Books To Help You Love And Respect Nature Even More: Part One

By Natalie Montanaro

How does nature affect the human condition? How does it affect how we feel about ourselves, our fragile environment, and our future on earth? These books, which celebrate the healing power and spiritual oneness that nature can provide, help to answer these questions. Does nature offer us a refuge, or do we need to understand it more in order to reap its benefits? Do we coexist only as tenants of the land or is there something more to give so that we may honor it?

As children, nature is a wonder. As adults, sometimes we ignore the magic that the ecological world holds for us. Learn more about how our environment influences us with this short list of great reads that will take you back to nature and into the realm of self-awareness and the mindset of a sustainable life for us and our planet.  

Love Letter To The Earth, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Nature should not be thought of as separate and apart from our daily lives, writes Thich Nhat Hanh. He strives to help us acquire a spiritual mindset regarding the vastness and complexity of nature, and to acknowledge that our thinking must consider the positive reciprocity which occurs every time we interact with it. The book helps us try to understand that humans and nature need each other to survive.

Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays on Healing in Wilderness, by Thomas Lowe Fleischner

Fleischer’s compilation of essays by 23 very different authors, looks at their relationships with nature. It helps to widen the reader’s viewpoint and makes us consider how our actions and reactions to nature shape our thoughts and, consequently, our communities. The physical, psychological, and sociological aspects of change, by way of bonding with and respecting nature, are outlined and the natural history, which begs us to look, listen, and appreciate our surroundings each day, is thus reinforced.

The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben

The first in a trilogy to be completed in 2019, The Hidden Life of Trees, is from international best-selling author, Peter Wohlleben. A woodsman who has spent much of his life studying the forest and how it lives and breathes as its own entity, Wohlleben urges us to think of trees as a familial group and not as free agents within the space of the wilderness. To him, trees can teach us much about caring for each other, building strength in numbers, sharing resources, and ultimately enlighten us to how the cycle of birth, life, and death evolves from generation to generation.  

The Dream of the Earth, by Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry’s goal is to educate on the health of the earth and suggest ways in which to recondition ourselves to the needs and necessities of our earthly home. As a seasoned environmentalist, he draws on the writings of Greek and Asian philosophers, physicists, Native Americans, and economists to illustrate how the destruction of the planet’s resources and gift-giving ecosystems is inevitable, unless ethics and research work together to mitigate what could be its ecological destruction at the hands of society. Awareness, coupled with creativity and compassion, are key elements of his views which offer insights as to how we can change our own perspectives for the better.

Love Earth Now: The Power of Doing One Thing Every Day, by Cheryl Leutjen

Practical and easy to digest, Leutjen’s book on how to be a changemaker (even if you think you can’t be) is jam-packed with tips and instruction on how to contribute to the climate and environment in a positive way instead of looking on as a bystander, or even worse, being an agent of negative impact. From composting to footprints to water-saving ideas that everyone can use, Leutjen knows that the little things are what make a difference. Her focus on simple but effective solutions through innovative ideas and suggestions is geared to busy, results-oriented people. In reading this book, she encourages all of us to get involved and take responsibility for preserving and protecting what the earth has given us.