Academic, Culture & Community

EarthxReads: Wildlife

If you like to live on the wild side, or simply enjoy learning more about some of the amazing species that live with us here on Earth, check out our wildlife reading list! Here are 5 books that touch on different animal experiences and environments, and the way that humans and wildlife can peacefully and interdependently coexist.

Rewilding Our Hearts by Marc Bekoff

“In wildlife conservation, rewilding refers to restoring habitats and creating corridors between preserved lands to allow declining populations to rebound. Marc Bekoff, one of the world’s leading animal experts and activists, here applies rewilding to human attitudes. Rewilding Our Hearts invites readers to do the essential work of becoming reenchanted with the world, acting from the inside out, and dissolving false boundaries to truly connect with both nature and themselves.”

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Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina

“Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest. Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.”

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Future Arctic by Struzik

“In one hundred years, or even fifty, the Arctic will look dramatically different than it does today. As polar ice retreats and animals and plants migrate northward, the Arctic landscape is morphing into something new and very different from what it once was. While these changes may seem remote, they will have a profound impact on a host of global issues, from international politics to animal migrations. In Future Arctic, journalist and explorer Edward Struzik offers a clear-eyed look at the rapidly shifting dynamics in the Arctic region, a harbinger of changes that will reverberate throughout our entire world.

Future Arctic reveals the inside story of how politics and climate change are altering the polar world in a way that will have profound effects on economics, culture, and the environment as we know it. With help, Struzik begins piecing together an environmental puzzle: How might the land’s most iconic species—caribou, polar bears, narwhal—survive? Where will migrating birds flock to? How will ocean currents shift? What fundamental changes will oil and gas exploration have on economies and ecosystems? How will vast unclaimed regions of the Arctic be divided?”

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Wild Horse Country by David Philipps

“The wild horse is so ingrained in the American imagination that even those who have never seen one know what it stands for: fierce independence, unbridled freedom, the bedrock ideals of the nation. In Wild Horse Country, New York Times reporter David Philipps traces the rich history of wild horses in America and investigates the shocking dilemma they face in our own time. Philipps explores how wild horses became so central to America’s sense of itself, and reveals the wild horse’s current crisis, with tens of thousands of horses being held in captivity by the federal government, and free horses caught between the clashing ideals of ranchers, animal rights activists, scientists, and government officials. Wild Horse Countryis a powerful blend of history and contemporary reporting that vividly reveals the majesty and plight of an American icon, while pointing a way forward that will preserve this icon for future generations.” 

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Inheritors of the Earth by Chris D. Thomas

“Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn’t all bad. It’s accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth–we’re also helping nature grow and change. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.”

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