With Christmas just around the corner and the ending of a year and a decade within reach, it is time to look at some of the science books that hit the shelfs in 2019. For me personally, I would like to share some books that have been highly influential in my work and that also got some deserved attention. Some, I already recommended to our summer reading list, but they are still highly valued reading as the issue of climate change has only become more important with the UN meetings on climate change and the only intensified climate protesting.
First up is a book that was recently released and comes in a conflicting time when science is under attack. This is especially visible in the discussions surround global warming and climate change and when it comes to vaccines. It is here Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard University, not just offers a bold and compelling defense of science, she also contribute with an important message that if scientists would talk more personally about their values, it would help turn back the creeping tide of anti-science sentiment. Oreskes may be best known for writing the groundbreaking Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Why Trust Science is kind of a consequence of this book and an important successor taking the discussion one step further. When releasing the book, Naomi Oreskes was interviewed by, amongst others, The Guardian and The New York Review of Books that I strongly can recommend.
My second book is also connected to the climate crisis. With the 1989’s The End of Nature, Bill McKibben was among the first to alert the public to climate change. With this book he put the limelight on what was really going on and it is still an important contribution in today’s discussion on the climate crisis. With his latest book, Bill broadens discussion and come with a dire warning, that basically the entire human game has begun to play itself out. Voted one of the best books of 2019 by many news outlets, this is a highly recommended read when we enter a new decade where carbon emission need to start falling and fall fast. 2020 will be a pivotal year and a good way to get ready is by start reading this book.
Connecting to the time frame from where Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature and today’s Falter is Nathaniel Rich’s Losing Earth. The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to groundbreaking chronicle here expanded into book form. Here, Nathaniel Rich tells the human story of climate change and how it could be averted thirty years ago. The book reveals in detail the birth of climate denialism and the fossil fuel industry’s coordinated effort to hinder climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. Emphasizing on the lives of the people who wrestled with the great existential threat of our age, the reader is guided through a political drama with politicians failing its citizens through inaction. And although frustrating to know how close we were to actually do something while time was on our side, the book also gives inspiration for the need to take immediate action today. Together with The Uninhabitable Earth, Losing Earth was wonderfully jointly reviewed in the New York Times in April.
Expanding on his article in New York Magazine on climate change that went viral two years ago, David Wallace-Wells paints a grim picture of the climate crisis awaiting us in there form of collapsing ice sheets, water scarcity, food shortages, extreme heat waves that will burn longer and more. His conclusion? That it is worse, much worse, than what we think and that we must act now. A must-read to get some sense of what’s going on and what to do. Especially, since much of these changes are already here and that we need to prepare and adapt for further distortions.
Other news outlets have already published their books list and the 10 best books of 2019 according to the Washington Post is highly recommended, but also the best science books of 2019 by Barbara Kiser, Books & Arts Editor at Nature, The Best Science Books of 2019
Finally, I would like to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas with lots of reading. Please share your own best books of the year, either by commenting or by writing a post of your own.