CCR RECOMMENDS 50 BOOKS

This is a highly curated list of significant books, including:

  • Rachel Carson’s classic Silent Spring (1962), which set the stage for understanding the impact humans were having on the planet.
  • Paul Hawken’s Drawdown (2017), which focused on 100 solutions to reverse global warming, 1/3 of which have to do with food, land use or farming.
  • Gabe Brown’s Dirt to Soil (2018), which tells one farmer’s story who turned his back on conventional agriculture and switched to no-till farming transforming his degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life.
  • Jonathan Safran Foer’s We Are the Weather (2019), which addresses ourpower to affect climate change through our food choices. Mark Bittman’s review, in the New York Times, is as stunning as the book itself.
  • Charles Mann’s The Wizard and The Prophet, which tackles the overarching question of how we are going to feed 9.8 billion people in 2050.

We continually question how climate change impacts food and agriculture and how food and agriculture impacts climate change. The titles range from books focusing on what we eat (too much meat) to what we throw away (nearly half of what we buy); on industrial farming as opposed to regenerative farming; on books by fishermen who have turned to kelp farming as the warming of the oceans and the resulting acidification have threatened both their livelihoods and the creatures living in the sea. And, we look at guides – to homesteading on a quarter acre, to “carbon farming,” to creating an eco-friendly home, to regenerating land, storing carbon, and creating climate resilience.

Many of these titles were bestsellers from the time they were published. But, here we are in 2019 and Amazon still doesn’t have a category called climate change and neither does Barnes and Noble.

FOOD

ANIMAL

OCEAN

PRODUCE

SOIL

WASTE

Books covering multiple subjects will have no icon.

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American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (And What We Can Do About It) (2011)

Jonathan Bloom        Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books

Grocery prices and the forsaken foods at the back of your fridge seem to increase weekly. After reading American Wasteland, you will never look at your shopping list, refrigerator, plate, or wallet the same way again. Jonathan Bloom wades into the garbage heap to unearth what our squandered food says about us, why it matters, and how you can make a difference starting in your own kitchen—reducing waste and saving money. Interviews with experts such as chef Alice Waters and food psychologist Brian Wansink, among others, uncover not only how and why we waste, but, most importantly, what we can do about it.

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment (2011)

David Kirby        Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Swine flu. Bird flu. Massive fish kills. Concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Recalls of contaminated meats, fruits, and vegetables. Recent public health crises raise urgent questions about how our animal-derived food is raised and brought to market. In Animal Factory, bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby exposes the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching fallout that contaminates our air, land, and water supply―and our food itself.

Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens & Yard (2015)

Elizabeth Murphy        Publisher: Cool Springs Press

How do you recognize healthy soil? How much can your existing soil be improved? What are the best amendments to use for your soil? Let Building Soil answer your questions and be your guide on gardening from the ground up! Fertilizing, tilling, weed management, and irrigation all affect the quality of your soil. Using author Elizabeth Murphy’s detailed instructions, anyone can become a successful soil-based gardener, whether you want to start a garden from scratch or improve an existing garden.

Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth (2013)

Judith D. Schwartz        Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems―climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity―there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil.

Defending Beef (2014)

Nicolette Hahn Niman        Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

For decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists and health advocates that cattle and beef are public enemy number one. But is the matter really so clear cut? Hardly, argues environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman in her new book, Defending Beef.

Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought (2018)

Christy Mihaly        Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books

The United Nations supports a compelling solution to world hunger: eat insects! Explore the vast world of unexpected foods that may help solve the global hunger crisis. Weeds, wild plants, invasive and feral species, and bugs are all food for thought. Learn about the nutritional value of various plant and animal species; visit a cricket farm; try a recipe for dandelion pancakes, kudzu salsa, or pickled purslane; and discover more about climate change, sustainability, green agriculture, indigenous foods, farm-to-table restaurants, and how to be an eco-friendly producer, consumer, and chef.

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It (2011)⭐

Anna Lappe        Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Nearly four decades after her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, published Diet for a Small Planet, sparking a revolution in our thinking about the social and environmental impact of our food choices, Anna Lappé picks up the conversation, examining another hidden cost of our food system: the climate crisis. From raising cattle in industrial-scale feedlots to razing rainforests to make palm oil for Pop-Tarts, the choices we make about how we put food on our plates, and what we do with the waste, contribute to as much as one third of total greenhouse-gas emissions. Lappé exposes the interests resisting this crucial conversation while she educates and empowers readers and eaters committed to healing the planet.

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture (2018)

Gabe Brown        Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown―in an effort to simply survive―began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture.

Drawdown (2017)

Paul Hawken        Publisher: Penguin Books

In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here—some are well known; some you may have never heard of. They range from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. The solutions exist, are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are currently enacting them with skill and determination. If deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, they represent a credible path forward, not just to slow the earth’s warming but to reach drawdown, that point in time when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well being—giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.