Books & Films
Recommended by Toxic
Free NC Staff and Volunteers
A Civil Action by Jonathan
Harr. The story of Woburn, Massachusetts, the high incidence
of childhood cancer associated with industrial pollution
and the lawsuit against the responsible company.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by
Barbara Kingsolver. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation,
the book tells the story of how the Kingsolver family was
changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced
in the place where they live.
Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental
Justice in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor by Steve
Lerner. This story chronicles how the people of Diamond,
an African-American subdivision sandwiched between a Shell
chemical plant and a Motiva oil refinery in Norco, Louisiana,
lobbied Shell to pay for their relocation after decades
of exposure to toxic emissions.
Having Faith by Sandra Steingraber.
A biologist’s poetic journey through her own pregnancy,
and exploration of the environmental contaminants that affect
fetal and childhood development.
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food
Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food by Joel
Salatin. The author is a successful grass-fed livestock
farmer in Central Virginia who sells only within his foodshed. Salatin
wrote this book because he believes that the “yearning
in the human soul to smell a flower, pet a pig and enjoy
food with a face is stronger now than anytime in history.”
Living Downstream by Sandra
Steingraber. Subtitled “an ecologist looks at cancer
and the environment,” this is the story of the author’s
own struggle with (and survival of) cancer.
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. A
great introduction to the web of nature, written by a city
person who learns through observation.
Noah’s Garden by Sara
Bonnett Stein. A simple plan for anyone with a backyard
to plant with a new perspective on restoring local ecology.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by
Michael Pollan. Pollan follows each of the food chains that
sustain us — industrial food, organic food, and food
we forage ourselves - from the source to a final meal, and
in the process develops a definitive account of the American
way of eating.
Our Stolen Future by Theo
Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers. In
this groundbreaking “scientific detective story,” the
authors introduced the general public to the concept of endocrine
disruptors – industrial chemicals that interfere with
our hormone systems and affect human and wildlife health
Prodigal Summer by Barbara
Kingsolver. A carefully crafted ecological treatise, the
novel is also a love story told with Kingsolver's keen observations
and earthy, poetic wit.
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family
and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. The author’s
story of dealing with her mother’s experience with
breast cancer after nuclear testing by the U.S. government.
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo
Leopold. First published in 1949, this nature classic
awakened many Americans to a new environmental ethic.
Silent Snow by Marla Cone.
A journalist’s exploration of toxics in the Arctic,
their effects on human and animal health and the lessons
we can learn from the polar region.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
The seminal book on the role of pesticides in harming the
health of animals and the environment. Published in 1962,
many consider this book the spark that started the U.S. environmental
When Smoke Ran Like Water by
Devra Davis. An epidemiologist’s historical account
of some of the world’s most toxic smog events, including
the Donora Fog (1948) that blanketed a town in Pennsylvania
for a week, leaving many people sick and some dead.
A Civil Action: The story
of Woburn, Massachusetts, the high incidence of childhood
cancer associated with industrial pollution and the lawsuit
against the responsible company (starring John Travolta and
Blue Vinyl: A “toxic
comedy” of the harmful effects of PVC plastics and
one woman’s struggle to get her parents to use healthier
alternatives as siding for their house.
Erin Brockovich: The true
story of a single mom who convinced a major law firm to stop
Pacific Gas & Electric Company from poisoning southern
California residents with toxic chemicals (starring Julia
The Future of Food: Examines
the complex web of market and political forces that are changing
what we eat, as huge multinational corporations seek to control
the world's food system. The film also explores alternatives
to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and
sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis
An Inconvenient Truth: Al
Gore’s landmark film on global climate change and what
we can do about it.
Kilowatt Ours: Filmmaker
Jeff Barrie takes viewers on a journey from the coal mines
of West Virginia to the solar panel fields of Florida, as
he discovers solutions to America's energy related problems.
Trade Secrets: A Bill Moyers
report on the harmful effects of industrial pollutants, how
the chemical industry has scuttled the public’s right
to know, and what we can do about it.
When the Levees Broke: A
Spike Lee film on the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.
Toxic Free NC with your book and film suggestions!