Keeping Informed for the Animals: New Book Club Series Can Help

By Paula Fitzsimmons

What are the biggest threats to the Grauer’s Gorilla? How about to the Monarch Butterfly or the Lemur Leaf Frog? Switching channels, do you know what political action committees do, and how they differ from nonprofits? Or which animals are protected under the Animal Welfare Act?

Why am I asking these assorted questions? Because understanding the issues impacting animals is essential to being a powerhouse advocate. It’s impossible to know everything about everything . . . admittedly, I didn’t know what the Lemur Leaf Frog looked like, or that it was even endangered, until I did a little research. But the more you do know, the more effective you can be.

Social media pages and random online articles are fine – but they’re no substitute for the insights you can acquire from more in-depth sources. Attending seminars and talking to people in the know are awesome ways to learn, but they’re not always easily accessible.

Books, however, are – and luckily there are lots of good ones on the market that inspire, empower, and instruct.


So . . .I’m starting a new series introducing you to books I believe will enhance your knowledge of various animal advocacy issues – as well as help guide you in your career growth.


This comes with a disclosure. The following book image is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase as a result of clicking that link, I will earn a commission – which helps with the costs of running this website.

The most important thing is that you read and stay informed. If you borrow the books I recommend from your local library or a friend, that’s fine by me. At the least, check out these authors’ websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and follow them on social media.

My first pick is Half-Earth by revered biologist and naturalist, Edward O. Wilson.


Forest leaf


Half-Earth, by Edward O. Wilson

You don’t need me to tell you humans are negatively altering the planet. Our imprint has been so severe, the changes so dramatic, that scientists have proposed renaming the current geological period from Holocene to Anthropocene – a name that appropriately reflects our dominant influence.

We’ve caused a heck of a lot of damage in a relatively short period of time. Our activities have been responsible for just some of the following – altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere, waterways, and soil; acidifying the ocean and turning it into a plastic wasteland; clearing rainforests, peatlands, and other significant lands.

And we’re causing the extinction of a large number of plants and animals. Not just iconic species, either, but those whose presence and functions may not be fully understood.

One of the major drivers of these extinctions is habitat loss. As our population grows globally, so does the demand for land . . .the same land that animals depend on for their own survival.

Which is why land conservation has never been as important as it is now. And why I encourage you to read Half-Earth, in which Edward O. Wilson offers up his plan for saving the biodiversity we do have left. He wants us to set aside half the planet – including places like the California Redwood Forest, The Amazon River Basin, Borneo, The Congo Basin, and others.

There’s a good deal of science in the book, but it’s not overly-technical – I walked away with a better understanding of the severity of the problems, and most importantly, what we need to do to save what we have left.

I’ll warn you . . . he doesn’t sugar-coat anything in this book. The first part was especially disconcerting to read at times; actually, downright depressing. But he does offer hope in the form of a plan – if only we’ll listen in time.

You can find Edward online at E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation to learn more about his Half Earth project.


I have just two more questions: Which books have you read that have made you a stronger advocate and have helped in your career? And what types of books would you like to learn about in the future?

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