As the lazy days of summer come to an end, Conservation International staff are spending their free time with their favorite books. Here are four picks they can’t put down.
1. “Brilliant Green” by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola
“We underestimate plants and their intelligence. This book shows surprising plant capabilities, such as responding to external signals, remembering, sleeping and communicating between them. We have been learning so much from plants, from developing networks to technological innovations and new materials. Understanding how plants live and solve problems can inspire solutions to some of the challenges our society are facing too.”
— Giacomo Fedele, climate change adaptation fellow
2. “Kon-Tiki” by Thor Heyerdahl
“The author is a scientist who wrote this book about his journey from Peru to Polynesia to prove that the Pacific Islands could have been settled by people from South America. He’s not a marine biologist, but it’s an incredible adventure and his descriptions of the ocean life he encountered in the 1950’s make you realize how much we still don’t know, and how much has probably changed in a relatively short time in our oceans.”
— Kellee Koenig, Geographic Information System manager, cartographer
3. “Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio
“While on the surface the book is about corporate management principles, Ray Dalio also discusses ‘life’ principles which struck me as surprisingly environmental. I work on climate change and the last thing I was expecting in a book about management was nature. It emphasizes that we should look to nature to understand how the world works. Dalio explains how looking at just one species (even humans) gives us an incomplete picture of the system. Behavior that is in alignment with the laws of nature is rewarded — and the opposite is also true. Acting on climate change is better for the planet and in turn, for us.”
— Shyla Raghav, climate change lead
4. “The Future Eaters” by Tim Flannery
“This book was important to me personally — as an Aussie — as it taught me the ecological history of where I grew up. The narrative covers the environments of several islands as they evolve from being inhabited by dinosaurs, to being settled by humans and, eventually, industrialized. In Australia, we take our unique environment for granted and by learning about the long history and unique conditions that led to the very special ecology, it helped me understand the fragility of our ecosystems and how critical it is that we protect them.”
— Emily Pidgeon, director of marine climate change program
Jessica Pink is an editorial intern for Conservation International.