Looking for a good book to hit the beach with this summer? Staff at The Nature Conservancy have reviewed some of the latest non-fiction releases on the environment—from water conservation and ocean management to trendier topics like hunting your own food and how environmental economics can save the planet.
Check out these 5 books this summer and catch up on your environmental reading. Note: these books won’t leave you snoozing in the sun!
Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know by Ray Hilborn, with Ulrike Hilborn
Put plainly, this is the best book on a “conservation topic” I have read, ever. Why? It is wonderfully unpretentious, authoritative, engagingly written, concise and easy to read. I wish someone would turn this into a series: “Deforestation: What Everyone Needs to Know,” “Green Infrastructure: What Everyone Needs to Know,” “Climate Stress and Extreme Weather: What Everyone Needs to Know,” “Payments for Ecosystem Services…” you get my point.
Sadly, there are too few Ray Hilborns in our world. Ray has worked on fisheries for 30+ years. He is analytical and skilled at modeling and understanding the ways statistics and data can be abused. He is fearless and unconcerned with political correctness. He is a terrific writer. But most of all, he is a Zen master of his topic: fisheries. You need depth and wisdom to reduce a complex topic to 130 pages of crystal clear thinking and information. The rest of us experts write long books filled with jargon and non-essential information to cover up for our lack of true insight. Every person who is in any way concerned with or working with fisheries needs to read this book.
I want to offer a few quotes from the book to capture its flavor:
“But it is good to keep in mind that the standards we have set for maintaining biodiversity in fisheries management by groups advising consumers are much higher than the standards we have set for agriculture.”
And: “Fisheries should be a source of great wealth to all coastal countries as they are already in Iceland, Norway and New Zealand. It is truly sad to see so many countries squandering potential wealth of their fisheries through excess capacity and over-harvesting.”
—Reviewed by Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy