Environmental Books Recommended by SEJ Members

Below are some of SEJ members' favorite reference books:

  • The Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology. By Christopher Morris. Academic Press, 1992.
  • The Almanac of American Politics 2002. By Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen. National Journal Group, 2001.
  • The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine. AMA, 1989.
    SEJ member comments: useful for basics.
  • American Wildlife & Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. By Alexander C. Martin, A. L. Nelson, and Herbert S. Zim. Dover Pubns, 1985.
    SEJ member comments: First published about 50 years ago. This is among the most useful books I've ever picked up.
  • Audubon Field Guides: wildflowers, fungi, birds, mammals, fish, pinnipeds, regional, etc. Complete Audubon Book List.
  • Brownfields: A Comprehensive Guide to Redeveloping Contaminated Property. By Todd S. Davis. American Bar Association, 2002.
    SEJ member comments: a once definitive book of state laws.
  • Chemicals, the Press and the Public: A Journalists' Guide to Reporting on Chemicals in the Community. Published by the National Safety Council's Environmental Health Center, 1989.
  • Climate Change 2001. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany. Edited by Michael Allaby. Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • The Condensed Chemical Dictionary. By Gessner G. Hawley. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 10th edition, 1985. Later editions available.
    SEJ member comments: for basic chemistry concepts.
  • The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. By Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Pantheon Books, 1993.
  • A Dictionary of Biology. Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 2000.
  • The Dictionary of Ecology and Environmental Science. By Henry Warren Art (Editor), F. Herbert Bormann. Henry Holt & Company, Inc., 1993.
  • A Dictionary of Environmental Quotations. Compiled by Barbara K. Rodes and Rice Odell. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Approximately 3,700 quotations in 143 categories.
  • The Dorling Kindersley World Reference Atlas. By Deni Bown. DK Publishing, 1999.
  • The Dose Makes the Poison: A Plain-Language Guide to Toxicology. By M. Alice Ottoboni. John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Edited by David W. MacDonald. Checkmark Books, 1995.
    SEJ member comments: probably the animal book we use most.
  • The Encyclopedia of the Environment. By Ruth A. Eblen (Editor), William R. Eblen (Editor), Rene Dubos Center for Human Environments. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994.
  • Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. Edited by Shepard Krech III, J.R. McNeill, and Carolyn Merchant. Routledge, 2003.
  • Environmental Law Handbook. By Thomas F.P. Sullivan, Editor Emeritus, with contributing authors. Government Institutes Press, 17th edition, May 2003.
  • Environmental Regulatory Glossary. By Thomas F.P. Sullivan. ABS Consulting, 1993.
  • Environmental Toxicants: Human Exposures and Their Health Effects. Edited by Morton Lippmann. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992.
    SEJ member comments: great for detail on a few substances.
  • The Essential Researcher. By Maureen Croteau and Wayne Worcester. Harper Collins, 1993.
  • The Facts on File Dictionary of Environmental Science. Edited by L. Harold Stevenson and Bruce C. Wyman. Third Edition, Facts on File, 2007.
  • A copy of the state and federal FOIA! Full text of The Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. § 552.
  • A Grain of Truth: The Media, the Public and Biotechnology. By Susanna Hornig Priest, associate professor of journalism at Texas A&M University. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2000.
    SEJ member comments: see Chapter 2, Reinventing Milk (clearly written scrutiny of rBGH story); Chapter 6, The Labeling Controversy and Public Perceptions of Risk; and Chapter 7, The Cloning Story.
  • Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. By Bernhard Grzimek, Neil Schlager (Editor), Donna Olendorf (Editor), Melissa C. McDade (Editor). Gale Group, 2nd edition, December 2003.
  • The Handy Science Answer Book. Compiled by The Science and Technology Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Edited by James E. Bobick and Naomi E. Balaban. Centennial Edition, Visible Ink Press, 2003.
  • The Hiking Trails of North Georgia. By Tim Homan. Peachtree Publishers, 1997.
  • Instant Notes in Ecology. By A. Mackenzie. Springer Verlag, 1998.
  • It Ain't Necessarily So: How Media Make and Unmake the Scientific Picture of Reality. By David Murray, Joel Schwartz, S. Robert Lichter. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2001.
  • Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography. By Syracuse Univ. Newhouse School Prof. Mark Monmonier. University of Chicago Press, 1989.
  • The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, & Biologicals. Edited by Maryadele J. O'Neil, Ann Smith, Patricia E. Heckelman, John R. Obenchain, Jo Ann R. Gallipeau, and Mary Ann D'Arecca. Merck & Co., 2001.
    SEJ member comments: the real lowdown on particular chemicals, versus the concepts.
  • A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism. By Gregg Easterbrook. Penguin USA, 1996.
    SEJ member comments: I use this book a lot as a primer on any given issue.
  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports, including "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children", "Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury" and "Understanding Risk." National Academies Press.
  • National Geographic Atlas of the World. National Geographic, 7th edition, 1999.
  • National Safety Council's Environmental Health Center has some very good guidebooks on how to cover chemicals, coastal issues and more. Several are available in downloadable PDF format.
  • The New York Public Library Science Desk Reference. By Patricia Barnes-Svarney, Frommer. Hungry Minds, Inc., 1995.
  • News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Related Fields. By the late Victor Cohn, former science/environmental reporter for The New York Times and then The Washington Post. Iowa State University Press, 2001.
  • Our Living Oceans; Report on the Status of U.S. Living Marine Resources, 1999. NOAA.
  • Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Report on Carcinogens, Tenth Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, December 2002.
  • The Reporter's Environmental Handbook. By Bernadette M. West, M. Jane Lewis, Michael R. Greenberg, David B. Sachsman, Renee Rogers. Rutgers University Press; 3rd edition, August 2003.
  • Reporting on Risk: A Journalist's Handbook on Environmental Risk Assessment. By M.A. Kamrin, D.J. Katz and M.L. Walter. National Sea Grant College Program and Foundation for American Communications, 1995.
    SEJ member comments: does a good job of explaining statistics and epidemiology for English majors.
  • Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations from the Library of Congress. Edited by Suzy Platt. Congressional Quarterly, 1992.
  • RISK: A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You. By David Ropeik and George Gray. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.
  • Science Communication; An Interdisciplinary Social Science Journal. Edited by Carol L. Rogers, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. SAGE Publications.
  • The State of the Nation's Ecosystems. By H. John Heinz III Center of Science, Economics, and the Environment, Cambridge University Press, 2002. Also available here for downloading or no-charge print format.
  • State of the World. Annual publication from Worldwatch Institute. State of the World 2004; Special Focus: The Consumer Society.
  • Status and Trends of the Nation's Biological Resources. By M.J. Mac, P.A. Opler, C.E. Puckett Haeker, and P.D. Doran. 2 vols. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va, 1998. Online report summary.
  • Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Edited by Donald Venes, Clayton L. Thomas, Clarence Wilbur Taber. F A Davis Co., 19th edition, 2001.
    SEJ member comments: broad in scope; very helpful for figuring out what the heck those researchers, gov't types, and doctors are saying.
  • Tainted Truth: The Manipulation of Fact in America. By Cynthia Crossen of The Wall Street Journal. Hardcover: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Paperback: Touchstone Books, 1996.
  • Toxics A to Z: A Guide to Everyday Pollution Hazards. By John Harte, et al. University of California Press, 1991.
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. By Glenn D. Considine (Editor), Peter H. Kulik (Editor), Douglas Considine. Wiley-Interscience, 2002.
    SEJ member comments:The OED of science terms.
  • Vital Signs. Annual publication from Worldwatch Institute. Vital Signs 2003.
  • Wetlands. By William J. Mitsch and James G. Gosselink. John Wiley & Sons, 3rd edition, 2000.
  • The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2004. Edited and published annually by World Almanac.
  • The World's Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. By Peter H. Gleick. Latest edition 2002-2003. Island Press, 2002.
    SEJ member comments: for anyone who wants global water stats in atlas-type form.
  • The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. By Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht. Chronicle Books, 1999.


SEJ members: Do you have suggestions for new books or feedback on this page? Please send to cmac@sej.org.

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