Happy Earth Day, book lovers! To celebrate, we've compiled a list of some of the greenest authors we know: writers who work above and beyond to support environmental initiatives. Oh yeah, and their books are pretty good too.
Margaret Atwood caffeinates for the birds
Atwood officially outed herself as an environmentally friendly author with her 2003 post-environmental disaster novel Oryx and Crake, but in truth, she's always tried to live green (she was raised to be very environmentally conscious by her parents, who were both early members of the Sierra Club). She famously invented the remote-signing tool the "longpen" in an effort to reduce her own carbon footprint, and closer to her Ontario home, she supports the Pelee Island Bird Observatory and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and their efforts to produce "bird-friendly" coffee. You can buy "the Atwood blend" from Balzac's and rest assured that you are drinking bird-friendly coffee and supporting PIBO into the bargain as well.
Joseph Boyden and the Great Bear brigade
Joseph Boyden's novels Through Black Spruce and Three Day Road are both strongly connected to the Canadian landscape and wilderness -- so it makes sense that he would go the extra mile to work to protect that landscape. He's lent his name and face to the World Wildlife Fund of Canada's Canadians for the Great Bear project, an initiative to protect northern B.C.'s Great Bear region, one of the largest temperate coastal rainforests left in the world.
John Vaillant's tiger trouble
John Vaillant has always been an environmentally minded author and journalist, and his award-winning book The Tiger was a 2012 Canada Reads contender (fiercely defended by Anne-France Goldwater). The book offers a compelling portrait of a vicious but beautiful animal, the Amur tiger, which is also extremely endangered, due to over-hunting and illegal poaching. Vaillant's website for the book is devoted to the cause of protecting the Amur tiger from poachers.
Wade Davis and the Sacred Headwaters
Wade Davis has written numerous books about beautiful natural places all over the world from the Amazon rainforest to Antarctica (he's even an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society). Almost all of his work has an environmental edge, but with The Sacred Headwaters, Davis partnered with the David Suzuki Foundation to make an even more concerted effort to raise awareness about this gorgeous part of British Columbia. which is directly threatened by oil and mining companies.
Ian McEwan's Solar power
British novelist Ian McEwan is another author who practices what he writes. His 2010 book Solar is a satirical novel about climate change, in which a cynical, aging physicist is presented with a opportunity to save the world from imminent environmental disaster. In real life, McEwan has pledged to support a small British charity called SolarAid that is slowly but surely replacing kerosene lamps with solar-powered lamps in Africa (their aim is to eradicate the gas-guzzling kerosene lamps from Africa entirely by the year 2020).