a book shelf filled with lots of books

Water We Reading? Staff Picks from BWB’s Library

The holidays are a wonderful time to sit back, relax, and explore new topics! If you’re looking to expand your perspective on forest conservation, adopt zero waste practices at home, or enrich your vision for our sustainable future look no further…this list is for you! We hope you’ll love these environmentally-focused book as much as we do. Are you ready to be inspired? Here are some recommendations straight from Blue Water Baltimore’s library: 

What We Can Learn from the Plants Around Us

“As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” –Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is for everyone who appreciates good food grown with respect for the earth, people, animals, and community. Three dozen esteemed writers, farmers, chefs, activists, and visionaries address the highs and lows of farming life–as well as larger questions of how our food is produced and consumed–in vivid and personal detail.

This collection of natural-history essays is a series of lively, fact-filled expeditions into forests of the eastern United States. Each essay offers a lesson in stewardship as it explores the interwoven connections between a tree species and the animals and insects whose lives depend on it–and who, in turn, work to ensure the tree’s survival.

“At once romantic and scientific, [Wohlleben’s] view of the forest calls on us all to reevaluate our relationships with the plant world.”―Daniel Chamovitz, PhD, author of What a Plant Knows 

There is a world alongside ours–vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

Learning to Love & Protect Our Waterways

A modern-day David and Goliath tale, The Riverkeepers is an impassioned firsthand account by two advocates who have taken on powerful corporate and government polluters to win back the river they love. Reporting from the frontline of environmental activism, the Hudson River Valley, the authors tell us how we too can fight and win by reclaiming our fundamental right to enjoy our invaluable natural resources.

Extensive and fragile, the Chesapeake Bay watershed is one of the fastest growing and most endangered regions in the country. Here accomplished environmental scientist and lifelong ourdoorsman Ned Tillman issues his own call for a general public awakening.

A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction.

Will there be enough drinkable water to satisfy future demand? What is the state of our water infrastructure–both the pipes that bring us freshwater and the levees that keep it out? How secure is our water supply from natural disasters and terrorist attacks? Can we create new sources for our water supply through scientific innovation? Is water a right like air or a commodity like oil? Will the wars of the twenty-first century be fought over water? Beware, you may leave asking yourself more questions than when you first started.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Leading a More Sustainable & Just Life

What does it really take to live eco-effectively? For one year, Colin Beavan swore off plastic and toxins, turned off his electricity, went organic, became a bicycle nut, and tried to save the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his young daughter and his Prada-wearing wife along for the ride.

“A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet . . . laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny.”–The New York Times Book Review

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.

Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans.

Antero Pietila spent thirty-five years as a reporter with the Baltimore Sun, most of it covering the city’s neighborhoods, politics, and government. His narrative centers on the human side of residential real estate practices, whose discriminatory tools were the same everywhere: restrictive covenants, redlining, blockbusting, predatory lending.

What Your Waterkeeper’s Reading

“A few months ago I read this book to my daughter:  We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it won the 2021 Caldecott Medal.  This is a children’s book inspired by many indigenous-led movements for clean water across North America, and I love the way it uses metaphors and story-telling to introduce kids to the concept of environmental conservation.  Highly recommend!” – Alice Volpitta, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper


Whether you’re buying a book for yourself or a loved one, it’s great to shop local! You’ll see that each of these book recommendations link back to a  Baltimore treasure: the Ivy Bookshop. Buying local is key to our sustainable future. Limit your consumption of packaging and reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season by gifting a book from our local bookshop! 

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