100 books like Half-Earth

By Edward O. Wilson,

Here are 100 books that Half-Earth fans have personally recommended if you like Half-Earth. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World

Maxim Samson Author Of Invisible Lines: Boundaries and Belts That Define the World

From my list on redefining your understanding of geography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Geography professor at DePaul University with a long-standing obsession with the world, comparing puddle shapes to countries as a small child and subsequently initiating map and flag collections that I cultivate to this day. Having lived in different parts of the UK and the USA, as well as being fortunate enough to travel further afield, I’ve relished the opportunity to explore widely and chat with the people who know their places best. I love books that alter how I look at the planet, and I am particularly intrigued by the subtle ways in which people have shaped our world—and our perceptions of it—both intentionally and inadvertently.

Maxim's book list on redefining your understanding of geography

Maxim Samson Why did Maxim love this book?

Even prior to reading this book, I casually considered Alexander von Humboldt to be one of my geographical heroes, a workaholic as addicted to adventure as he was obsessed with advancing our understanding of the planet.

However, Wulf’s book opened my eyes not only to the sheer extent of his contributions to how we view the world, from human-induced climate change to the development of increasingly accurate and informative maps and diagrams but also to his cultural and political significance, influencing politicians and inspiring poets to continue fashioning and representing the planet as they see fit.

In placing the founder of ecology and modern environmentalism centre-stage, this engaging biography extols Humboldt’s revolutionary understanding of how the natural and human worlds are interconnected and helps us appreciate how our relationship with the planet can be scientific and emotional simultaneously. 

By Andrea Wulf,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Invention of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016

'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson

'Dazzling' Literary Review

'Brilliant' Sunday Express

'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist

'A superb biography' The Economist

'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read…


Book cover of Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From my list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

M. R. Reed Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…


Book cover of Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene

Chris Fitch Author Of Subterranea: Discovering the Earth's Extraordinary Hidden Depth

From my list on rethink nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chris Fitch is a writer, geographer, and storyteller. Formerly a senior staff writer at Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, he has reported from Australia to Kenya, Arizona to the Galápagos Islands, covering global stories on climate change, ecological urbanism, wildlife conservation, cultural revitalisation, sustainable development, geopolitics, science, travel, and more.

Chris' book list on rethink nature

Chris Fitch Why did Chris love this book?

A profoundly depressing but important explanation of the paradox that the more power humans gain over the Earth, the more the planet we call home will turn against us, a fundamental shift in humanity's relationship with nature, and making our existence ever more precarious.

By Clive Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Defiant Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humans have become so powerful that we have disrupted the functioning of the Earth System as a whole, bringing on a new geological epoch the Anthropocene one in which the serene and clement conditions that allowed civilisation to flourish are disappearing and we quail before 'the wakened giant'. The emergence of a conscious creature capable of using technology to bring about a rupture in the Earth's geochronology is an event of monumental significance, on a par with the arrival of civilisation itself. What does it mean to have arrived at this point, where human history and Earth history collide? Some…


Book cover of The World Without Us

Kevin Herbst Author Of The End of Heroes

From my list on SF&F for spring.

Why am I passionate about this?

Starting with Tolkien’s novels as a child, I’ve devoured countless SF&F stories. My love of the genre, particularly high fantasy, combined with the irritatingly fashionable trend of so many fantasy authors to stop writing their stories partway through and leave we readers high and dry, motivated me to start writing, to see if I could create something that I was missing as I hunted for new material to read. As an intense hater of winter, spring always signified to me a time of hope, of new growth, of opportunity, of the ending of difficulty, and the start of a time when all things were possible. 

Kevin's book list on SF&F for spring

Kevin Herbst Why did Kevin love this book?

Much SF&F literature has explored the concept of what the world might look like with fewer (or no) humans.

Weisman’s well-researched book imagines how our environment would recover; how nature might take back control without humans around to continue wrecking it.

He imagines the primacy of nature in a fascinating way and manages to avoid the normative language that might be off-putting, drawing the reader into a place that might as well be 1000 light years away from Earth.

By Alan Weisman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The World Without Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revised Edition with New Afterword from the Author

Time #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Over 3 million copies sold in 35 Languages

"On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go."

What if mankind disappeared right now, forever... what would happen to the Earth in a week, a year, a millennium? Could the planet's climate ever recover from human activity? How would nature destroy our huge cities and our…


Book cover of Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a published author specializing in nature, travel, and wine writing, and I have been an organic farmer for nearly two decades on an award-winning estate in France. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, Cultivating Change, I explore how biodiversity helps us address climate change and how important it is to the health of the land. It is also a human story; like the books below, stories are key to bringing these subjects to life. My list is women authors, not because I set out to do that, but because these books are beautiful, intuitive, and deep, like the women who wrote them.

