Environmental Crises – Climate Change – Toxic Waste

Free online books about the environment and global warming. Includes climatology, environmental disasters, careers, conservation of natural resources, climate change, the BP oil spill, the green revolution, waste disposal, toxic chemical exposure, Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, pesticides, activism, water shortages, environmentalism, rainforests, the Arctic, hurricanes, restoration, and environment science textbooks and reference books.

Environmental Science, Engineering & Technology

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library


Environmental Science, Engineering & Technology

Environmental Sciences Collection

About 250 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Environmental Sciences.

Environmentalism Collection

More than 200 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Environmentalism.

Environmental Issues Collection

More than 800 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Environmental Issues”. Be patient as the page loads.

Climate Change Collection

About 730 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Climate Change”. Be patient as the page loads.

Global Warming Collection

About 330 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Global Warming”. Be patient as the page loads.

Conservation of Natural Resources Collection

About 800 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Conservation of Natural Resources”. Be patient as the page loads.

Environmental Degradation Collection

About 150 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Environmental Degradation.

Endangered Species Collection

About 400 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Endangered Species.

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Water Collection

About 1,500 books from the Internet Archive, free online on the subject of Water.

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Recycling Collection

About 160 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Recycling”. Be patient as the page loads.

Selected Articles about Environmental History

Sustainable Living Collection

About 120 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of Sustainable Living.

America’s Environmental Report Card: Are We Making the Grade?

America's Environmental Report Card Book Cover

Blatt, Harvey
MIT 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Frank but hopeful, serious but readable, this is an excellent environmental science primer.” -Pub Wkly

Silent Spring

Silent Spring Book Cover

Carson, Rachel
Houghton Mifflin 2002        Dewey Dec.    363.7

Originally published in 1962. “Carson contended that the indiscriminate use of weed killers and insecticides constituted a hazard to wildlife and human beings. Her provocative work inspired many subsequent environmental studies.” -Reader’s Ency

Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved

Cerveny, Randall S.
Prometheus 2009        Dewey Dec.    304

“Why did T-Rex become extinct? Why did the Mayan civilization disappear? If the ancient Israelis did indeed cross the Red Sea, as reported in the Bible, what weather phenomena might have produced the parting of the waters? Why was nearly all human life swept away 73,000 years ago? And what factors created the Great American Dustbowl of the 1930s?
The extraordinary people who are interested in asking–and answering–such questions are known as climatologists. In a lively narrative full of intriguing facts, award-winning, internationally known climatologist Randy Cerveny takes the reader on a fascinating tour of some of the world’s most perplexing and provocative climate mysteries, past and present. Cerveny explains the science of climate study–from digging ice cores in Antarctica to counting tree rings in Arizona–and the various specialists whose ingenious techniques help to sort out climate’s intricate components. He also delves into the human impact of weather through fictional introductions to each chapter that depict how climate change might have affected a typical inhabitant of the ancient Sahara or Indus Valley, a peasant during Europe’s “Little Ice Age,” or an aviation expert probing a deadly jet crash in New York City. Finally, he discusses research that attempts to forecast the weather of the next 10,000 years–essential information for planning the nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.” -Publisher

Environmental Disasters: a Chronicle of Individual, Industrial, and Governmental Carelessness

Davis, Lee
Facts on File 1998        Dewey Dec.    363.7

Chronicles nearly 100 environmental tragedies.

The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers in the 21st Century

Doyle, Kevin Lee et al.
Island 1999        Dewey Dec.    363.7

Introduction to environmental careers — Education and internships for your environmental career — The environmental job search — The planning profession — Environmental education and communication — Water quality management — Air quality management — Solid waste management — Hazardous waste management — Energy — Land and water conservation — Fishery and wildlife management — Parks and outdoor recreation — Forestry

Books on Science, Technology, Genetics

Selected Articles on the Conservation of Natural Resources

Selected Articles on the Conservation of Natural Resources Book Cover

Fanning, C. E., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1913         Dewey Dec.    333.7

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley

Faris, Stephan
Holt 2009        Dewey Dec.    304

“While reporting from Darfur, journalist Faris discovered that climate change was at the root of that conflict, and began to wonder what current and impending–and largely unanticipated–crises such changes have in store for the world. Here, he provides some answers. Global warming will spur the spread of many diseases. The warming world will shift huge populations and potentially redraw political alliances around the globe, driving environmentalists into the hands of anti-immigrant groups. America’s coasts are already more difficult places to live as increasing insurance rates make them prohibitively expensive. Crops will fail in previously lush places and thrive in some formerly barren zones, altering huge industries and remaking traditions. Water scarcity in India and Pakistan have the potential to inflame the conflict in Kashmir to unprecedented. Told through narratives of current, past, and future events, this is an eye-opening account of this most urgent issue.” -Publisher

