5 Books You Should Read This Summer

With summer now in full swing, you might be looking for some great reads for those lazy beach days and long road trips. We've got you covered with five thought-provoking books to bring you up to speed on all things conservation, global health, and planetary health.

1. "Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future" by David Grinspoon

"This is one of my all-time favorite books. I love the way he takes a planetologist's approach to thinking about what it would mean to develop intelligent life on planet earth. I also had the fabulous privilege to spend time with him at the "Seeds of the Good Anthropocene" meeting in Sweden recently. Imagine my delight to find my favorite author also invited to help us envisage a positive future." -- Founder, Dr. Kinari Webb


2. "Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland" by Miriam Horn

"I absolutely loved the emphasis on collaboration, bringing all voices to the table, and working together for solutions - and how successful those solutions end up being. It was encouraging to read so many stories of good work being done that benefits people and our planet, and not just in the short-term. There are so many reasons to have hope! This book shows that the principles of radical listening can be used everywhere to heal the planet and improve human wellbeing. Plus, I loved the storytelling side and how warm and personal the author was with all her heroes - sharing, not just the work they do, but who they are as people and their unique histories and personalities. With three members of our board and staff now having read - and loved - this book, it comes with a high recommendation!" -- Managing Director, Trina Jones,

3. "The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict" by Justin Farrell

"Farrell argues that environmental disputes aren't just about scientific, economic, legal, or other technical evidence, but that competing moral narratives play a significant role in how people value locations of natural beauty and, ultimately, define why people value one place over another place. The book prompted me to think about the government, corporate, community conflict over natural resources in Indonesia - how do competing moral narratives impact actions taken in Gunung Palung National Park elsewhere in Indonesia? Why is it that technical evidence detailing the global health dangers of forest degradation cannot seem to stop the destruction? How can we make this evidence meaningful to the institutions that have the financial and/or political power to create change? Pick it up if you have the chance!" -- Research Director, Bethany Kois


4. Changing Planet, Changing Health by Paul R. Epstein and Dan Ferber

Written by a physician and a science journalist, this book sheds light on how climate change is affecting disease patterns across the world. It focuses on specific cases and diseases, with great detail and a technical background that connects the dots between our health and the environment.

5. “Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World” by Kevin Bales

Author Kevin Bales, co-founder of Free the Slaves, tells the stories of enslaved people from around the world, and the resulting environmental destruction caused by modern slavery. This isn’t a light read, but it's important for us as consumers to know what is going on behind the scenes in the production of foodstuffs and materials we use every day.


Have any books that you'd like to recommend? Leave them in the comments below!


About Darya Minovi | View all posts by Darya Minovi

Darya is the Communications and Outreach Manager at Health In Harmony, based in Portland, OR. After studying Public Health and Environmental Policy at the College of William and Mary, Darya knew she wanted to dedicate her career to protecting human and environmental health. When she's not at work, you can find Darya enjoying the great outdoors, exploring Portland's farmers markets, or watching live music.