Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the modern environmental movement, a campaign we celebrate each year on Earth Day.

One of the largest secular observances across the globe, Earth Day is recognized by more than a billion people as a day to think critically about the environmental impact of human behavior and establish positive changes in both action and policy. 

Our beautiful planet is home to millions of species. The flora and fauna here are unlike anything else in the observed universe. So, while we’re making smart decisions to help protect Earth, let’s take the time to appreciate all the natural beauty, wonder and mysteries this planet has to offer.

Here a nine perfect nature-loving and environmentally friendly reads to help you celebrate Earth Day’s golden anniversary:

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane

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Robert Macfarlane delivers an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Traveling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time — from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come — Underland (W.W. Norton & Company) takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Global in its geography and written with great lyricism, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.

The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer

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On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffery Lendrum, was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales. So begins The Falcon Thief (Simon & Schuster), a tale almost too bizarre to believe of a reckless, arrogant man, gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure — and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal
by Naomi Klein

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For more than twenty years, Naomi Klein has been the foremost chronicler of the economic war waged on both people and planet — and an unapologetic champion of a sweeping environmental agenda with justice at its center. The long-form essays in On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (Simon & Schuster) show Klein at her most prophetic and philosophical, investigating the climate crisis not only as a profound political challenge but also as a spiritual and imaginative one.

In lucid, elegant dispatches from the frontlines of contemporary natural disaster, she pens surging, indispensable essays for a wide public: prescient advisories and dire warnings of what future awaits us if we refuse to act, as well as hopeful glimpses of a far better future.

The Story of More by Hope Jahren

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Award-winning scientist Hope Jahren illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming and the actions that we all can take to fight back. The Story of More (Vintage Books) is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.

The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at
the Tower of London
by Christopher Skaife

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The ravens at the Tower of London are of mighty importance: rumor has it that if a raven from the Tower should ever leave, the city will fall. So, the title of Ravenmaster, therefore, is a serious one indeed. In The Ravenmaster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife lets us in on his life as he ensures that these unusual, misunderstood, and utterly brilliant corvids are healthy, happy, and ready to captivate the four million tourists who flock to the Tower every year. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower’s true guardians really are – and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.

The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand

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For thousands of years myth and folklore have celebrated the cunning intelligence of the fox. British ecologist Adele Brand, who has studied foxes for twenty years across four continents, takes her readers on a journey to discover the surprising secrets of the fabled fox, the familiar yet enigmatic creature that has adapted to the human world with astonishing — some say, unsettling — success. Blending cutting-edge science, cultural anthropology and intimate personal storytelling drawn from her own remarkable fieldwork, The Hidden World of the Fox (William Morrow) is Brand’s rich and revelatory portrait of the extraordinary animal she has devoted her life to understanding.

Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love,
and the Hidden Order of Life
by Lulu Miller

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David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake — which sent more than a thousand of his discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life’s work was shattered.

When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool — a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don’t Exist (Simon & Schuster) reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

My Penguin Year by Lindsay McCrae

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A miracle occurs each winter in Antarctica. As temperatures plummet 60° below zero and the sea around the remote southern continent freezes, emperors — the largest of all penguins — begin marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. For 337 days, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae intimately followed 11,000 emperor penguins amid the singular beauty of Antarctica. My Penguin Year (William Morrow) is his masterful chronicle of one penguin colony’s astonishing journey of life, death, and rebirth — and of the extraordinary human experience of living amongst them in the planet’s harshest environment.

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
by Greta Thunberg

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In 2018, fifteen-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg chose not to attend school in protest of the climate crisis. This one Swedish girl’s actions sparked a global movement and earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference (Penguin) is a collection of her speeches, a rallying cry for the citizens of the world to pay attention and fight for our planet. Her words have inspired millions to take action and forced governments to listen, proving to the global stage once and for all that no one is too small to make a difference.

To learn more about Earth Day, visit earthday.org