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Earth Day 2017: reading for environmental & climate literacy

Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April in support of environmental protection. The theme for 2017’s Earth Day is “Environmental & Climate Literacy” – and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate knowledge of the environment and climate than with a reading list. These books, chapters, and articles can add to your understanding of Earth through topics such as climate change, natural phenomena, and what practical steps are being taken to help protect our planet.

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Confronting the Consequences of Climate Change” from Adapting to a Changing Environment: Confronting the Consequences of Climate Change by Tim R. McClanahan and Joshua E. Cinner

This chapter summarizes the available options for confronting the consequences of climate change through building local-scale adaptive capacity in societies and improving the condition of the natural resources on which people depend for their livelihoods. This first item in our reading list discusses how to simultaneously govern resource use and build capacity in society.

Stories from the Leopold Shack: Sand County Revisited by Estella B. Leopold

The classic A Sand County Almanac by ecologist and writer Aldo Leopold, which called for a responsible relationship between people and the land they inhabit, is a touchstone text for the American conservation movement. In this new project, Stories from the Leopold Shack, Aldo’s daughter Estella B. Leopold offers a window into the development of the land-ethic theory as it unfolded in her father’s life and thought.

Modeling sustainability: population, inequality, consumption, and bidirectional coupling of the Earth and Human Systems” by Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas, Eugenia Kalnay, et al in National Science Review

The importance and imminence of sustainability challenges, the dominant role of the Human System in the Earth System, and the essential roles the Earth System plays for the Human System, all call for collaboration of natural scientists, social scientists, and engineers in multidisciplinary research to develop coupled Earth–Human system models for devising effective science-based policies and measures to benefit current and future generations.

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From conservation theory to practice: crossing the divide” from Conservation Biology for All by Madhu Rao and Joshua Ginsberg

Exploring the implementation of conservation science, this chapter integrates the inputs of decision‐makers and local people into scientifically rigorous conservation planning as a critically important aspect of effective conservation implementation.

Weather: A Very Short Introduction by Storm Dunlop

From deciding the best day for a picnic, to the devastating effects of hurricanes and typhoons, the weather impacts our lives on a daily basis. Although new techniques allow us to forecast the weather with increasing accuracy, most people do not realise the vast global movements and forces which result in their day-to-day weather. Here, Storm Dunlop explains what weather is and how it differs from climate, discussing what causes weather, and how we measure it.

The Conservation Paradox” from Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Change: Using palaeoecology to manage dynamic landscapes in the Anthropocene by Lindsey Gillson

Urgent action is needed to counter the climate change and consumption patterns that are driving the Earth’s life support systems towards a dangerous tipping point. However, the paradox of conservation is that we seek to preserve systems that are incessantly in flux. As conservation moves towards the maintenance processes, the need emerges for us to understand change over time, with respects to the limits of ecological resilience and the fragile points at which dramatic ecosystem re-organisation may occur.

Totality: The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024 by Mark Littmann and Fred Espenak

In Totality, Littmann and Espenak provides a complete guide to the most stunning of celestial sights, total eclipses of the Sun. It focuses on the upcoming eclipses of 21 August 2017 and 8 April 2024 that will pass across the United States and contributes to our understanding of this phenomenon, as well as how to safely observe the total eclipse.

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Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon by Frank Close

Building on the forthcoming total solar eclipse on 21 August 2017, the popular science author Frank Close describes the spellbinding allure of this most beautiful natural phenomenon in Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon. Will you be one of the 100 million people projected to gather in a narrow belt across the USA to witness the most watched total solar eclipse in history?

Changing conservation behaviors” from Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques by Susan K. Jacobson, Mallory McDuff, and Martha Monroe

This chapter organises many of the most commonly used theories in conservation program development and research around key purposes, and the important roles they play in the development of conservation education and outreach programs.

Analyzing climate variations at multiple timescales can guide Zika virus response measures” by Ángel G. Muñoz, Madeleine C. Thomson, Lisa Goddard, and Sylvain Aldighieri in GigaScience

In this article, Muñoz et al. reviews the related flaviviruses transmitted by the same vectors as the Zika virus (ZIKV) and uncovers that ZIKV dynamics may be sensitive to climate seasonality and longer-term variability and trends.

Betraying the Future” from Debating Climate Ethics by Stephen M. Gardiner and David A. Weisbach

This selection argues that ethics plays a fundamental role in climate policy for three reasons. First, we need ethical concepts to identify the relevant problem. Second, ethical considerations are at the heart of the main policy decisions that must be made. Third, climate change presents a severe ethical challenge for humanity and its institutions.

Gaia and her microbiome” by John F. Stolz in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

The Gaia hypothesis proposes that the Earth’s biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere act together as a cybernetic system that maintains the optimal physical and chemical environment for life. This article re-examines the theory, and reflects on how recent discoveries might contribute to our understanding of how the Earth’s biosphere functions.

Environmental Protection: What Everyone Needs to Know by Pamela Hill

This book gives background information on the origins and development of environmental protection and provides accessible information that will help readers navigate this topic. Environmental Protection also provides context for understanding current environmental issues, such as nanopollution and climate change.

Featured image credit: Gulf of Mexico, United States by NASA. Creative commons via Unsplash.

Recent Comments

  1. Stacy Grover

    Adrian Parr has written two significant works about the way liberalism and capitalism hijack and harm the environmental justice movement in the 21st century. Required reading to illuminate the invisible ways our movement is damaged from the inside.

    Hijacking sustainability. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.2009

    The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics. New York City, New York: Columbia University Press 2012

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