Books Exploring the Health-Environment Link

Books Exploring the Health-Environment Link

Factors within and beyond our bodies impact our health. External factors include air quality, water quality, and access to nature. Here are just a few books examining the relationship between our environment and our physical, mental, and emotional health. 


A Sand County Almanac book cover A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

By Aldo Leopold

Conservationist, educator, and writer Aldo Leopold is considered one of the founders of America’s modern environmental movement. In this series of vivid essays, Leopold chronicles his observations of wildlife and nature during a year at his family’s Wisconsin farm. 

©1949 Oxford University Press. Reproduced with permission of the Licensor through PLSclear


Black Nature book cover Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry 

Edited by Camille T. Dungy

This beautiful anthology showcases the poetry of 93 Black writers from the past 400 years. Organized thematically, each explores an aspect of the relationship between humans and the natural world. 

©2009 The University of Georgia Press


Braiding Sweetgrass book cover Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching 

of Plants 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer, PhD, an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, describes how people and nature can live in harmony. Her essays deftly interweave traditional stories, personal remembrances, and facts about plants and the natural world.  

©2013 Milkweed Editions


City of Lake and Prairie book cover City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago’s Environmental History 

By Kathleen A. Brosnan, William C. Barnett, and Ann Durkin Keating (editors)

This collection of essays traces Chicago’s history over hundreds of years, as the area evolved from prairie to bustling metropolis. The essays examine the impact of industrialization, animals, and diseases on the city’s environmental past, present, and future.

©2020 University of Pittsburgh Press


The Death and Life of the Great Lakes book cover The Death and Life of the Great Lakes  

By Dan Egan   

This absorbing book, written by a former journalist and twice-nominated finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the Great Lakes’ history from their Ice Age formation through the modern age. Egan discusses how the shipping industry, climate change, and invasive species have all imperiled the Great Lakes, and he explores what people are doing to preserve the viability of the five lakes, which contain 21% of the world’s fresh water supply.


©2017  W.W. Norton & Company


Above photo by Erin Sullivan
Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2023 print issue.