The good thing about taking care of our Mother (Earth, that is) you don’t have to be a superhero or invent a new type of clean energy to make an impact. Every little bit helps. But for further inspiration, here’s our list of five books that every dedicated environmentalist (and that should be all of us) will want to read. So no matter how much you know — or don’t know — about helping the environment, these books can help make every day Earth Day. Plus, they’re just flat-out great reads.
For fiction lovers who want to get lost in stories of relationships, love and the power to survive through anything, don’t miss Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver is not only an award-winning author, she has two degrees in biology. You see life not only through her complex characters, but also through a scientific lens. So, while you’re getting caught up in the heat of a budding romance (sizzle alert!), you’re also learning about pheromones and mating patterns of different species and how they relate. I’ve never learned so much without even realizing it. I couldn’t put this book down and have been recommending it to everyone I know.
For the adventure seekers, there’s Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Bryson is an experienced hiker and travel writer who tells his story of hiking the Appalachian Trail. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll find yourself Googling “can I hike the Appalachian trail?” It’s a quick, fun read that gets you out of wherever you are and into the woods. This book got me inspired to spend a Saturday hiking and hopefully it will for you, too.
For those who love adventure but are also looking for a more introspective book, check out the ever-so-popular Wild by Cheryl Strayed. The book (and the Reese Witherspoon film) made a big splash, and deservedly so. If you haven’t read it… trust me, it’s worth it. This book will jump-start you out of whatever rut you’re in while humbling you to the greatness of the outdoors. It’s just the right mix of self-reflection and adventure.
For the science fiction addicts out there, I recommend Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. The best part about this sci-fi novel is that it’s a series, letting you delve as deep as you want into this dystopian future where the world has been overrun by nature. In Area X, where lifeforms have evolved into unimaginable beings, a group of explorers are tasked with mapping and understanding it. Told through the eyes of a hyper-aware, logical biologist, you can’t help but want more. Even though this is fiction, it’s a reminder that we humans are just a small part of this world and we should respect nature and its incredible power.
For us city folks looking to gain some real-life insight into what we can do in our own backyards (or any available green space, really), grab a copy of Farm City by Novella Carpenter. The true story of Carpenter’s journey in urban farming, it takes you beyond windowsill herbs and into full-scale gardening and raising animals. Set in the heart of Oakland, CA, you can’t help but be impressed with how much she accomplished with what little she had through hard work, dedication and a spirit of giving. I am constantly seeing small patches of empty land in my city now and asking myself, “What would Novella plant here?” An absolutely delightful must-read memoir.
If you’re looking for immediate, actionable, food-centric books, you should read anything by Michael Pollan. He is a champion for keeping things local and keeping things real, which can have a huge impact on keeping the Earth healthy. Whenever I see myself straying too far into junk food land (I’m not the only one who strays, right?), I pick up a copy of whatever Pollan has recently written and soon get my fridge and cupboards filled with more farm-fresh than manufactured. Fair warning: You will probably want to start reading his books when you have the time to clean out your fridge and go grocery shopping because you will be inspired.
Looking for more info about Earth Day and how you can make a difference? Head on over to the official site. To learn more about how we here at Kimpton are keeping hospitality sustainable, check this out.