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Call Number: Received Not Yet Cataloged-Grant Book
Publication Date: Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2021. 256 p.
Reviewed: PW 8 Feb. 2021 p. 25 Description: As we find ourselves living in an age of unprecedented environmental peril, the impact of climate change is being experienced around the globe. This book answers the critical question, “What can we as ordinary citizens do about it?” While there are countless environmental books focusing on the causes of our current crisis, Advocating for the Environment is one of the first of its kind to focus on advocacy and policy-based solutions, arming general readers with the tools they need to take action and enact change. In Part I, author Susan Inches discusses storytelling, empathy, mindset, and how effective communication can help us to achieve specific goals and collaborate with others (even those with opposing views). Part II focuses on skills such as coalition building, media relations, the difference between tactics and strategy, communication strategy, and how to navigate political and bureaucratic hurdles that stand in the way of passing large-scale legislation. The author also includes case studies, research, and templates to scaffold learning. This book is the ideal guide for aspiring activists of all ages. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 8 Feb. 2021 p. 27. Description: Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet–but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping. The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. The planet says we consume too much: in America, we burn the earth’s resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite efforts to “green” our consumption–by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power–we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions. Addressing this paradox head-on, acclaimed journalist J. B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering economic collapse? At first this question took him around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon’s ideas were tested in real time. Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions … [and] closer relationships with our natural world and one another.
Publication Date: Sydney, NSW, Australia: Murdoch Books, 2020. 291 p.
Reviewed: PW 8 Feb. 2021 p. 27. Description: Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? Perhaps no other issue today is as confronting as our warming earth. But while scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbors–or even to grapple with it ourselves. The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you’re already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change–why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached–is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act. This book is about understanding why people who aren’t like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands–millions–of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.
Publication Date: Rochester, N.Y.: Open Letter, 2021. 345 p.
Reviewed: PW 18 Jan. 2021 p. 66. Description: A few years ago, Andri Snaer Magnason, one of Iceland’s most beloved writers and public intellectuals, was asked by a leading climate scientist why he wasn’t writing about the greatest crisis mankind has faced. Magnason demurred: he wasn’t a specialist, he said; it wasn’t his field. But the scientist persisted: “If you cannot understand our scientific findings and present them in an emotional, psychological, poetic or mythological context,” he told him, “then no one will really understand the issue, and the world will end.” Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, Magnason’s response is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change–and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. Moving from reflections on how one writes an obituary for an iceberg to exhortation for a heightened understanding of human time and our obligations to one another, throughout history and across the globe, On Time and Water is both deeply personal and globally-minded: a travel story, a world history, and a desperate plea to live in harmony with future generations. Already a massive bestseller in Iceland, and selling in two dozen territories around the world, this is a book unlike anything that has yet been published on the current climate emergency. (publ.)
Publication Date: London: Scribe, 2020. xi, 263 p.
Reviewed: TLS 14 May 2021 p. 3. Description: Is the shift to renewable energy and digital devices going to free us from severe pollution, material shortages, and military tensions? Rare metals are essential to electric vehicles, fighter jets, wind turbines, and solar panels, and also to our smartphones, computers, tablets, and other everyday connected objects. But consumers know very little about how they are mined and traded, or the environmental, economic, and geopolitical costs of this dependence. This book reveals the dark side of the world that awaits us. It is an undercover tale of a technological odyssey that has promised much, and a look behind the scenes. Behind it all lurks China, which has captured the lion's share of the ownership and processing of rare metals we now can't do without. Drawing on six years of research across a dozen countries, this book shows that by breaking free of fossil fuels, we are in fact setting ourselves up for a new dependence–on rare metals that have become vital to our new ecological and digital society. (publ.)
Note: Originally published as: La Guerre des Métaux Rares: La Face Cachée de la Transition Énergétique et Numérique (Paris: Éditions Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2018).
