Nitrogen-rich fertilizer runoff in Lake Erie
Peter Essick
Nitrogen-rich fertilizer runoff in Lake Erie.

There’s nothing like a thick book of gorgeous nature photography to show the Avon lady you’re a savvy art connoisseur. But if you’d rather passive-aggressively shoo her and those door-to-door evangelists away as quickly as possible, just show ‘em Your Beautiful, Fragile World: The Nature and Environmental Photographs of Peter Essick. (We would’ve named it A Huge Bummer: Look At the Shit We’ve Done to the Planet, but apparently that’s less marketable.)

Coal-fired power plant in Conesville, Ohio
Peter Essick
Coal-fired power plant in Conesville, Ohio.

Peter Essick’s stunning, if mood-killing, photos are from his tenure at National Geographic, which took him from smoggy L.A. to the Antarctic, where increased snow makes it hard for penguins to nest. The book showcases a Suncor oil sands mine, Oregon’s Kalmiopsis Wilderness, an Ohio coal plant, Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island, and more. One particularly striking photo depicts slash-and-burn tactics in the Amazon rainforest:

Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, Brazil
Peter Essick
Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, Brazil.

So if you’re looking for the perfect holiday present for the eco-conscious Grumpy Cat in your life, this is just the ticket.

Three Mile Island
Peter Essick
Three Mile Island.