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Employee Environmental Book Picks

Jan 22, 2016

One thing all ACUA employees have in common is a love for the environment. By day, you can find us collecting waste at the curb, cleaning wastewater that leaves your home or planning for the future of waste disposal. By night, we may be planning green projects in our communities or reading up on environmental issues. 

We’ve partnered with the Atlantic County Library System to bring you our staff’s favorite environmental reads. Look for these books on display and the accompanying bookmark at a local branch near you.


The Best Place for Garbage by Sandra Wiese  

“This book is hilarious and incredibly informative. Really fun learning!”

- Amy Menzel, Communications Manager

Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“The message of this book really resonated with me on many levels. I was fortunate to be able to hear him speak, get the book autographed and actually shake his hand and have a conversation. Reading the book and hearing him speak really focused my attention on the many activities that were and are still going on in our country that harm the natural world.”

- Michele Bellinger, Education and Public Outreach Assistant  

Fire Season by Philip Connors

“Set in the New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, this memoir-style read blends nature writing with an interesting discussion on firefighting policy and how fire is needed for healthy forests on our federal lands.”

- Scott Yunker, Fleet and Facilities Manager

Hack the Planet:Science's Best Hope - or Worst Nightmare - for Averting Climate Catastrophe by Eli Kintisch

“This book provides an interesting case history on unexpected results of both geoengineering experiments and natural climate altering events.“

- Greg Seher, Senior Project Analyst

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

“While a children’s book, it speaks to the plight of the environment and deforestation. It was published back in 1971…to think of all that has and hasn’t changed since then.”

- Karen Horn, Office Manager

The Pine Barrens by John McPhee

“This is an interesting history of the area and one of the early calls for preservation from 1968.”

- Brian Lefke, Senior Vice President of Solid Waste



Pinelands: New Jersey’s Suburban Wilderness by Albert Horner

“You don’t have to love reading to enjoy this one! This book has gorgeous photographs of this unique ecosystem by local photographer, environmental advocate (and Rutgers Environmental Steward) Al Horner.”

- Amy Menzel, Communications Manager

Rubbish!:The Archaeology of Garbage by William Rathje 

“The late Dr. Rathje actually came to speak at ACUA. His book was extremely interesting and discusses how we can tell a lot about our society from what we throw away.” 

- Ron Berenato, Marketing Representative

Second Nature by Michael Pollan  

“This is a book about gardening, divided into sections by season. By no means is it just about gardening or just for gardeners – it’s really about a man’s relationship with nature. Love it – the kind of book you can go back to again and again.”

- Amy Menzel, Communications Manager

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 

 “A staple, Silent Spring discusses the use of DDT and its impact on wildlife.”

- Brian Lefke, Senior Vice President of Solid Waste

“An oldie, but goodie”

- Monica Coffey, Communications Manager

The Sugar Season by Douglas Whynott

“This interesting book is set in New England and explains not only how the maple sugar business has evolved into a huge business, but how climate change is affecting the maple trees and how the sugaring business will be in the future.”

- Scott Yunker, Fleet and Facilities Manager

The Toms River Story by Dan Fagin

“The Toms River Story gives an eye-opening look into what happens when hazardous waste is disposed of illegally (in this case, buried in the ground within distance of drinking water wells). The book dives into the public health issues that came as a result of this illegal dumping as well as the history of waste management laws in New Jersey. “

- Sara Verrillo, Digital Media Specialist

Waste by Tristram Stuart

“Tristram is a self-described “Freegan” (dumpster diver), and his book takes a comprehensive look at the problem of food waste. It’s fascinating– and addresses the issue from so many levels – food industry, grocery stores, all the way down the line. Information is culled from a variety of countries so it is interesting to see different approaches.” 

- Amy Menzel, Communications Manager

Other Recommendations:

  • Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin
  • The Pine Barrens by John McPhee
  • The Berenstain Bears Don't Pollute (Anymore) – Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • A Field Guide to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey: Its Flora, Fauna, Ecology and Historic Sites by Howard Boyd
  • Earth, Plant and Compost by William F. Brinton

What are your favorite environmental books? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook page or sending us a quick note