Contents: Introduction — “Things will break loose from the hands of the wise men” : Darfur, scarcity, and conflict — “We’re the far country” : the Gulf Coast, warming waters, and the flight from paradise — “A spectacular bit of growth as times get hard” : Europe, migration, and political backlash — “At a new frontier” : Brazil, unsettled ecosystems, and disease — “Beautiful country” : the West Coast, hotter summers, and the grape harvest — “Everything is late in Churchill” : the Arctic, melting ice, and the new land grab — “An elemental kind of existential threat” : South Asia, disappearing glaciers, and regional catastrophe — Epilogue.

The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth

The Weather Makers Book Cover

Flannery, Tim
Atlantic Monthly 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“This work is distinctive in its marriage of science to an act-now attitude and should energize environmentally minded readers.” -Booklist

Blowout in the Gulf: The BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Future of Energy in America

Blowout in the Gulf Book Cover

Freudenburg, William R. and Gramling, Robert
MIT 2011        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The authors “set the deadly BP blowout within a technologically precise history of oil in America, from the first primitively constructed well on land to the development of offshore rigs, explaining that the Deepwater Horizon was actually a technical marvel – if only its operation hadn’t been compromised… Science, commerce, and the politics of oil are all newly illuminated here, accompanied by invaluable explanations of the risks of offshore drilling and a pragmatic look at the energy conundrums we now face.” -Booklist

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America

Hot, Flat and Crowded Book Cover

Friedman, Thomas L.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Friedman’s big, passionate, and solidly specific ecological primer, social manifesto, and realistic plan for a green revolution aimed at restoring America’s greatness and security a sustainable future should serve as a playbook for innovators and civic leaders.” -Booklist

Books on Electrical Engineering, Renewable Power, Energy Engineering

The Big Necessity; The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters

The Big Necessity Book Cover

George, Rose
Metropolitan 2008        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The author “breaks the embarrassed silence over the economic, political, social and environmental problems of human waste disposal … From the depths of the world’s oldest surviving urban sewers in to Japan’s rob-toilet revolution, George leads an intrepid, erudite and entertaining journey through the public consequences of this most private behavior.” -Pub Wkly

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

Our Choice Book Cover

Gore, Al
Rodale 2009        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The former Vice President addresses key environmental issues while profiling and evaluating possible solutions. It is “an inviting and momentous compendium of environmental discover … that addresses one of the greatest threats our species has encountered with intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and faith in human empowerment.” -Booklist

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

An Inconvenient Truth Book Cover

Gore, Al
Rodale 2006        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Gore has put together a coherent account of a complex topic that Americans desperately need to understand … By telling the story of climate change with striking clarity … Al Gore may have done for global warming what Silent Spring did for pesticides.” NY Rev Books

High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health

High Tech Trash Book Cover

Grossman, Elizabeth
Island 2006        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The author “traces the toxic substances (lead, mercury, phosphorus, brominated flame retardants, and others) used in digital devices, along with their health hazards… She has made a valiant effort to consolidate the information that general, nontechnical readers interested in the subject would find useful.” Sci Books Films

Hot: Living through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

Hertsgaard, Mark
Center Point 2011        Dewey Dec.    304

“For twenty years, Mark Hertsgaard has investigated global warming as a journalist, but the full truth did not hit home until he became a father and, soon thereafter, learned that climate change was bound to worsen for decades to come. Hertsgaard’s daughter is part of what he has dubbed “Generation Hot” — the two billion young people worldwide who will spend the rest of their lives coping with climate disruption. Drawing on reporting from around the world, Hot is a call to action that injects hope and solutions into a debate characterized by doom and gloom and offers a blueprint for how all of us – parents, communities, countries – can navigate an unavoidable new era.” -Publisher

Contents: Living through the storm — Three feet of water — My daughter’s Earth — Ask the climate question — The two-hundred-year plan — Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? — In vino veritas : the business of climate adaptation — How will we feed ourselves? — While the rich avert their eyes — “The was a crime”.

