The sunny days of summer are quickly approaching — and Conservation International staff are spending some free time with their favorite books. Here’s what they’re saying about the books they can’t put down.
1. “Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver” by Jill Heinerth
With uncommon curiosity and unflashy prose, a trailblazing diver tows readers through vast Yucatan cave systems, gator-infested springs and iceberg tunnels — environs where every decision, no matter how small, can turn fatal. Heinerth doesn't waste time dwelling on the "why" of it all; we all understand, on a visceral level, that these risks are unjustifiable. Instead, the author offers a far more interesting window into the human psyche through her ever-fraying personal relationships.
“Into the Planet” is a great beach read if you find strange comfort in your own mortality, and a great gift if you hope to subtly dissuade a loved one from ever stepping foot in a cave.
— Matt Ribel, executive writer
2. “Net Positive” by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston
Through inspiring examples of leadership and thought-provoking lessons, this book explores how brands and businesses can have a positive impact on society and the natural world. It demonstrates that through a long-term, outside-in approach, sustainability can help the planet and drive business success. Polman and Winston’s book serves as a great primer on how working toward solving some of the world’s most complicated problems brings out the best in humanity, driving creativity and innovation, and building collaboration across industries. Anyone seeking to understand how to create transformational change should read this book.
— Naomi Taylor, communications and development manager for Conservation International Europe
3. “Speed & Scale” by John Doerr
“Speed & Scale” summarizes the ways to address the climate crisis — while emphasizing the urgency of action required from everyone. Written in business terms, it provides companies with solutions that are described in their own language and format. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with corporate leaders who share their approaches to confronting the climate crisis and their stance on what we need to do as society overall. The chapter on financial risks associated with climate change is moving — and Doerr covers it well from his investor perspective.
— Oksana Korotka, manager, corporate climate solutions
4. "The Ministry for the Future" by Kim Stanley Robinson
I love Kim Stanley Robinson's "hard" sci-fi novels, where he writes in a very well-researched way on subjects like transforming inhospitable planets, like Mars, into livable ones. What makes his writing so special is how he is able to combine social, economic and environmental systems to envision a new world or society in the future, all the while remaining grounded in current social theories. In “The Ministry for the Future” he applies this skill to envisioning life on Earth in the somewhat near future, writing eloquently on the messy social, economic and environmental changes required for us to transition to a world that is sustainable for life on Earth for centuries to come.
— Rikesh Patel, director, conservation finance
5. “Bicycling with Butterflies” by Sara Dykman
For the adventurous type or a fellow lover of the monarch butterfly, this book takes you on a journey from Mexico to Canada and back to follow monarch butterflies on their annual migration. It’s the true story of a young woman traveling by bike; she shares her struggles, successes and funny bits along the way, as well as a wealth of knowledge about the butterfly species.
— Elise Harrigan, director, partner marketing
Cover image: Sea lions in the Galapagos (© Rod Mast)