Celebrating Earth Day: 50 Years of Books Promoting Environmental Issues

In 1970, the EPA didn’t exist; the Clean Air Act didn’t exist; the Clean Water Act didn’t exist. In fact, there were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment. So Senator Gaylord Nelson decided to do something to force people to think about protecting our environment by founding Earth Day. In 1972, two environmentally-conscious individuals started a book store, who’s mission statement is: Be fair to customers, be fair to employees, be kind to the environment, promote literacy and remain financial viable so we may continue. So, as Half Price Books celebrates 50 years, we want to take a look at 50 years of books that strive to bring environmental issues to the forefront and help us be kind to our planet.

  1. The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula Le Guin
  2. The Columbian Exchange, by Alfred W. Crosby
  3. Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach
  4. Soft Energy Paths, by Amory Lovins
  5. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden
  6. The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey
  7. The Death of Nature, by Carolyn Merchant
  8. The Cool War, by Frederik Pohl
  9. Changes in the Land, by William Cronon
  10. Gorillas in the Mist, by Dian Fossey
  11. Wintergreen, by Robert Michael Pyle
  12. Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson
  13. Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler
  1. The Control of Nature, by John McPhee
  2. The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry (kids)
  3. Save our Planet, by Diane MacEachern (kids)
  4. Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, by Dave Forman
  5. Earth in the Balance, by Al Gore
  6. Mother of Storms, by John Barnes
  7. A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr
  8. Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  9. The Coming Global Superstorm, by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber
  10. Waterlog, by Roger Deakin
  11. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
  12. The Discovery of Global Warming, by Spencer R. Weart
  13. Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
  14. The Chilling Stars, by Hinrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder
  15. Catastrophe, by Richard Posner
  16. 365 Ways to Save the Earth, by Phillippe Bourseiller
  1. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  2. It’s Easy Being Green, by Crissy Trask
  3. 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World, by Melanie Walsh (kids)
  4. We Planted a Tree, by Diane Muldrow (kids)
  5. The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
  6. Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward
  7. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
  8. The Big Thirst, by Charles Fishman
  9. The Soil Will Save Us, by Kristin Chlson
  10. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  11. Clade, by James Bradley
  12. The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf
  13. Where the Water Goes, by David Owen
  14. We are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom (kids)
  1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
  2. What a Waste, by Jess French (kids)
  3. There is No Planet B, by Mike Berners-Lee
  4. How to Give Up Plastic, by Will McCallum
  5. Losing Earth, by Nathaniel Rich
  6. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
  7. Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, by Thich Nhat Hanh

With a mix of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books, this list has something for everyone, and you can find these books and more at your local Half Price Books or HPB.com. And don’t forget we buy used books to help keep them out of landfills and in the hands of readers. Did we miss any of your favorite environmentally-focused books? Tell us what they are in the comments below.