7 ‘Champions for Nature’ tell us their must-reads

Author: Kimberly Nicole Pope

Tomorrow: Small Ideas to Change the World

Proposed by Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica
Author: Cyril Dion

Cyril Dion invites us to “change stories to change history”. The challenge of climate change for what it is, to change the history of humanity, where each person counts and each action, big or small, counts. As it should be in an interconnected world, we dream of more solidarity.

A Stone Sat Still

Proposed by M Sanjayan, Chief Executive Officer, Conservation International
Author: Brendan Wenzel

Our 19-month-old daughter would have it no other way. Brendan Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still has been read 600 times in our home during lockdown. Even so we still turn the pages with unhurried pleasure. We linger on its dreamy, dusky illustrations and its spring-water clear prose.

Each time we read it we fall in love with a new way of seeing nature; when viewed in different lights and at different heights, nature becomes the source of endless possibilities. For a grinding and tragic pandemic, a reminder of the value of nature and the importance of place is the perfect antidote.

The Essentials of Theory ‘U’

Proposed by Cherie Nursalim, Vice-Chairman, Giti Group
Author: Otto Scharmer

"U” is a movement. “U” is a philosophy of “seeing” and “sensing” our system. “U” is a way of letting go and letting a new “U” emerge. “U” enables “ego” to “eco system shift”. Otto lays out and synthesises the core essences of his decades of practice with corporates, civil society and governments around the world in integrating science arts and consciousness. This is to me a must-read book and offers a pathway to happiness by bridging social, ecological and spiritual divides (Tri Hita Karana ways to Happiness in Balinese) aligned with UN SDGs.

Stones of Silence

Proposed by Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Federal Minister of Climate Change and Adviser to the Prime Minister, Pakistan
Author: George Schaller

The Himalayan travelogue by one of the world’s leading conservationists searching for an encounter with one of the most elusive creatures on the planet – the mystical snow leopard – is what I am currently reading. The book is both a celebration of nature, as it beautifully penetrates and unravels the myth around the “mountain ghost”, and an avid description of the spirituality residing in the vast emptiness of the mighty Himalayan landscapes.

The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution

Proposed by Inger Andersen, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Author: Maria Ivanova

I highly recommend The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution by Maria Ivanova. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the genesis and evolution of global environmental governance. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme in 2022, this book provides valuable insights into how UNEP – and, indeed, environmental multilateralism – must rise to the challenges of a planet in crisis and lead us towards sustainable development.

Reality Bubble

Proposed by Marco Lambertini, Director-General, WWF International
Author: Ziya Tong

The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong is a provocative book about humanity’s main blind spots: what we didn’t evolve to see, and what we should but don’t see. The blindness, often convenient, of modern society. A reminder of our limitations, and the dangers of ignoring the impact we are having on the health and balance of the planet we should call home.

A particularly important reminder in a year when only humanity’s full awareness of our role in the natural world can trigger the deep cultural revolution in our minds and systemic change in our economy to avert disaster.

Losing Earth

Proposed by Svein Tore Holsether, President & CEO, Yara International
Author: Nathaniel Rich

The essence of this book is that we knew but didn’t act. Nathaniel Rich tells the history of fighting climate change, and how the Charney report already in 1979 predicted the devastating effects of global warming.

Based on this, I have used every opportunity to tell people that we have been sitting on the fence for four decades and have less than a decade to fix it. We don’t have the time anymore to work in isolation, only collaboration can save us.

The book was an eye-opener about how we have failed, how we can’t afford to fail now, and how we must have a science- and fact-based way of working.

Kimberly Nicole Pope

Project and Community Lead, Nature Action Agenda,
World Economic Forum Geneva

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