In case you missed the Google Doodle, Earth Day is upon us and this year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” It’s been estimated that Earth Day is celebrated by over a billion people worldwide, making it the most widely celebrated secular holiday on, well, Earth.
Since 1970, the world has come together every 22nd of April with the aim of putting the spotlight on the environment and how we can be more sustainable. This Earth Day, we decided to look at the intersection between science, technology, and sustainability.
Cutover is a group of self-proclaimed bookworms — with a dedicated book club Slack channel to prove it! So, what better way to mark the observance than with a peek at what’s on our bookshelves! Here’s a look at just a few titles we’re getting lost in to mark the occasion:
AI in the Wild: Sustainability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (Peter Dauvergne)
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the global impact of using AI and how it’s being used around the world by large corporations, NGOs and start-ups to combat planetary issues. Taking a balanced approach, Dauvergne examines the potential benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence to advance global sustainability.
Brave Green World: How Science Can Save Our Planet (Claire Asher, Chris Forman)
Both scientists, Asher and Forman illustrate how we can harness cutting-edge biology and manufacturing to fight waste and pollution. The book digs into the concept of a “circular economy” of technology that can be produced efficiently — and disposed of sustainably. They raise the idea of a transformative, interconnected global system — dubbed the “synthernet” — that would connect us to materials, allowing us to recycle nearly everything, including our out-of-date smartphones and then building the latest “bio-smartphone” to order.
A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (Sir David Attenborough, Jonathan Hughes)
While not specifically tech-related, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the extraordinary work of naturalist and documentarian Sir David Attenborough and director-producer Jonnie Hughes. The aim of Earth Day is to promote climate literacy — and this book delivers a masterclass in accessible environmental communication. Not much of a bibliophile? Check out the documentary, where Attenborough reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime as a natural historian, as well as the devastating changes he’s seen in his 93 years.
There is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years (Mike Berners-Lee)
Most books about climate change can paint a grim picture, but Berners-Lee takes a different approach that’s full of practical and evidence-based guidance, including actionable lists of what individuals can do to help the planet. A thought-provoking exercise in self-awareness, it plots a course of action that is pragmatic and surprisingly, entertaining.
The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge (Matt Damon, Gary White)
White launched Water Partners International in 1991 with Damon forming the H20 Africa Foundation several years later in 2006. But after meeting at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2008, they joined forces to become what is now Water.org. Since then, more than 43 million lives have been changed with safe water and adequate sanitation in 11 countries as a result of their efforts. Released in March 2022, the authors share the challenges, successes, and failures they experienced in their mission, as well as how the global pandemic has further highlighted the need for access to safe water. The best part? All of the proceeds from the book will go to Water.org.
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (Paul Hawken)
A New York Times bestseller, Drawdown has synthesized research from thousands of studies to form and rank 100 of the most substantive solutions to reverse global warming. Featuring insights from an international coalition of over 250 researchers, scientists and policymakers, it’s accessible, inspiring and full of fascinating ideas. Each solution is presented in a two-page spread with photos, covering under-reported topics like peatland restoration and regenerative agriculture.
The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.” It’d be criminal to celebrate Earth Day without mentioning Dr. Suess’ classic picture book about sustainability and protecting the environment. Published in 1971, The Lorax teaches kids to treat the planet with kindness and is the perfect read or watch for any kid — or kid at heart — who’s interested in environmental advocacy.
All of the books above can be found on your public library app or in your local branch. Also, check out the Earth Day site to learn more about the history of the movement (and maybe throw a few bucks their way to keep it going).
We suggest you grab a lawn chair and head outdoors to *leaf* through one (or all of these) books — on Earth Day and beyond. Happy reading!