Every year on April 22nd, countries across the globe come together to demonstrate their support and commitment to the natural world around us. Earth Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970, but is now internationally recognized by over 150 countries. On the official Earth Day website, this years theme is “Invest In Our Planet,” encouraging people to stop and reflect on how the way they spend money could harm or help the planet. Some major topics this year relating to environmental protection are sustainable fashion, recyclable and compostable waste, and nature preservation through clean ups and education.
As you think about how you intend to contribute towards a more sustainable planet, here are some books to keep in mind. African writers and scholars have always been concerned with the environment, especially know with all what is happening with climate change. Alain Mabanckou’s As Long As Trees Take Root in the Earth is a poetry collection that celebrates nature as it relates to his home country. Two scholarly books, Eco-Critical Literature and Naturalizing Africa, offer insights on how African literature has represented, imagined, and/or responded to the environment and environmental concerns.
The Tears of the Earth inspires readers to take action while Ken Saro-Wiwa in A Month and a Day & Letters celebrates the life and work of a major environmental activist. Books like these remind us that we must continue to resist and fight against forces that seek to destroy the planet
Nnedi Okorafor in Who Fears Death and Tochi Onyebuch in War Girls use science fiction to help readers appreciate the urgency of the ecological crisis. Not even children are left. Ben Okri’s Every Leaf a Hallelujah is a call to arms against wanton destruction of trees.
We hope you enjoy this list, finding a new favorite or reading back through a classic!