Books on Gardening, Farming, Forestry, Agriculture

Eco Barons: The New Heroes of Environmental Activism

Eco Barons Book Cover

Humes, Edward
Ecco 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“An eco baron is the opposite of a robber baron, using talent, gumption, and wealth not for personal gain but for environmental good … Humes brings a fluency in complex issues and a love of David-Goliath stories to this illuminating group portrait of embattled visionaries who ‘are showing the world that nature can be nurtured.'” -Booklist

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

Field Notes from a Catastrophe Book Cover

Kolbert, Elizabeth
Bloomsbury 2007        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“On the burgeoning shelf of cautionary but occasionally alarmist books warning about the consequences of dramatic climate change, Kolbert’s calmly persuasive reporting stands out for its sobering clarity.” Pub Wkly

Five Past Midnight in Bhopal: The Epic Story of the World’s Deadliest Industrial Disaster

Five Past Midnight in Bhopal Book Cover

Lapieree, Dominique and Moro, Javier
Warner 2003        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The authors relate “the story of Bhopal, India, where in 1984 16,000 to 30,000 people were killed and half a million maimed as the result of a deadly gas leak of methyl isocyanate from a Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing plants.” -America

Sacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States

Sacrifice Zones Book Cover

Lerner, Steve
MIT 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Lerner tells the stories of twelve communities, from Brooklyn to Pensacola, that rose up to fight the industries and military bases causing disproportionately high levels of chemical pollution. -Publisher

The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands and Indigenous Peoples Meet

Linden, Eugene
Viking 2011        Dewey Dec.    303

“A pioneering work of environmental journalism that vividly depicts the people, animals and landscapes on the front lines of change’s inexorable march. A species nearing extinction, a tribe losing centuries of knowledge, a tract of forest facing the first incursion of humans-how can we even begin to assess the cost of losing so much of our natural and cultural legacy? For forty years, environmental journalist and author Eugene Linden has traveled to the very sites where tradition, wildlands and the various forces of modernity collide. In The Ragged Edge of the World, he takes us from pygmy forests to the Antarctic to the world’s most pristine rainforest in the Congo to tell the story of the harm taking place-and the successful preservation efforts-in the world’s last wild places.” -Publisher

Contents: War and peace. Vietnam 1994 — Culture wars. An elusive butterfly in Borneo — New Guinea: the godsend of Cargo — New Guinea redux — Polynesia lost and found — Roads to ruin. Rapa Nui: the other side of the story — Bangui, Bayanga and Bouar — Equateur devolving — Apes at the brink. Travels with Jane — Listening to pygmies — the antipodes : the long reach of humanity. Unfreezing time — The Arctic — The hear wild. The wolf at the door — Survivors. The lost worlds of Cuba — Midway — In the forests it’s good to be a pygmy — Inner worlds : magic, practical and otherwise. Shamans, healers and experiences I can’t explain — Esotéricas.

Selected Articles about the History of Science & Technology

High Tide: The Truth about our Climate Crisis

High Tide Book Cover

Lynas, Mark
Picador 2004        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“In this groundbreaking book, the author revals the first evidence – painstaking collected over three years of traveling to far-flung corners of the globe – of how global warming is hitting people’s lives, not in the future, but in our world today. And in the process, Lynas gives us a stark warning about the even worse dangers that lie ahead if nothing is done.” -Publisher

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming

Storm World Book Cover

Mooney, Chris
Harcourt 2007        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“One of the leading science journalists and commentators working today, Chris Mooney delves into a red-hot debate in meteorology: whether the increasing ferocity of hurricanes is connected to global warming. In the wake of Katrina, Mooney follows the careers of leading scientists on either side of the argument through the 2006 hurricane season, tracing how the media, special interests, politics, and the weather itself have skewed and amplified what was already a fraught scientific debate.” – Publisher

Green Metropolis

Owen, David
Riverhead 2009        Dewey Dec.    304

“Upending the environmentalist viewpoint that urban areas are “anti-green,” New Yorker staff writer David Owen argues that sustainability is achieved in areas like New York City, while open space, backyard compost heaps, locavorism and high-tech gadgetry like solar panels and triple-paned windows are formulas for wasteful sprawl and green-washed consumerism. ” -Publisher

Contents: More like Manhattan — Liquid civilization — There and back — The great outdoors — Embodied efficiency — The shape of things to come.

