Photo credit: Supreme Court Pediment by Flickr.com user Kevin Harber

Presidential Reading List - 2nd Term Edition

  Well, it's officially President Obama's second term in office. And with his commitment to addressing climate change, we have compiled a list (in no particular order) of ten books our staff believes he should read for inspiration.    
  1. Resilience Thinking, by Brian Walker and David Salt This introduction to resilience is a short, quick, introduction to an important new way of thinking about natural processes that will have far-reaching implications for conservation policies in the future.
  2. The Case for a Carbon Tax, by Shi-Ling Hsu As a recent Washington Post editorial pointed out, a carbon tax kills three birds with one stone: it lowers carbon emissions, raises revenue for the federal government, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. The Case for a Carbon Tax fleshes out why this policy is one Democrats and Republicans alike can support as we seek to build a new era of cooperation and effective governance.
  3. State of the World, by The Worldwatch Institute The 2012 edition, which focuses on Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, is a prescription for how we should all be thinking about the future of not only the environment but the economy. This April, the 2013 edition will ask "Is Sustainability Is Still Possible?"
  4. The Agile City, by James S. Russell James S. Russell provides a wide-ranging look at how our cities can be more resilient in the face of climate change while still growing our economy and jobs—an objective of the President's second term.
  5. Climate and Conservation, by Jodi Hilty, Charles Chester, and Molly Cross In his inaugural speech, President Obama stated failure to act on climate change "would betray our children and future generations." This book offers case studies from around the world of leading-edge projects focused on climate change adaptation. It will inspire the President to see the myriad ways we can work to protect biodiversity by protecting landscapes and seascapes in response to threats posed by climate change.
  6. Unquenchable, by Robert Glennon We can't talk about energy without talking about water. Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry. New demands for water, particularly the enormous supply needed for ethanol and energy production, will only worsen the crisis. Glennon proposes market-based solutions that value water as both a commodity and a fundamental human right.
  7. Corporation 2020, by Pavan Sukhdev We’ve barely recovered from the last recession and the fiscal cliff could send us into another. To build economic stability, we need to make business more responsible. Corporation 2020 shows how. That his initiatives would also help the environment just feeds into President Obama’s stated commitment to working to reduce climate change.
  8. River Notes, by Wade Davis The Colorado River is the heart of the American West and creator of the iconic Grand Canyon. River Notes is a short but beautiful trip down the river and into its past that will give President Obama a well-deserved break from worrying about affairs of state.
  9. Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change, by Peter Calthorpe Peter Calthorpe shows how an integrated approach of land use transformation, policy changes, and innovative technology can transition the US to a low-carbon economy. He presents comprehensive national growth scenarios for 2050, based on the successful process used for Vision California, and documents their potential impacts.  The path to a more livable, low-carbon America is mapped out clearly using innovative design strategies and forward-thinking policy.  “As California goes, so goes the Country.”
  10. Reshaping Metropolitan America, by Arthur C. Nelson Moving from mostly low-intensity, single-purpose development to higher-intensity mixed-use types will help to house the next 65 million Americans between 2010 and 2030, and respond to changing market preferences. Our communities can be healthier, more environmentally sustainable, economically sound, and equitable. Nelson lays out an agenda for reshaping America that includes reforming who can be allowed to live in homes, abandoning tax policies that have socially engineered our patterns of sprawl, reforming how we pay for local public facilities and services, and right-sizing our permitting practices to avoid calamities that have resulted from over-building commercial and residential space.