Check out Al Gore’s “Sequel” plus books about birds, disasters and pollution.

reading books outdoors

Ah, July…the perfect time of year for reading on the beach, or in the woods, or in the comfort of your own home. This month will see the publication of quite a few new environmentally themed books, making it the perfect time not just for escapism but also a bit of enlightenment. Here are our top seven picks for the month.

inconveninent sequel“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” by Al Gore.

Yes, the former Vice President and perpetual client advocate is back with his much-needed follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth. This heavily illustrated book accompanies the new documentary of the same name and serves as a “call to action, exposing the reality of how humankind has aided in the destruction of our planet and groundbreaking information on what you can do now.” (July 25, Rodale Books, $25.99)

woolly“Woolly: The True Story of the De-extinction of One of History’s Most Iconic Creatures” by Ben Mezrich

It’s nonfiction that reads like science fiction. If you haven’t heard of de-extinction, it’s the scientific effort to resurrect long-gone species such as the passenger pigeon and woolly mammoth. Yes, just like Jurassic Park only real. Can it be done? Should it? Read the book and find out. (July 4, Atria Books, $26)

junk raft cover“Junk Raft” by Marcus Eriksen

How do you call attention to the problem of plastic pollution? Eriksen and Joel Paschal did it by collecting a ton of that plastic junk, strapping it together into the form of a raft, and then sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Yikes. Look for our interview with Eriksen this Wednesday. (Beacon Press, July 4, $26.95)

natural catastrophe“Natural Catastrophe Risk Management and Modelling: A Practitioner’s Guide” by Kirsten Mitchell-Wallace, Matthew Jones, John Hillier & Matthew Foote

Okay, this might not exactly be beach reading, but it seems like a pretty important book for the people who need to deal with disasters caused by, as the publisher puts it, “both natural and anthropogenic sources.” If that’s you, check it out. (July 5, Wiley, $110)

white man's game“White Man’s Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden, and Other Myths of Conservation in Africa” by Stephanie Hanes

Does Western-style philanthropy always benefit conservation? Hanes looks at the history of conservation in Africa to find quite a few examples where we did at least as much harm as good. This will definitely inspire some conversations. (Metropolitan Books, July 11, $28)

uncertain future“An Uncertain Future: Australian Birdlife in Danger” by Geoffrey Maslen

The author of “Too Late: How We Lost the Battle with Climate Change” returns with an equally depressing look at the fate of Australia’s rapidly disappearing bird species. This book serves as both a warning sign and a call to action: As Maslen writes, “In saving Earth for birds, remember, we will be saving all other life forms as well. And that includes us.” (This is only in print in Australia but it’s available on Kindle and other e-platforms.) (July 1, Hardie Grant Books, $37.99)

wasteland“Wasteland Compendium Vol. 1” by Antony Johnston and various artists

Let’s end with something fun: a 700-page compilation of the Wasteland comic book series, set a century after an apocalyptic event that society only remembers as “the Big Wet.” Environmental fiction at its finest — and weirdest. (July 26, Oni Press, $39.99)

Well, that’s it for our list this month. What are you reading? Share your new or old favorites in the comments below.

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John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.