The Empty Ocean


Richard Ellis - 2003
    Through fascinating portraits of a wide array of creatures, he introduces us to the many forms of sea life that humans have fished, hunted, and collected over the centuries, from charismatic whales and dolphins to the lowly menhaden, from sea turtles to cod, tuna, and coral.Rich in history, anecdote, and surprising fact, Richard Ellis’s descriptions bring to life the natural history of the various species, the threats they face, and the losses they have suffered. Killing has occurred on a truly stunning scale, with extinction all too often the result, leaving a once-teeming ocean greatly depleted. But the author also finds instances of hope and resilience, of species that have begun to make remarkable comebacks when given the opportunity.Written with passion and grace, and illustrated with Richard Ellis’s own drawings, The Empty Ocean brings to a wide audience a compelling view of the damage we have caused to life in the sea and what we can do about it. "

Little Book of Bees: The Fascinating World of Bees, Hives, Honey, and More


Hilary Kearney - 2019
    Since the time of the dinosaurs, evolution has taken our beloved bees on an incredible journey—today, there are 20,000 species on the planet. The Little Book of Bees is a lovely, informative book of all things bee—from evolution and communication to honey, bee-keeping, and saving the bees—all in a beautifully illustrated gift book. Bees continue to fascinate and charm us all—from novice gardeners and nature-lovers to dedicated environmentalists—and today, bees need our help more than ever. Discover the story of these incredible creatures with The Little Book of Bees.

Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy


Seth Fletcher - 2011
    Chances are you've got some lithium on your person right now. But aside from powering a mobile twenty first-century lifestyle, the third element on the periodic table may also hold the key to an environmentally sustainable, oil-independent future. From electric cars to a "smart" power grid that can actually store electricity, letting us harness the powers of the sun and the wind and use them when we need them, lithium—a metal half as dense as water, created in the first minutes after the Big Bang and found primarily in some of the most uninhabitable places on earth—is the key to setting us on a path toward a low-carbon energy future. It's also shifting the geopolitical chessboard in profound ways.In Bottled Lightning, the science reporter Seth Fletcher takes us on a fascinating journey, from the salt flats of Bolivia to the labs of MIT and Stanford, from the turmoil at GM to cutting-edge lithium-ion battery start-ups, introducing us to the key players and ideas in an industry with the power to reshape the world. Lithium is the thread that ties together many key stories of our time: the environmental movement; the American auto industry, staking its revival on the electrification of cars and trucks; the struggle between first-world countries in need of natural resources and the impoverished countries where those resources are found; and the overwhelming popularity of the portable, Internet-connected gadgets that are changing the way we communicate. With nearly limitless possibilities, the promise of lithium offers new hope to a foundering American economy desperately searching for a green-tech boom to revive it.

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature


Janine M. Benyus - 1997
    Biomimics study nature's most successful ideas over the past 3.5 million years, and adapt them for human use. The results are revolutionizing how materials are invented and how we compute, heal ourselves, repair the environment, and feed the world.Janine Benyus takes readers into the lab and in the field with maverick thinkers as they: discover miracle drugs by watching what chimps eat when they're sick; learn how to create by watching spiders weave fibers; harness energy by examining how a leaf converts sunlight into fuel in trillionths of a second; and many more examples.Composed of stories of vision and invention, personalities and pipe dreams, Biomimicry is must reading for anyone interested in the shape of our future.

Animal Societies: How Co-Operation Conquered the Natural World


Ashley Ward - 2020
    Though the scale of this connectivity is new, the instinctive desire to gather with our own kind has ancient roots. We can see the origins of our own societies in the social behaviour of the animals that share the planet with us. What's more, human characteristics such as altruism, empathy, leadership and language can also be witnessed among animal groups. Join Biologist Ashley Ward as he takes listeners into the intimate worlds of social animals. Journeying from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, it becomes clear that animals are not so far removed from us as we might imagine. In a time where humans are struggling to navigate cityscapes, isolation and a loneliness epidemic, Ward shows us that studying the social behaviour of animals offers insights valuable in their own right as well as a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.

Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming


Fred Krupp - 2008
    In this book, Fred Krupp, longtime president of Environmental Defense Fund, brings a stirring and hopeful call to arms: We can solve global warming. And in doing so we will build the new industries, jobs, and fortunes of the twenty-first century.In these pages the reader will encounter the bold innovators and investors who are reinventing energy and the ways we use it. Among them: a frontier impresario who keeps his ice hotel frozen all summer long with the energy of hot springs; a utility engineer who feeds smokestack gases from coal-fired plants to voracious algae, then turns them into fuel; and a tribe of Native Americans, for two thousand years fishermen in the roughest Pacific waters, who are now harvesting the fierce power of the waves themselves.These entrepreneurs are poised to remake the world's biggest business and save the planet—if America's political leaders give them a fair chance to compete.

Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets


Peter Laufer - 2010
    Laufer exposes the network of hunters, traders, breeders, and customers who constitute this nefarious business—which, estimated at $10 to $20 billion annually, competes with illegal drug and weapons trafficking in the money it earns criminals.

Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature's Bounty


Craig Welch - 2010
    A stranger-than-fiction true story centered around a larger-than-life character who pursued a larger-than-life clam—the Geoduck—and then led wildlife police on a two-year-long chase, Shell Games is enthralling and remarkable from page one on.

The Gecko's Foot: Bio-inspiration: Engineering New Materials from Nature


Peter Forbes - 2006
    It will never fail you." When Frank Lloyd Wright said this, he probably wasn't envisioning self-cleaning surfaces, the photonic crystal, or Velcro. But nature has indeed yielded such inventions for those scientists and engineers who heeded the architect's words.The cutting-edge science of bio-inspiration gives way to architectural and product designs that mimic intricate mechanisms found in nature. In Peter Forbes's engaging book we discover that the spiny fruits of the cocklebur inspired the hook-and-loop fastener known as Velcro; unfolding leaves, insect wings, and space solar panels share similar origami folding patterns; the self-cleaning leaves of the sacred lotus plant have spawned a new industry of self-cleaning surfaces; and cantilever bridges have much in common with bison spines.As we continue to study nature, bio-inspiration will transform our lives and force us to look at the world in a new way.

The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to Solve Them


Elizabeth Royte - 2001
    Journalist Elizabeth Royte weaves together her own adventures on Barro Colorado with tales of researchers struggling to parse the intricate workings of a tropical rain forest. As Royte works alongside the scientists � sorting insects, collecting monkey dung, radiotracking fruit bats � she asks: What is the point of such research? Both "moving and satisfying" (Providence Sunday Journal), The Tapir's Morning Bath humanizes the scientists, who are driven by passion and ambition to explore arcane questions even though the world may not have time to wait for the answers.

Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed -- And What It Means for Our Future


Dale Jamieson - 2014
    Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life.In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality -- it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate change, to adapt to it and restore a sense of agency while living meaningful lives in a changing world.

Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us


David Neiwert - 2014
    Remarkably sophisticated, orcas have languages and cultures and even long-term memories, and their capacity for echolocation is nothing short of a sixth sense. They are also benign and gentle, which makes the story of the captive-orca industry—and the endangerment of their population in Puget Sound—that much more damning.  In Of Orcas and Men, a marvelously compelling mix of cultural history, environmental reporting, and scientific research, David Neiwert explores an extraordinary species and its occasionally fraught relationship with human beings. Beginning with their role in myth and contemporary popular culture, Neiwert shows how killer whales came to capture our imaginations, and brings to life the often catastrophic environmental consequences of that appeal.   In the tradition of Barry Lopez’s classic Of Wolves and Men, David Neiwert’s book is a triumph of reporting, observation, and research, and a powerful tribute to one of the animal kingdom’s most remarkable members.

Raptor: A Journey Through Birds


James Macdonald Lockhart - 2016
    In this magnificent hymn to these beautiful animals, James Macdonald Lockhart explores all fifteen breeding birds of prey on these shores – from the hen harrier swimming over the land in the dregs of a May gale on Orkney, to the ghostly sparrowhawk displaying in the fields around his home in Warwickshire. This is a book that will change how we think of our own skies.

The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea


Jacques-Yves Cousteau - 1970
    The author recounts his experiences observing sharks in the open seas, describes their characteristics, and discusses the safety precautions that should be taken around sharks.

Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects


Vaclav Smil - 2010
    In a bold and provocative argument, Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects describes the history of modern society's dependence on fossil fuels and the prospects for the transition to a nonfossil world. Vaclav Smil, who has published more on various aspects of energy than any working scientist, makes it clear that this transition will not be accomplished easily, and that it cannot be accomplished within the timetables established by the Obama administration.The book begins with a survey of the basic properties of modern energy systems. It then offers detailed explanations of universal patterns of energy transitions, the peculiarities of changing energy use in the world's leading economies, and the coming shifts from fossil fuels to renewable conversions. Specific cases of these transitions are analyzed for eight of the world's leading energy consumers. The author closes with perspectives on the nature and pace of the coming energy transition to renewable conversions.