An "eye-opening, sometimes alarming, and ultimately inspiring" natural history of rivers and their complex and ancient relationship with human civilization (Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction). Rivers, more than any road, technology, or political leader, have shaped the course of human civilization. They have opened frontiers, founded cities, settled borders, and fed billions. They promote life, forge peace, grant power, and can capriciously destroy everything in their path. Even today, rivers remain a powerful global force -- one that is more critical than ever to our future.
A gorgeous, large format volume that shows each hand-drawn illustration in stunning detail. This new edition preserves the original magnificent illustrations and text, translated into English for the first time. Features more than 550 exquisite quill-pen drawings of trees. Complete with tables of seasonal color variation and projections of shadows cast during the hours of daylight and season by season, no other tree book contains such detailed and scientific drawings. A legendary and unsurpassed botanical masterwork. Landscape designers will think in new ways about the effect of seasons and the time of day on trees, and anyone interested in nature and trees will be captivated by the stunning illustrations. "This book could be considered the Bible for tree lovers."--Western Art & Architecture An incredible book for anyone interested in trees
Publication Date: Chicago: U. Chicago Pr., 2020. xiii, 389 p.
Reviewed: NYRB 11 Feb. 2021 p. 14. Description: It has been nearly 60 years since the publication of Silent Spring, in which Rachel Carson brought to light evidence of the devastating ecological effects of pesticides. This book, by Frank von Hippel, is a sweeping history of these chemicals and our complicated relationship with them. It shows how they’ve made the modern world possible, while at the same time threatening its essential fabric. “This book starts with a tragedy that led scientists on an urgent mission to prevent famine with chemicals,” von Hippel writes in his manuscript’s Prologue. “It ends with the realization that those chemicals were insidiously damaging human health and driving species toward extinction.” Along the way, we learn how pesticides’ de-structive legacy led to the environmental movement and made possible a new era of ecological thinking. (publ.)
A large-format, heavily illustrated look at the wide adaptability and rich diversity of the plant kingdom. All the plants around us today are descended from simple algae that emerged more than 500 million years ago. While new plant species are still being discovered, it is thought that there are around 400,000 species in existence. From towering redwood trees and diminutive mosses to plants that have stinging hairs and poisons, the diverse range of plant life is extraordinary. How Plants Work is a fascinating inquiry into, and celebration of, the complex plant kingdom. With an extended introduction explaining the basics of plant morphology--the study of plant structures and their functions. Abundantly illustrated with 400 color images documenting a wide range of examples, How Plants Work is a highly informative account about an integral part of our natural world.
By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change--including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours. Losing Earth tells the human story of climate change in even richer, more intimate terms. It reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry's coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves. A work of dramatic history that articulates a moral framework for understanding how we got here, and how we must go forward.
The theory of plate tectonics transformed earth science. The hypothesis that the earth's outermost layers consist of mostly rigid plates that move over an inner surface helped describe the growth of new seafloor, confirm continental drift, and explain why earthquakes and volcanoes occur in some places and not others. This book gives an invaluable insider's perspective on the theory's development and its implications. Sykes combines lucid explanation of how plate tectonics revolutionized geology with unparalleled personal reflections. He entered the field when it was on the cusp of radical discoveries. Sykes delves into the controversies over earthquake prediction and their importance, he highlights geology's lessons for nuclear safety, explaining why historic earthquake patterns are crucial to understanding the risks to power plants. Plate Tectonics and Great Earthquakes is the story of a scientist witnessing a revolution and playing an essential role in making it.
