Staff Pick

As O'Connell notes, the end of the world has been prematurely announced many times. But now, with extreme weather events, the sixth extinction, and novel viruses, will this be the real thing? To appease, inform, and perhaps indulge his "obsession" with today's end times, O'Connell sought out others similarly--and not so similarly--concerned. These eight essays recount his meetings with "preppers" for the collapse of life as we know it, specialized entrepreneurs selling bunkers to survivalists, advocates for relocating humanity to Mars, and fellow connoisseurs of catastrophe on a guided tour to Chernobyl. Interspersing travel narrative with reflections on the meaning of civilization and its ruin, he also meditates on the ethics--and the sheer possibility--of raising children at this fraught moment. Ultimately, invoking philosophers from Beckett and Kierkegaard to Arendt and Dr. Seuss—along with watching young climate strikers and witnessing his infant daughter's sheer joy in life—he decides that it's worth being part of the world, even one in such dire straits, and relinquishes some of his anxiety to enjoy the gifts Earth still gives us. If he can do it, we can too.  

Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543002
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Doubleday - April 14th, 2020

Staff Pick

Words like “joy,” and “delight” are thin on the ground in most environmental writing, but they are the raison d'être of Losada’s spirited and practical exploration of ways both to help the planet and to live a more satisfying life. The two go hand-in-hand: if we eat better—more fresh food, more meals with family and friends, metal cutlery rather than plastic—we’ll leave less trash, use fewer resources, and feel better both mentally and physically. If we own less we’ll value more highly what we have, and our lives will be enriched by the meaning these objects hold for us. If we bike to work, we’ll save money, engage more directly with our neighborhoods, and be more physically fit. These aren’t prescriptions, but suggestions, and Losada knows they won’t work for everyone. But even before that, they’re lively, often funny stories. More a friend than a visionary. Losada shares her own experiences (trying to dodge plastic in the supermarket, canvassing for the Green party, demonstrating with Extinction Rebellion) and equips readers with ways to cut through the “greenwash” to what’s authentically eco-friendly. 

The Joyful Environmentalist: How to Practise without Preaching Cover Image
ISBN: 9781786784704
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Watkins Publishing - July 14th, 2020

Staff Pick

Since Lab Girl, Jahren relocated to Oslo, Norway, where, along with her award-winning work in paleobiology, she teaches a course on the origins of climate change. This is a course everyone should take. Presented here, it’s an engaging, fast-paced survey of how our relentless drive for “more” fuels increases in our population, longevity, urbanization, travel, industrial and agricultural production, with  concurrent negative impacts on the natural environment. Jahren uses a lot of statistics—leavened with plenty of engaging stories—and her book is also a mini-primer on data interpretation. Although global fossil fuel use and meat production have tripled since 1969, regional consumption rates are uneven; OECD nations waste food and struggle to declutter, but places like Bangladesh barely register on energy-usage maps, even as they suffer the brunt of the Anthropocene’s devastating storms and rising seas—not to mention supplying materials essential for the richer nations’ turbines and digital devices. Jahren’s intent isn’t to blame or frighten, however, but to inform, and her data boils down to “use less and share more.” If we do, there will be enough to go around. Recognizing that this is a tough sell—“consuming less is not…a new product that can be marketed”—Jahren urges a wholesale re-envisioning of how we use energy. That vision is still vague, but if we scale back to rates roughly equivalent of those in Switzerland in the 1960s, “humanity might survive civilization.”


The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525563389
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020