Environmentally-Focused Books to Boost Your Summer Reading List

Whether you choose to be pool-side, lake-side, or lounging in a hammock this summer, there are tons of great opportunities for you to incorporate some literature into the next few months. Included below are some environmentally-focused recommendations to spruce up that summer reading list of yours. 

1. From the Bottom Up – Chad Pregracke

Chad Pregracke proves that no matter your age, you can be a positive force in helping the environment. As a high school student, Pregracke was witness to the vast amounts of litter in the Mississippi River. This led him on a journey of becoming a steward of clean waterways. His grassroots efforts grew into a movement, and his personal story is a testament to the value of connection to and protection of nature.

2. The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy – Michael E. Mann

In a world where discussions of climate change has become largely political, this book offers understanding about climate change causes and impacts, how to discuss climate change with skeptics, and ways the everyday person can make an positive impact in the realm of environmental stewardship. Satirical, easy to read, and packed with information, this book makes you well-equipped to further understand climate change and its impact on the earth as well as society. Bonus: it’s filled with clever cartoons!


3. Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

In a mix of autobiographical details, business advice, and doctrines of environmental consciousness, Chouinard’s book gives insight into one of the most eco-minded American companies. Chouinard challenges the conventions of consumer culture, advocating for readers to be more considerate of the environment when making day-to-day decisions. Bonus: It will make you want to drop everything and go out and be in nature.

4. The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan

This book provides a deeper discussion to the consideration of what one eats and why. Michael Pollan examine’s our culture’s eating habits and challenges the reader to put more though into what we consume. Interesting, socially-responsible, and chock full of information, this book will change your mind about the way you think of our relationship with food and the environment. This book may not make you convert to raising your own food or becoming a vegetarian, but it will make you think more about the personal and global impacts of the food you eat.

5. The Force of Nature - Edward Humes

Humes’ book provides a fresh perspective on sustainability, focusing on an unlikely subject: Walmart. This book explores Walmart’s transition to sustainability, revitalizing what it means to be green in the world of big business. Full of facts and information about this giant of consumerism, this book shows the ways in which Walmart’s focus on sustainability not only makes a positive impact on the environment, but also saves money and helps consumers.

6. Walden - Henry David Thoreau

You can’t really have a reading list about environmentalism and nature without throwing in some Thoreau, right?! In immersing himself in nature, Thoreau was inspired to write Walden, which takes the reader on a passage through the four seasons, as well as the stages of one’s life. Thoreau emphasizes the glory of self-sufficiency, simple living, and, of course, nature. Bonus: You’ll sound incredibly intelligent if you throw references into daily conversation.


Take some time this summer to read up and reinvigorate your passion as a steward to the earth and the environment. Have any additional recommendations? Tell us about them in the comments section!


Bonus: The Paint Man - Joe Cox

Though not a book directly pertaining to environmentalism, another great read is “The Paint Man,” by Joe Cox, founder and CEO of HIS Coatings. This book is an inspiration read, a true story of rags to riches. Cox serves as a strong reminder to become attuned to oneself and the ways in which one can give back to the community.