We may be incredibly pessimistic about the direction our country is headed at the moment, but so were many residents back in the last days of Manifest Destiny, when Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden. (If you’re angry with President Obama, think about having Franklin Pierce as the commander-in-chief. That New Hampshire pretty boy came out in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, for chrissakes.) The titles below are books that changed the way we see the environment and the world at large, whether it was during the tumultuous political situation in the mid-1800s or today, where people are still arguing with each other about whether global warming actually exists. Some of these books changed laws, and all served (and continue to serve) as the Cassandras of our time. So happy Earth Day, everyone! Grab a book and get informed about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and what you can do about it.
Even though the release date is May 10th, we decide to include Seth Fletcher’s new book because it’s such an important topic. He details the political and technological obstacles to making electric cars more popular and affordable while debunking the idea of “Peak Lithium.” Fletcher examines the rare earth elements that will fuel our future, using accessible language to explain complex scientific concepts. In the meantime, you can read Fletcher’s “Bottled Lightning” posts on Popular Science here.