Tufts Environmental Book & Film Club

The TIE Book and Film Club has been postponed for the remainder of the summer. It will continue in the fall so please check back here soon for our next book and future plans!

To join the mailing list, email tie@tufts.edu.

The TIE Book & Film Club is open to all members of the Tufts community interested in learning more about environmental issues, becoming involved with the Tufts Institute of the Environment, or just looking to chat about a great book. We hope that this club will help foster ongoing campus-wide conversations about themes of the environment and environmental sustainability.

Originally TIE Book Club, this year we are expanding the media through which we collectively take in environmental information. The selected books and films will be paired to deepen dialogue and enrich our experience. We will be partnering with other groups, including but not limited to Tufts student groups, for film showings. If you have an idea for a film showing or would like to partner with us, email tie@tufts.edu with the subject “TIE Env. Book & Film Club.”

Most Recent Book: Wangari Maathai’s “Unbowed: A Memoir.”


In this book, Maathai recounts her journey from as a young girl in rural Kenya moving into the global stage as a major actor in sustainable development, democracy, and peace. Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Among her achievements as an environmental and political actor in Kenya, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, served as assistant minister for Environmental and Natural Resources in Parliament from 2003 to 2005, and was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council.

Past Book Club Reads:

Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” (2014)
John Nichols and Rini Templeton’s “The Milagro Beanfield War” (2016)
Mohsin Hamid’s “How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” (2013)
Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl” (2010)
Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us” (2007)
Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Ceremony” (1977)
Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” (1993)
Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” (1974)
Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer” (2000), the novel of three interconnected lives in southeastern Kentucky


Possible Future Reads

Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change”

Long known for her insightful and thought-provoking political journalism, author Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial and increasingly urgent subject of global warming. In what began as groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker, for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006, Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction”

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac”

“We can place this book on the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir.” —San Francisco Chronicle

These astonishing portraits of the natural world explore the breathtaking diversity of the unspoiled American landscape — the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. A stunning tribute to our land and a bold challenge to protect the world we love.

Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.

Alan Weismans’ “The World Without Us”

If human beings disappeared instantaneously from the Earth, what would happen? How would the planet reclaim its surface? What creatures would emerge from the dark and swarm? How would our treasured structures–our tunnels, our bridges, our homes, our monuments–survive the unmitigated impact of a planet without our intervention? In his revelatory, bestselling account, Alan Weisman draws on every field of science to present an environmental assessment like no other, the most affecting portrait yet of humankind’s place on this planet.


Naomi Klein and Erik Conway’s “The Collapse of Western Civilization”

The year is 2393, and a senior scholar of the Second People’s Republic of China presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment, the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies, entered into a Penumbral period in the early decades of the twenty-first century, a time when sound science and rational discourse about global change were prohibited and clear warnings of climate catastrophe were ignored.

Emmi Itaranta’s “Memory of Water”

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union. Seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village. But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town—and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel”

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Sherri Smith’s “Orleans”

First came the storms. Then came the Fever. And the Wall. After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born. Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted.

Sundeep Ahuja’s “Haline”

Four days until the Election. Natasha Biron knows this is her last chance. Losing this Election means losing the war – and her life. Officer Aaren Jemmer diligently works to lockdown Haline and ensure Natasha’s failure, another special assignment he’ll use to keep his secret safe. Archives employee Joaquin Deva is wrapping-up at the office before a holiday with his girlfriend – until an unexpected discovery drives him to abandon everything in his near-perfect life to find the one person who can help him: Natasha Biron.Over the next four days their paths collide, shattering their realities as they each discover the lies they’ve been living and the unthinkable truth they share.

Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake”

At once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.

Edward Abbey’s “The Monkey Wrench Gang”

Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., Hayduke is ready to fight the power—taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move—and peaceful coexistence be damned!

David Mitchell’s “The Bone Clocks”

The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly’s life, from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland’s Atlantic coast as Europe’s oil supply dries up – a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapses in the laws of reality. For Holly Sykes – daughter, sister, mother, guardian – is also an unwitting player in a murderous feud played out in the shadows and margins of our world, and may prove to be its decisive weapon.

Carl Hiasen’s “Hoot”

A book for young readers. It involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, and pint-sized owls. A hilarious Floridian adventure!

Jean Craighead George’s “There’s an Owl in the Shower”

Borden’s father, Leon, was a logger in the old-growth forests of California. That is, until the spotted-owl lovers interfered. One day, frustrated by his father’s unemployment, Borden sets out on a mission of revenge against the spotted owl but returns home with a half-starved owlet instead. The family soon discovers that the owlet, whom Borden names Bardy, loves to take showers and watch late-night TV. Only after the whole family has fallen in love with Bardy do they realize that the conflict between nature and human industry is not so easily resolved.