Caro's book list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

This book by Isabella Tree is the story of how Isabella and her husband, Charlie Burrell, transformed their massive 3500-acre farm in England (100 times the size of our organic farm in France) from an intensively farmed operation that was losing money into a conservation haven and an icon of rewilding or ‘wilding’ as Isabella has termed it. Questions remain about exactly how this model can work without subsidies and/or a heavy emphasis on tourism (they are less than 2 hours drive from London and offer glamping and more) and where/how serious food production fits into this picture.

That said, the other model of intensive farming at Knepp failed both economically and environmentally. Wilding at Knepp is far kinder to the land and the wider environment. It’s economically successful, employing far more people than it did as an intensive farm, and the environmental benefits are off the charts. This book…

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…


Book cover of Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life

Adam Hart Author Of The Deadly Balance: Predators and People in a Crowded World

From my list on books that capture our place in nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t captured by nature. Growing up in coastal Devon, UK, I loved immersing myself, sometimes literally, in the landscapes and nature of my surroundings. It was inevitable I would become a biologist, and I think also inevitable that I would be drawn to the field of ecology, the study of the relationships that exist within nature. I have expanded my horizons over the past decade or so, developing a deep love for the landscapes and nature of southern Africa, but the rockpools and lanes of Devon are never far away.

Adam's book list on books that capture our place in nature

Adam Hart Why did Adam love this book?

I am a biologist and I have a passion, a deep love indeed, of the natural world. I always have. It boosts me and nurtures me–body, mind and spirit. But at the moment, with everything that is happening to the world, I think it is easy to lose hope.

Feral is everything you would expect from Monbiot–elegant prose and well thought out ideas building on solid knowledge. But it is more than that. It is a book that brings hope and makes me feel that, even if Monbiot’s vision isn’t the way, there most certainly is a way through the mess we are creating.

Positivity, action, hope–these are things we need more of right now.

By George Monbiot,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Feral as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To be an environmentalist early in the twenty-first century is always to be defending, arguing, acknowledging the hurdles we face in our efforts to protect wild places and fight climate change. But let’s be honest: hedging has never inspired anyone.
 
So what if we stopped hedging? What if we grounded our efforts to solve environmental problems in hope instead, and let nature make our case for us? That’s what George Monbiot does in Feral, a lyrical, unabashedly romantic vision of how, by inviting nature back into our lives, we can simultaneously cure our “ecological boredom” and begin repairing centuries of…


Book cover of Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World

Paul Chatterton Author Of How to Save the City: A Guide for Emergency Action

From my list on helping us save the city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated by city life since I studied Geography at high school. After twenty five years of teaching and researching urban geography, I am Professor of Urban Futures at a UK university. I now have a better sense of the challenges we face and what we can do about them. I spend my time supporting activists, campaigners, students, policymakers, and politicians about the urgency for change and what kind of ideas and examples they can use to tackle what I call the triple emergencies of climate breakdown, social inequality, and nature loss.

Paul's book list on helping us save the city

Paul Chatterton Why did Paul love this book?

There is one current zeitgeist at the moment that everyone needs to know about - degrowth.

Jason Hickel’s book is one of the best accounts of how the whole world got tangled up in a ceaselessly growing economy and what we can do to reverse out of it.

This book has really helped me make the case with students, urban policymakers, and politicians that we need a new kind of economy that doesn’t just value growth or getting bigger, but one that respects the health of people and planet, and undoes some of the big injustices that have emerged from the long history of colonialism.

By Jason Hickel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Less Is More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A powerfully disruptive book for disrupted times ... If you're looking for transformative ideas, this book is for you.' KATE RAWORTH, economist and author of Doughnut Economics

A Financial Times Book of the Year
______________________________________
Our planet is in trouble. But how can we reverse the current crisis and create a sustainable future? The answer is: DEGROWTH.

Less is More is the wake-up call we need. By shining a light on ecological breakdown and the system that's causing it, Hickel shows how we can bring our economy back into balance with the living world and build a thriving society for…


Book cover of The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy

L. Randall Wray Author Of Making Money Work for Us: How MMT Can Save America

From my list on helping you understand how money really works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been studying money since the early 1980s, when my dissertation advisor—the late and great Hyman Minsky—warned me not to do “Genesis”, origins stories of money. But I couldn't resist. I'm one of the founders of Modern Money Theory (MMT), an approach developed over the past three decades that has garnered tens of thousands of followers and earned the hatred of the elite. And, yet, those who know how money really works—or who embrace public policy pursuing the public interest (Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and even central bankers—have admitted that government cannot run out of money. I’ve written hundreds of academic papers, more blogs, many books, and given hundreds of interviews presenting the MMT alternative.

