Earth Day

12 Must-Read Earth Day Books

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – the day where we collectively show support for environmental protection. To celebrate, we handpicked twelve of our top books that showcase the breadth of the MIT Press’s dedication to the environment.

Bicycling Science, Fourth Edition 

By David Gordon Wilson and Theodor Schmidt

An updated edition of a classic: an indispensable companion for a new era in cycling.

“Bicycling Science … dispels the mythology that so commonly surrounds bicycle technology, while encouraging the passion riders to feel for the sport.”  —American Scientist

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By Finn Arne Jørgensen

An overview of recycling as an activity and a process, following different materials through the waste stream.

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The New American Farmer 

By Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern

An examination of Latino/an immigrant farmers as they transition from farmworkers to farm owners that offers a new perspective on racial inequity and sustainable farming.


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The Meat Question 

By Josh Berson

A provocative argument that eating meat is not what made humans human and that the future is not necessarily carnivorous.

“After reading The Meat Question, I have a better understanding of why it is not effective to use single issue arguments like health, environment, climate change and animal cruelty to convince people to reduce or eliminate their animal consumption…Berson shows us how to think about eating animals in broader terms.” —Truthdig

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From the Inside Out 

By Jill Lindsey Harrison

An examination of why government agencies allow environmental injustices to persist.

“From the Inside Out is a rigorous academic analysis, an uncompromising call for environmental justice, and a roadmap forward for agency staff and community environmental justice practitioners alike.”  —Kari Marie Norgaard author of Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature and Social Action

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Carbon Captured 

By Matto Mildenberger

A comparative examination of domestic climate politics that offers a theory for cross-national differences in domestic climate policymaking.

“In this brilliant new bookMatto Mildenberger reveals how “double representation” for carbon-energy businesses and workers can create obstacles to effective government action.”

—Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University, and Director, Scholars Strategy Network

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Recovering Lost Species in the Modern Age 

By Dolly Jørgensen

A groundbreaking study of how emotions motivate attempts to counter species loss.

“Exploring guilt, hope, and grief as emotional responses to the perception of species loss, Dolly Jørgensen’s path-breaking book helps us reconsider how the nostalgic longing for lost animals drives ecological restoration practices.” —Alexa Weik von Mossner, University of Klagenfurt; author of Affective Ecologies: Empathy, Emotion and Environmental Narrative

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The Wild and the Wicked 

By Benjamin Hale

A brief foray into a moral thicket, exploring why we should protect nature despite tsunamis, malaria, bird flu, cancer, killer asteroids, and tofu

“A fun, funny, and accessible trip through Benjamin Hale’s philosophical argument for being green—even though Nature itself is amoral. The duty-based position he favors is sketched out through a series of fascinating and inventive cases—both real and fictional. You may never buy eggs the same way again.” —Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

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Urban Engineering for Sustainability 

By Sybil Derrible

A textbook that introduces integrated, sustainable design of urban infrastructures, drawing on civil engineering, environmental engineering, urban planning, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science.

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The Contamination of the Earth  

By François Jarrige and Thomas Le Roux

The trajectories of pollution in global capitalism, from the toxic waste of early tanneries to the poisonous effects of pesticides in the twentieth century.

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By James Lovelock

The originator of the Gaia theory offers the vision of a future epoch in which humans and artificial intelligence together will help the Earth survive.

“A prophet who deserves every honour the human race can bestow.” —Guardian

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Flint Fights Back 

By Benjamin J. Pauli

An account of the Flint water crisis shows that Flint’s struggle for safe and affordable water is part of a broader struggle for democracy.

Flint Fights Back is part sober analysis of the water crisis, part dispatch from the frontlines of the environmental justice movement, and a moving testament to a city’s fighting spirit.” —American Scholar


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