To celebrate Earth Day, we asked our staff for books recommendations that have influenced them, or their thinking, when it comes to the environment or climate change. We received a variety of submissions, and are sharing 10 with you today, in no particular order.
Christine Owens, BayWa r.e. Solar Systems’ VP of Marketing, was studying journalism and political science at The George Washington University in 1988 when a news event caught her attention. “Hundreds of scientists and policymakers from around the world gathered to discuss the changing atmosphere and its implications. It was in this wake that then-Senator Al Gore began work on his book Earth in the Balance, which published in 1992. By then, I was working on the campaign and had the opportunity to have my copy of the book signed by him. Gore was ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of environmental policy and the looming negative impacts of climate change. More than 25 years later, much of the content is still very timely and relevant.”
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, inspired Marco Piana, head of engineering on our BayWa r.e. Solar Projects team, for “humankind’s ability to manage nature’s challenges while also showing that thin line that can’t be crossed without creating a disastrous condition.” The book enabled Marco to understand that it’s OK to step back while working toward a big goal, because sometimes “it actually helps you arrive to the finish line faster.”
Aaron Bingham, a product manager at BayWa r.e. Solar Systems, reached back to a childhood favorite, citing The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. “It’s a good introduction to the concept that one can and should leave the world better than they found it so that future generations don’t have to wallow in our trash. It played a fundamental role in establishing my core environmental values: indulge in nature, clean up after yourself (and others) and don’t be wasteful. I do small things, like pick up a few pieces of trash, when I visit parks, in homage to The Lorax.”
Like many of us, Genevieve Ann Moen, a regional sales manager on our BayWa r.e. Solar Systems team, read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden as a teen. She found Thoreau’s quest for connection with nature helped her form her own personal connection with nature… “not just appreciating it but forming a working relationship with it.” She continues to live in awe of nature and aims to be “a fearless explorer of my world.”
Genevieve shared a favorite quote from the book: “We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Martin Hussey, a business developer at BayWa r.e. Solar Projects, was not inspired by his book recommendation, but rather, disgusted. “The Big Necessity by Rose George discussed wastewater treatment, sewage, and its impact on our infrastructure and our environment. It was frank and open about a topic no one wants to discuss, and the negative impacts of ignoring it on our infrastructure and environment.” The book inspired Martin to invest in a bidet and say goodbye to toilet paper. He added, “The book has lessons for the energy sector; cities have ignored their water infrastructure and water treatment systems in a similar way that the energy sector has been largely ignored prior to the renewable revolution.”
The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken led one colleague to commit to an ecology major in college. BayWa r.e. Solar Systems’ director of homebuilder services, Jonah Liebes, was undecided on what to study when he read this book. “The dire picture described early in the book is balanced with a vision for a more sustainable economy, and it played a role in my decision to dedicate my career to environmental sustainability.”
Hawken’s name came up again with two co-authors for the book Natural Capitalism, as suggested by Roberta Connors, BayWa r.e. Solar Projects’ VP of Administration. “It explains that we don’t have to forego capitalism or profit in order to be sustainable in our business practices.”
We received two submissions from our director of estimation on the BayWa r.e. Solar Projects team, Drew Corrao. Both of his recommendations were books written by Thomas Friedman. “I read Hot, Flat, and Crowded after I graduated college and before moving into the solar industry. It solidified my career path in renewable energy, and it inspired me to be conscious of my footprint, both in actions and dialogue. Thank You for Being Late is another excellent book on globalization and has many interweaving narratives on how climate and globalization are linked.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson was suggested by Misty Chioffe, head of marketing at BayWa r.e. USA, who shared how the book “was an amazing catalog of human scientific discovery and understanding, and it impresses upon you the fact that we’re incredibly lucky to be alive, to be on this planet and to be able to do the things we do as a species.” She added, “The end of the book really explores extinction of countless species and how that is likely very related to human behaviors. It impressed upon me that we have the ability to change our impact, and in fact, we are the only species that has this capability. We are entrusted with the wellbeing of life on this planet; we have a responsibility to take care of the only environment we know of that has produced life.”