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STOP #31

San Diego, CA — Great Reading

July 12, 2006

Ever felt like you wished you knew more about global warming, but didn't know where to start? Have a few lazy summer afternoons? Well pick up any of these books and you'll be on your way to understanding this urgent issue. Whether you want to learn about the science, the politics, the potential outcomes, or the solutions, there's a book for you on our summer reading list.

The beauty of a virtual march is that you can march and read at the same time! We hope you enjoy these books (and pass them along to a friend when you're finished too.)

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
The companion volume to the movie, An Inconvenient Truth tells the story of former Vice President Al Gore's life-long passion for studying global warming, and details his quest to educate the world about the growing threat we face from the climate crisis. Loaded with charts, maps, photos and supporting data, the book allows those who saw the film to delve into the details at their own pace. Even if you haven't seen the movie yet, it's a great overview of the scientific consensus on global warming and a call to action we can't afford to ignore.

Anne Jankéliowitch and Ariel Dekovic (w/ photography by Philippe Bourseiller), 365 Ways to Save the Earth
365 Ways to Save the Earth provides a fact for every day of the year about pressing environmental problems and offers simple advice on ways you can help save the planet. With breathtaking photography by acclaimed nature photographer and five-time winner of the World Press Prize, Philippe Bourseiller, you'll feel like a world traveler looking at the pictures from sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Alaska, Egypt and the freezing stillness of Greenland. This book is really a journey around the globe, carrying the important message that we must all take steps to protect the planet from environmental injury, especially the biggest threat of all, global warming.

Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
Based on a groundbreaking series of articles Kolbert authored for the New Yorker magazine in the spring of 2005, Field Notes offers an unbiased look at the reality of global warming. Featuring interviews with researchers, environmentalists and residents of towns threatened by the changing climate, the book takes readers on a wild adventure through the Arctic Circle; visits floating houses in the Netherlands designed to lift up and bob with rising water levels; and tracks Burlington, Vermont's impressive efforts to reduce energy usage and fight global warming. Kolbert's writing style is easy to follow and concise, and the book ends with a selected bibliography and extended notes, as well as a short chronology of CO2 levels since James Watt's 1769 release of the steam engine.

Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
World-renowned scientist and explorer Tim Flannery offers a clear, accessible review of the complex science behind global warming in The Weather Makers. Credited with changing his native Australia's stance on global warming, Flannery is an authority on this issue that even the most cynical reader can trust to present his arguments factually and carefully. From dying coral reefs to melting polar ice caps to disappearing species, Flannery covers a wide range of scientific topics, offering real-life examples of global warming's devastating consequences. Tracing climate history through the geologic time periods up to the present, The Weather Makers explains that humans have definitely changed global climate systems, and predicts that the next 100 years could prove disastrous if we don't act fast.

Andrew Revkin, The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World
An award-winning environmental reporter with The New York Times, Revkin has written extensively about global warming, including two previous books on the subject. His latest effort, The North Pole Was Here, chronicles Revkin's trip to the top of the world with a team of scientists studying global warming's effects on this vanishing polar ice cap. Filled with color photos and detailed travel notes, this thrilling adventure story is a page-turner for everyone. Written to be accessible to middle school students (especially appealing to those with an interest in science or journalism), it's a great read for anyone new to the topic of global warming.

Nicholas Gabriel Arons, Waiting For Rain: The Politics And Poetry Of Drought In Northeast Brazil
Arons spent a year in Brazil on a Fulbright scholarship walking through ghost towns decimated by drought, visiting bone-dry reservoirs that once served large cities, seeing acres of dry shrubs that were once productive farms, collecting oral histories on involuntary emigration driven by water shortages, and interviewing scientists with years of experience who explained that the droughts of the 1990s were the worst on record. In the book, Arons chronicles the tragic impact that droughts have had on the Brazilian people and discusses how global warming will increase the strength and incidence of droughts, as a way of demonstrating what communities across the globe will face in coming years if the pace of climate change is not slowed.

Ross Gelbspan, Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have Fueled the Climate Crisis-and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster
First published in 2004, Boiling Point is recommended reading for anyone interested in not only the science behind climate change, but also the war on science launched by corporate polluters who bankrolled an extensive network of ‘skeptics' and contrarians in an effort to confuse the issue and thwart progress toward solving global warming.

Gelbspan traces the industry funding of the naysayers, and chastises the mainstream media for ignoring these clear conflicts when quoting them. He also berates his fellow reporters for failing to educate the American public on this critical issue. Featuring "Snapshots of the Warming," Boiling Point uses real-life examples of the impacts that climate change has already had on our world, and lays out an articulate plan of action to change course quickly to avert disaster.

Tom Pollock and Jack Seybold, The Rising: Journeys in the Wake of Global Warming
A novel about what the future might look like if global warming were to cause a sequence of natural disasters that sent the world into chaos, The Rising is both a thrilling tale and an ominous peek at the possible consequences facing humanity. Hurricane Katrina's civil horror and failed government are multiplied on every coast and survivors struggle to escape the vanishing shorelines. Antarctic ice collapses and global panic ensues. The East Coast is devastated, and California's water system is crippled by rising sea levels. The world is changed forever by the phenomenon of global warming. Although a work of fiction, the authors took care to paint a realistic scenario based on the facts of climate science. This book is at once entertainment, a warning, and a cry of hope.

Other recommended books

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Crimes Against Nature

Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Todd Wilkinson, Science Under Siege: The Politicians' War on Nature and Truth

James Gustave Speth, Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment, A Citizen's Agenda For Action

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Jeff Goodall, Big Coal

Keith Bradsher, High and Mighty, SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way

Mark Hertsgaard, Earth Odyssey: around the world in search of our environmental future

Bill McKibben, The End of Nature