By Laura Turner Seydel

As you’re acting on your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to include the basic lifestyle changes you can make to help the environment! Just think: you could recycle more at your home, make the switch to LED light bulbs, use less water, buy a more fuel efficient car, or even just have the kids put down the video games and go out into nature in 2013.

That might sound like a lot of work, but I promise it’s not, and even small things make a big difference. Here are four books that might give you a new perspective on challenges to our environment and get you motivated to take action.

I Am Eco-Warrior by Roger Moenks
Roger Moenks did a great job with his new book, I Am Eco-Warrior. The international book release was held here in Atlanta last month as a fundraising event at the Ralph Lauren store for the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. The cover photo, of my dad Ted Turner, is amazing and so are the other photos and stories in the book. I was very honored to be included in the book and share my story about the Captain Planet Foundation. There are more than 50 people featured in the book, including Richard Branson, Sylvia Earle, and Stella McCartney. I am amazed at those eco-superheroes and how they have been so creative in their approach to improving the ecosystems of our earth for our children and future generations.

Full World, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
If you don’t know who Lester Brown is, you need to. He is the president of the Earth Policy Institute, has written over 50 books on food and the environment and is one of the most influential thinkers of our lifetime. He has been warning the public since the early 1960’s about the relationship between population, global warming, water shortages and how that will lead to food scarcities. My father has been sending members of Congress, world leaders, and Fortune 500 CEOs, including his friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, his books for years trying to get them to pay attention to these issues. In his latest book, Brown writes about the global struggle for food security. “In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage,” he writes. “Food is the new oil.” As larger countries like China and India run out of the water they need to grow enough food for their citizens, they are starting to buy up millions of acres of farmland in Africa with access to water, ousting the native residents there. This situation will only get worse in the future unless we start acting now.

Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins
Amory Lovins is co-founder, chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute and widely considered among the world’s leading authorities on energy – especially its efficient use and sustainable supply – and a fertile innovator in integrative design. Lovins’ new book shows how business – motivated by profit, supported by civil society, sped by smart policy – can get the U.S. completely off oil and coal by 2050, and later, beyond natural gas as well. It might sound impossible, but read the book and see how it can and needs to happen.

50 Ways To Save The Ocean by David Helvarg, forward by Phillippe Cousteau
I want to recommend a children’s book, because they will want to take action, too! The oceans are big and children are small, so younger people (and grownups, too) may feel powerless to protect the oceans. “50 Simple Ways to Save the Ocean, written by environmental journalist David Helvarg, focuses on practical, easily implemented actions everyone can take to protect and conserve this vital resource.
One of my favorite environmentalists, Philippe Cousteau, CNN correspondent and grandson of Jacques Cousteau, wrote the foreward to the book and is very involved in saving our oceans. He founded EarthEcho International, which teaches young people how to take action to restore and protect our oceans.

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Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.