THE SECRET LIFE OF TREES by Colin Tudge

pub. Penguin 2005 

Subtitled 'How they live and why they matter', this book is a veritable treasure-trove of information. Written in very readable style, it highlights the amazing diversity of our planet's trees, woodlands and forests, and gives warning of the dangers of their wanton destruction. A must-read. VG

ANCIENT TREES by Anne Lewington and Edward Parker

Originally published in 1999 by Collins & Brown, London, with a later edition published in 2012 by Batsford Ltd, London.

Subtitled 'Trees that live for a thousand years' this book is informative and beautiful, and very readable. An ancient tree is truly a magnificent sight. To many, trees have magical properties. Throughout history, trees have provided safety for those in need, offering shelter for a wide variety of creatures, including humans. Trees are a source of materials for boats and houses, they provide food for us and / or a multitude of insects, birds andother wildlife. And they are essential for the oxygen on which our life depends. Wanton destruction of trees, especially ancient forests, is perilous. This book is a perfect reminder of why trees are important to humanity, and why preserving them is not only a duty but a joy. VG

THE OIL ROAD by James Marriott and Mika Minio Paluello

pub. Verso, London, New York, 2012

Subtitled Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, this is a very brave book, written by courageous and perceptive authors. It is written using historical and actual perspectives in compelling style, following the best traditions of travel writing, and describes the inexorable effects of the oil trade on the world's villages, landscapes and cities. VG

THE END OF NATURE by Bill McKibben

pub. Random House, 2006

First published in 1989 by Random House in the United States and then in the UK in 1990 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books, this is a disturbing and essential book. How much damage do we have to do to our environment before we realize the world can't take it? In the first edition of the book, the author set out the facts of the damage being done, and predicted what would happen if we continued the practices creating the problems, or if those practices spread to previously 'undeveloped' parts of the world. In the introduction to the new edition, Bill McKibben says he spent the intervening 17 years praying that his book would be proved wrong. Sadly, he states, those prayers have not been answered. This is a book urging change in our attitudes and lifestyle habits. Anyone who cares about the future of the world should read it. VG.

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