In Honor of the Earth

by Rona Berg

First there was Earth Day (this year it’s April 22, 2022), then Earth Month, but what we really need to do is prioritize the health of the planet 365 days of the year. Earth Year, every year? While we consider that, here are some interesting books about the environment for anyone who wants to educate themselves about why it’s so important to love, respect and take care of this planet which, after all, is the only home we’ve got. 

The Overstory

W.W. Norton

By Richard Powers

This brilliant and beautiful novel by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Richard Powers is, in a nutshell, a story about trees. But of course, it’s way more complicated than that, just as trees are underestimated by almost everyone. The Overstory is, at its heart, the tale of a group of unlikely activists who are driven to see the looming environmental catastrophe and do something about it. Though that, too, is an oversimplification of a truly profound book that is not only thrilling to read, it will help you see the world in an entirely different light. 

Big Ideas for Little Environmentalists

Putnam

By Maureen McQuerry

This new series of four board books, modeled after the Big Ideas for Little Philosophers series, is created to pique the curiosity of children about nature, and begin to plant the seed that they can make an impact on the health of the environment. With Build a Wonder Box with Jane Goodall, Plant a Seed of Hope with Wangari Maathai, Make a Nesting Ball with Rachel Carson, Explore an All-Senses Scavenger Hunt with Aldo Leopold, author Maureen McQuerry and illustrator Robin Rosenthal bring environmental issues–and pioneers–to life in vivid, colorful words and pictures. 

Plants Are My Favorite People

Clarkson Potter

By Alessia Resta 

A straightforward guidebook intended for “plant parents,” Plants Are My Favorite People, by instagram influencer Alessia Retat (aka Apartment Botanist) is your new botanical bible. Perfect for anyone who loves plants and is tired of killing them, this little handbook offers general wisdom about light sources, watering, propagation, plant watering, and more, along with in-depth profiles of “instagrammable” plants. 

The Business of Botanicals 

By Ann Armbrecht

It is hard to think of anyone better qualified than Ann Armbrecht, director of the Sustainable Herbs Program of the American Botanical Council, to disentangle the threads that bind an opaque industry. Herbal medicine is big business, especially now, when consumers are increasingly on the hunt for healing herbal remedies and immune boosters, from oil of oregano to elderberry. But are we really getting what we’re paying for? How do we know that the products we are putting into our bodies are not only safe, but effective?

In her fascinating book, The Business of Botanicals, Armbrecht traces the path from the fields where herbs are grown to the shops where they are sold, raising—and answering—questions about safety, efficacy and impact on people and Planet. –Kristin Vukovic

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