlleben describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants and answers such questions as: How do they influence each other? Do lifeforms communicate across species boundaries? And what happens when this finely tuned system gets out of sync? By introducing us to the latest scientific discoveries and recounting his own insights from decades of observing nature, one of the world’s most famous foresters shows us how to recapture our sense of awe so we can see the world around us with completely new eyes.

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Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl

Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents–her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father–and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home.

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Horizon by Barry Lopez

Taking us nearly from pole to pole–from modern megacities to some of the most remote regions on the earth, Barry Lopez moves through his travels to six regions of the world: from Western Oregon to the High Arctic; from the Galápagos to the Kenyan desert; from Botany Bay in Australia to finally, unforgettably, the ice shelves of Antarctica. As he takes us on these myriad travels, Lopez also probes the long history of humanity’s quests and explorations, including the prehistoric peoples who trekked across Skraeling Island in northern Canada, the colonialists who plundered Central Africa, a Native American emissary who found his way into isolationist Japan, and today’s ecotourists in the tropics. Throughout his journeys–to some of the hottest, coldest, and most desolate places on the globe–and via friendships he forges along the way with scientists, archaeologists, artists and local residents, Lopez searches for meaning and purpose in a broken world.

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Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

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This Land is Our Land: How We Lost the Right to Roam and How to Take It Back by Ken Ilgunas

In America, there are more than a billion acres of grassland pasture, cropland, and forest, and miles and miles of coastlines that are mostly closed off to the public. Meanwhile, America’s public lands are threatened by extremist groups who call for our public lands to be sold to the highest bidder and closed off to everyone else. If these groups get their way, public property may become private, precious green spaces may be developed, and the common good may be sacrificed for the benefit of the wealthy few. Ken Ilgunas, lifelong traveler, hitchhiker, and roamer, takes readers back to the nineteenth century, when Americans were allowed to journey undisturbed across the country.

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How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Ahimals by Sy Montgomery

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals–Sy’s friends–and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.

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Book descriptions were borrowed from Goodreads.com.

Happy Earth Day!

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