STARRED REVIEW
April 2020

A down-to-earth approach to environmentalism

Feature by
Celebrate Earth Day with two books that remind us of our own power to honor, protect and save our threatened planet.
STARRED REVIEW
April 2020

A down-to-earth approach to environmentalism

Feature by
Celebrate Earth Day with two books that remind us of our own power to honor, protect and save our threatened planet.
April 2020

A down-to-earth approach to environmentalism

Feature by
Celebrate Earth Day with two books that remind us of our own power to honor, protect and save our threatened planet.
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The perilous state of our planet is a grim subject that often makes us feel powerless. Is it even possible as an individual to mount much of a defense against such a complex global threat? Two books help cut through the anxieties of climate change and suggest a place to start.

In The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac urge readers to push back against overwhelmed, hopeless mindsets. Far from ill-informed but earnest optimists, the authors led negotiations for the United Nations during the Paris Agreement of 2015 and are the co-founders of Global Optimism, working to incite environmental change from the personal level and extending globally. Their book is indeed a manifesto, but an elegant and hopeful one that acknowledges difficult realities while refusing to sink beneath them. They present a faultless argument supported by hard science and, alongside it, paint mesmerizing images of a potential future—reforested cities, shaded and carless streets, skyscrapers trailing vines and wall gardens, and neighbors who come together to grow food and share resources.

Equally appealing is their argument that, far from an austere world where we miss the extravagances of our past, a clean future would not only be healthy for the planet but would also provide mental and physical advantages for human beings. Greater community, better health through more exposure to the beauty of nature and more flexibility for spending time with loved ones are all benefits of their vision of a new society.

Chief among the benefits Figueres and Rivett-Carnac foresee for us is better health through better eating, and in How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet, Sophie Egan takes a deeper look at the personal and global effects of ethical eating. While acknowledging that individual effort on a collective level creates large-scale change, Egan opts to address her reader one-on-one. A food writer for publications such as Bon Appétit and the Washington Post, she understands the tension between wanting to do what’s right and wanting to preserve what food often means to us. Therefore, she doesn’t guilt readers or hold them to unrealistic standards. With illustrations and a conversational voice, Egan takes note of the many ethical issues associated with the food industry and then lays out the options available to us to improve them.

Though we might think of dedicated ethical eaters as belonging to the ranks of ultra-healthy, well-moneyed vegans—those with resources to burn at the co-op and untold willpower—Egan’s common-sense tone makes eating according to our values an accessible and relatively stress-free realm for everyone.

The Future We Choose
By Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac
Knopf

ISBN 9780525658351

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Get the Books

The Future We Choose

The Future We Choose

By Christiana Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac
Knopf
ISBN 9780525658351
How to Be a Conscious Eater

How to Be a Conscious Eater

By Sophie Egan
Workman
ISBN 9781523507382

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