The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth

The Climate War Book Cover

Pooley, Eric
Hyperion 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“A fascinating, well-researched, behind-the-scenes account of the political twists and turns and efforts of corporate bosses and climate activists. Pooley … puts a human face on the topic and writes a gripping account…” -Choice

Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West

Dead Pool Book Cover

Powell, James Lawrence
Univ. of California 2008        Dewey Dec.    363.6

“A well-written book about the management of the Colorado River and by simile, waters in the western U.S. in general. The last third of the book discusses the implications of global warming for the Colorado River and, in particular, the miscalculations of the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the amount of water available in the system under the predicted higher temperatures.” -Choice

Books on Companies and Industries

Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage

Gone Tomorrow Book Cover

Rogers, Heather
New Press 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.7

The author “analyzes the contents of America’s garbage and its disposal while also revealing the corporate strategies behind the disposable-goods explosion and assessing the ecological toll of our consumer habits.” -Booklist

Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World

Early Spring Book Cover

Seidl, Amy
Beacon 2009        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Seidl blends a well-researched environmental study with observations of small-town Vermont life, even as she reaches beyond New England by keeping her discussion of global warming artfully broadminded… At once deeply personal and solidly scientific, Seidl’s chronicle manages to be concerned without being cloying.” -Booklist

Dam! Water, Power, Politics, and Preservation in Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite National Park

Dam Book Cover

Simpson, John Warfield
Pantheon 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.6

The author “argues for the restoration of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley… Simpson’s research is exemplary, and he deftly explores this case study of the nexus of politics, business and the environment.” -Pub Wkly

Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment

Red Sky at Morning Book Cover

Speth, James Gustave
Yale Nota Bene 2005        Dewey Dec.    363.7

Speth presents an authoritative, trenchant analysis of the worsening global environmental crisis.” – Choice

Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth

Deep Future Book Cover

Stager, Curt
Dunne 2011        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“An exploration of the impact of climate change over geological time. A key point is that humanity has the ability to moderate the release of carbon, shaping the long-range impact on climate.” – Kirkus

Books on Sports, Outdoor Recreation

The Hot Topic: What We Can Do About Global Warming

The Hot Topic Book Cover

Walker, Gabrielle
Harcourt 2008        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“This is the best overview of global warming that this reviewer has read … What is most valuable about this book is that the text clearly explains to lay readers a very complex and highly controversial topic.” -Libr J.

When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind – or Destroy It

When a Billion Chinese Jump Book Cover

Watts, Jonathan
Scribner 2010        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Watts’s comprehensive, revealing study is eye-opening, not only for the way it illuminates how China’s population growth and rapid modernization affect the environment, but also for its exposure of the way Western waste contributes to the problem.” -Booklist

The Fate of Nature: Rediscovering our Ability to Rescue the Earth

Wohlforth, Charles P.
St. Martin’s 2010        Dewey Dec.    304

“”What capacity for good lies in the hidden depths of people?”
Starting with this question, award-winning author Charles Wohlforth sets forth on a wide-ranging exploration of our relationship with the world. InThe Fate of Nature, he draws on science, spirituality, history, economics, and personal stories to reveal answers about the future of that relationship. There is no better place to witness the highs and lows of our treatment of the natural world than the vast wilds, rocky coasts, and shifting settlements of Alaska. Since the first encounter between Captain Cook’s crew and the Alaskan Natives in 1778, there have been countless struggles between people who have had different plans for the region. Some have hoped to preserve Alaska as they found it, while others aimed to create something new in its place. Incidents such as theExxon Valdez oil spill may seem like cause for despair. In the face of such profound tragedies, Charles Wohlforth has found heartening developments in the science of human altruism. This new understanding of what causes humans to cooperate and act conscientiously may be the first step toward taking the actions necessary to preserve an environment that has already been altered drastically in our lifetime.
A clear-eyed, original work of research, reportage, and philosophical reflections,The Fate of Nature gives us a chance to change the way we think about our place in society and the world at large.” -Publisher

The Facts on File Dictionary of Environmental Science

Dictionary of Environmental Science Book Cover

Wyman, Bruce and Stevenson, L. Harold
Facts on File 2001        Dewey Dec.    363.7

“Contains more than 4,000 cross-referenced entries that reflect the great diversity of subjects that are relevant to the environmental field.” -Publisher

Introduction to Environmental Science

Zehnder, Caralyn and others
University System of Georgia 2018       

“Uses the basic principles of biology and earth science as a context for understanding environmental policies and resource management practices.” -Open Textbook Library Website

Century Past Library