2021 has been a great year for us putting trees in the ground, and it has also been a fantastic year for absorbing knowledge and being inspired and engaged by so many fantastic authors writing about reforestation, climate change and topics relating to how was as humans are dealing with this challenge. We’d love to see this list as recommendations for gifts or to read yourself. A group of Land Lifers have chosen their favorites and explained why, so I hope you find something you can curl up by the fire with and enjoy over the festive season!
De meeste mensen deugen by Rutger Bregman (in English: ” Humankind: A Hopeful History” )
Ralph van Krimpen, Software Engineer: “It’s a great book about how people’s intentions aren’t always as bad as they are portrayed in the news and history books. It puts many historical “facts” into a new, more positive, light. Not directly related to trees, although it includes a chapter on what the author thinks is a more realistic view on the deforestation of Easter Island.”
How to avoid a climate disaster by Bill Gates
Carlo Wesseling, Head of Partnerships: “It is a bit of a dry read at times but it gives an excellent overview and breakdown of the problem into segments (e.g. transport, making stuff, etc.). Describing the current solutions within that segment and the innovations still needed in that segment. He also describes the best role government and private organizations could play to implement solutions and invest in innovations. Very informative and broadening of your perspective on the topic.”
Hidden Life of Trees from Peter Wohlleben
Josephine Haas, Resilience Engineer: “Super interesting and fun book about how trees communicate through the ‘Wood Wide Web’ and the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi – nice read for anyone, no ecological background needed!”
Tree Story by Dr. Valerie Trouet
Tjeerd Anema, CFO:” A fascinating book full of stories that trees – dead and alive – tell us. Combining science and adventure, Dr. Trouet introduces us to the field of dendrochronology in a very accessible and entertaining way. She recounts field trips in search of age-old trees across the continents and how these form the basis for making a link to wood found in even older structures. She uses the insights gained from studying the tree-rings to explain a wide range of historical events and gives an insight into global climate dynamics. Well worth the read!”
Climate: A New Story by Charles Eisenstein.
Sophia Collis, Natural Climate Solutions Analyst: “The author presents unique ways in which to view the climate crisis and our relationship with the natural world. He reimagines conventional narratives that we consciously and unconsciously employ when contemplating and addressing environmental issues. Something that really struck me was the way he describes our society’s tendency to “control”, “fight” and “crusade” against complex issues alongside calls to action using aggressive, war-like language— from “combating/tackling” climate change, to the “war on terrorism/drugs” and recently to “beating” coronavirus and the war on death (https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/the-coronation/, March 2020). This kind of thinking and language creates and reinforces binaries by creating “us vs. them” mentalities that demonize a chosen enemy or outsider, instead of illuminating these issues as perhaps stemming from within ourselves.”
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures’ by Merlin Sheldrake.
Marco van der Heijden, Data Scientist: “I’m building forth on Josephine’s Wood Wide Web. Looking beyond our love for trees, there is a kingdom that connects all life on this planet and can be found everywhere in many forms. Entangled Life gives us a glimpse of how fungi operate and how they can possibly help us in our mutual mission for nature restoration.”
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Anne-Claire Vernede, Customer Success Manager: “A classic and real page-turner in my opinion. Yuval Noah Harari walks you through the history of humankind and how we evolved to where we are today. Not only does he describe our journey but also shares his perspective on the implications of this evolution and how it impacts the world around us. For example in the passage below, he shares how our evolution differed from other wildlife and the impact it has on ecosystems.”
Winners take all – The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
Willemijn Stoffels, COO: “A very interesting and critical perspective on how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. It made me reflect on the way I look at the role of different parties “doing good” in the world and how we are all aiming to do this without allowing it to change our own living standards or position in society. Why paying taxes might be the fairest way of any type of philanthropy and other interesting perspectives on the road to fighting inequality.”
Green Ideas Penguin Slipcase, Various Authors
Kat Milligan, Communications Manager: “This slipcase allows you to taste information from many short books focusing on very specific areas of climate change and the effect it is having on the world. From Naomi Klein’s “Hot Money”, to Greta Thunberg’s “No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference” to Aldo Leopold’s “Think Like a Mountain”, this series captures so many different insights and understandings of what climate change actually means and how we must approach it. Highly recommend.”