L.'s book list on helping you understand how money really works

L. Randall Wray Why did L. love this book?

This one’s by a member of the home team—a former student, colleague, collaborator, and fellow MMT conspirator.

Kelton was an advisor to Bernie Sanders, served as chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee, and is a frequent guest on all the important media outlets. She explains the basics of MMT and why they are important—especially right now as Congress is hog-tied trying to figure out what to do to prevent Uncle Sam from defaulting as we broach the debt limit.

Read this book and you’ll never again confuse Uncle Sam’s budget with your own. You can run out of money! Uncle Sam cannot. Uncle Sam’s budget deficit puts money in your pocket! His debt is your asset!

If you are worried about the government’s deficit and debt, take a deep breath, and read this book now 

By Stephanie Kelton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Deficit Myth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

'Kelton has succeeded in instigating a round of heretical questioning, essential for a post-Covid-19 world, where the pantheon of economic gods will have to be reconfigured' Guardian

'Stephanie Kelton is an indispensable source of moral clarity ... the truths that she teaches about money, debt, and deficits give us the tools we desperately need to build a safe future for all' Naomi Klein

'Game-changing ... Read it!' Mariana Mazzucato

'A rock star in her field' The Times

'This book is going to be influential' Financial Times

'Convincingly overturns conventional wisdom' New York Times

Supporting the economy, paying…


Book cover of Resilient Cities: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence

Mark Diesendorf Author Of Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change

From my list on for transitioning to a sustainable society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was originally trained as a physicist, but the shock of discovering that my PhD thesis, on physical conditions in the solar interior, was being used to improve the design of hydrogen bombs, changed the direction of my research. I decided to do science in the public interest, instead of for the military and big business, and broadened into interdisciplinary research. Eventually, I became Professor of Environmental Science and Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Nowadays, I’m an honorary Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney, researching the energy transition, ecological economics and sustainable development. 

Mark's book list on for transitioning to a sustainable society

Mark Diesendorf Why did Mark love this book?

What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens? Resilient Cities responds to these questions, revealing how resilient city characteristics have been achieved in communities around the world. A resilient city is one that uses renewable and distributed energy; has an efficient and regenerative metabolism; offers inclusive and healthy places; fosters biophilic and naturally adaptive systems; is invested in disaster preparedness; and is designed around efficient urban fabrics that allow for sustainable mobility. 

By Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, Heather Boyer

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Resilient Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens? Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer respond to these questions in the revised and updated edition of Resilient Cities. Since the first edition was published in 2009, interest in resilience has surged, in part due to increasingly frequent and deadly natural disasters, and in part due to the contribution of our cities to climate change. The number of…


Book cover of Energy Democracy: Germany's Energiewende to Renewables

Mark Diesendorf Author Of Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change

From my list on for transitioning to a sustainable society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was originally trained as a physicist, but the shock of discovering that my PhD thesis, on physical conditions in the solar interior, was being used to improve the design of hydrogen bombs, changed the direction of my research. I decided to do science in the public interest, instead of for the military and big business, and broadened into interdisciplinary research. Eventually, I became Professor of Environmental Science and Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Nowadays, I’m an honorary Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney, researching the energy transition, ecological economics and sustainable development. 

Mark's book list on for transitioning to a sustainable society

Mark Diesendorf Why did Mark love this book?

Energy Democracy is a history of Germany’s continuing energy transition, its Energiewende. It’s an inspiring case study of how German citizens got their government to support a policy that the public wanted: to transition from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewable energy. Energy Democracy gives me hope while faced with the situation in my own country, Australia, where the national government is working hand in glove with the fossil fuel industry to slow the transition, against the public wishes as expressed in numerous opinion polls. 

By Craig Morris, Arne Jungjohann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Energy Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book outlines how Germans convinced their politicians to pass laws allowing citizens to make their own energy, even when it hurt utility companies to do so. It traces the origins of the Energiewende movement in Germany from the Power Rebels of Schoenau to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's shutdown of eight nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. The authors explore how, by taking ownership of energy efficiency at a local level, community groups are key actors in the bottom-up fight against climate change. Individually, citizens might install solar panels on their roofs, but citizen groups can do…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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