21 Science Books That Are All Doom and Gloom

Do you enjoy reading about the downfall of planet earth, our ultimate destruction? Mutating diseases? Or perhaps a darker look into who we’re really fight now… let’s find out with the 21 Science Books That Are All Doom and Gloom.

Binge Worthy

21. The Wasting of Borneo: Dispatches from a Vanishing World

by Alex Shoumatoff

The rainforests are doomed. An insatiable demand for palm oil and other forest goods is destroying these fragile ecosystems and the animals and people that call them home. Author Alex Shoumatoff and a friend see it all first-hand during a trek through what’s left of Borneo’s once-beautiful forests.

20. Last Chance to See

by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

The world is full of beautiful, rare animals — and many of them are going to die. Beloved science fiction author Douglas Adams and Mark Cardawine take readers on a journey to say goodbye to some of Earth’s most threatened creatures. An update: one of the animals featured in Last Chance to See, the white rhino, is pretty much extinct. The last male died this year. 

19. What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice

by Wen Stephenson

We’re already seeing the impact of climate change, but politicians and their corporate paymasters aren’t going to do anything about it. With no other options in sight, activists from all walks of life are getting ready for the fight of all of our lives. Go behind the scenes for a first-hand look at a war for our future as a species — if we have a future at all. Some people think it’s too late. 

18. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

by Eric Schlosser

We’ve got armed and ready nuclear missiles dotting America’s heartland. What could possibly go wrong? Decades ago, someone dropped a wrench while performing routine maintenance at a nuclear missile site in rural Arkansas. Thousands came within an inch of their lives of dying. This is the story of that accident. Surely it won’t happen again, right?

17. Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

by Kathryn Miles

Earthquakes! Coming to a town near you! Fracking, underground waste disposal, and faulty structural engineering, along with naturally occurring fault lines, could mean you’re closer to suffering an earthquake no matter where you are, and maybe not a little one: a devastating earthquake in the right place could cause billions in damage to the economy and a massive loss of life. 

16. The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age

by David E. Sanger

Thanks to cyberwarfare, you can no longer assume that our banks, utilities, and even our democracy will continue to function as designed. Stolen votes, self-destructing nuclear centrifuges, and chaos in the financial market were all just the opening shots in a war that no one knows how will end.

15. Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain–and How to Fight Back

by Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever

Social media, email, smart phones, connected gadgets: They’re almost impossible to put any of them down, because that’s how they were designed. Tech companies are using their ever advancing knowledge of human psychology to keep us hooked, destroying our sense of emotional well-being, our concentration, and even the ability to get a good night’s rest. None of this is going away, and it is evolving at a rapid pace. What can we do?

14. No Good Alternative: Volume Two of Carbon Ideologies

by William T. Vollmann

Humanity’s appetite for petroleum products is destroying our world, from the poisoned backwoods of rural West Virginia, to the smoky deserts of the Middle East. As public health suffers, climate damage escalates, and financial crimes go unpunished, author William T. Vollman ventures out into the world to see it all first hand.

13. This Land Is Our Land: How We Lost the Right to Roam and How to Take It Back

by Ken Ilgunas

This land is their land: big businesses, aggressive lawmaking, and unchecked land development has boxed in billions of acres of forest, coastlines, and prairies. These are places you’ll never see, even if you technically have a right to do so. Join longtime traveler and writer Ken llgunas on a journey around the world and into the past to learn why your right to roam is in ever increasing danger. 

12. Fallout: Disasters, Lies, and the Legacy of the Nuclear Age

by Fred Pearce

We’re probably going to blow ourselves up, poison our environment for billions of years, or both, thanks to our arrogance and misuse of nuclear technology. Not just in America, either: Japan, Russia, China … we’re all dancing at the edge of disaster. Learn more in this look at eight-plus decades of nuclear folly.

11. The People Vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (and How We Save It)

by Jamie Bartlett

We’re building the walls that will imprison us. By giving our data away, we’re handing the keys to our cell to shadowy information brokers, foreign powers, and criminals. Unless we do something now, democracy itself may collapse, replaced by a digital dystopia.

10. Unnatural Harvest: How Genetic Engineering is Altering Our Food

by Ingeborg Boyens

We’re eating Frankenfood, and no one knows what the longterm effects may be. Advertisers don’t want you to know this, but the foods they sell you may be the end product of genetic engineering in corporate labs around the world. By playing with the building blocks of life, have we opened Pandora’s box?

9. Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans

Edited by W. John Kress and Jeffrey K. Stine

We’ve left an indelible mark on the world. This is the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans: a time when the basic resources for life are being strained to the breaking point, and the future of the planet is being written in ways we’re hardly even aware of. Explore the impact humanity has had, and will continue to have, on the planet in this multidisciplinary look at the Anthropocene. 

8. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

by Douglas Rushkoff

There’s a bunch of people making fistfuls of money from the rise of the internet, but you’re probably not going to be one of them. Douglas Rushkoff looks at how companies like Uber and Google are transforming our economy and culture, all while leaving a sizable proportion of our society in the dust. Can we change before it’s too late? 

7. When the Rivers Run Dry: Water-The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century

by Fred Pearce

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink — for you. Growing populations means more demand for food. High yield crops can meet the demand, but they need water to grow. This is just one of the factors contributing to a future water crisis. Managing what we’ve got is going to be hard, but necessary, work. 

6. The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind

by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin

We’re killing tons of animals, and we can’t seem to get a handle on that. Humanity, among all of the Earth’s species, has the capacity to eliminate entire species at will. According to the authors, we’re at the beginning of a sixth great extinction, a mass die-off that could ruin our planet.

5. The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance

by Laurie Garrett

Viral mutation, poor sanitation, mishandled antibiotics, and an ever more connected world means that we’re more at risk for a devastating pandemic than ever. Laurie Garrett takes readers to the frontlines of a decades-long war against deadly disease. Is it only a matter of time before we face a lethal global plague?

4. Future Shock

by Alvin Toffler

Technology is changing too fast for us to keep up with, and our economies, governments, and social lives are reeling from the impact. This accelerated evolution could create a future that is more disruptive than we can possibly imagine, unless we prepare for it. 

3. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

by Philip Zimbardo

We’re all evil, or at least, we all have the potential for it. Social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, the guy behind the Stanford Prison Experiment, reveals what makes the dark side of human nature so powerful, and why some of us will always succumb to its allure. 

2. The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think

by Eli Pariser

You’d like to think of yourself as objective, and well informed, but you’re probably not. The capacity for deep customization that makes the internet such a great resource is also walling us into our own little “filter bubbles.” From the news we read, to the things we buy, we’re experiencing an internet catered by advertisers to suit our own beliefs and desires. What will this mean for the future of a free society?

1. Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars

by Lee Billings

We’re probably alone in the universe, and no one is coming to save us … or even say hello. If there’s alien life out there, then why haven’t we detected it by now? With only a couple of billion years left until the Sun cooks the Earth, we’re running out of time for E. T. to call us up.

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