Publication Date: New York: Little, Brown, Spark, 2019. 360 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 30 August 2020 p. 24. Description: From injuries caused by lead poisoning to the devastating effects of atmospheric pollution, infectious disease, and industrial waste, Americans of color are harmed by environmental hazards in staggeringly disproportionate numbers. This toxic exposure and institutional negligence causes irreparable physical harm to millions of people across the country–cutting lives tragically short and needlessly burdening our health care system. But these deadly environments create another insidious and often overlooked consequence: robbing communities of color, and America as a whole, of intellectual power. The 1994 publication of The Bell Curve and its controversial thesis catapulted the topic of genetic racial differences in IQ to the forefront of a renewed and heated debate. Now, science writer Harriet A. Washington adds her analysis to the fray, arguing that IQ is a biased and flawed metric, but that it is useful for tracking cognitive damage. She takes apart the spurious notion of intelligence as an inherited trait, using copious data that instead point to a different cause of the reported African American-white IQ gap: environmental racism–a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services. She investigates heavy metals, neurotoxins, deficient prenatal care, bad nutrition, and even pathogens as chief agents influencing intelligence to explain why communities of color are disproportionately affected–and what can be done to remedy this devastating problem. (publ.)
An epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time"--the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present--he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: "Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?" At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
Publication Date: New York: New Pr., 2020. xi, 208 p.
Reviewed: NYT 15 Nov. 2020 p. SR2 (author op/ed); NYT/BR 27 Dec. 2020 p. 18; NYRB 25 Feb. 2021 p. 16. Description: Catherine Flowers grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called “Bloody Lowndes” because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it’s Ground Zero for a new movement that is Flowers’s life’s work. It’s a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor, lack an affordable means of disposing cleanly of the waste from their toilets, and, as a consequence, live amid filth. Flowers calls this America’s dirty secret. In this powerful book she tells the story of systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that foster Third World conditions, not just in Alabama, but across America, in Appalachia, Central California, coastal Florida, Alaska, the urban Midwest, and on Native American reservations in the West. Flowers’s book is the inspiring story of the evolution of an activist, from country girl to student civil rights organizer to environmental justice champion at Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. It shows how sanitation is becoming too big a problem to ignore as climate change brings sewage to more backyards, and not only those of poor minorities. (publ.)
In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. Some people reject the fact, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves--with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat--and don't eat--for breakfast.
The pastoral image of Amish communities living simply and in touch with the land strikes a deep chord with many Americans. Environmentalists have lauded the Amish as iconic models for a way of life that is local, self-sufficient, and in harmony with nature. Arguing that there is considerable diversity in Amish engagements with nature at home, at school, at work, and outdoors. They demonstrate that Amish households are not uniformly lower in resource use compared to their rural, non-Amish neighbors, though aspects of their home economy are relatively self-sufficient. The first comprehensive study of Amish understandings of the natural world, this compelling book complicates the image of the Amish and provides a more realistic understanding of the Amish relationship with the environment.
Publication Date: Chicago: U. Chicago Pr., 2019. 290 p.
Reviewed: NYRB 26 Sept. 2019 p. 64. Description: Air pollution prematurely kills seven million people every year, including more than one hundred thousand Americans. It is strongly linked to strokes, heart attacks, many kinds of cancer, dementia, and premature birth, among other ailments. Beth Gardiner travels the world to tell the story of this modern-day plague, taking readers from the halls of power in Washington and the diesel-fogged London streets she walks with her daughter to Poland’s coal heartland and India’s gasping capital. In a grip-ping narrative that’s alive with powerful voices and personalities, she ex-poses the political decisions and economic forces that have kept so many of us breathing dirty air. (publ.)
As of 2017, 69 percent of Americans were in favor of restricting carbon emissions from coal power plants out of concern for climate change and the state of the environment, but can we afford to make the change to cleaner energy sources? This volume looks at the various alternative energy sources and their economic viability, exploring the debate about which path forward makes the most sense. Readers will gain a better understanding of the crossroads facing policymakers and the energy sector and be empowered to form their own opinions about how this urgent issue should be addressed.
Publication Date: New York: Greenhaven Pr., 2020. 176 p.
Note: Library Standing Order. Description: In the past quarter-century, the total area of developed land in the United States increased by nearly 50 percent. Such a shift comes with substantial environmental, economic, and social impacts. Conflicts arise over regulation, with advocates concerned about the harm excessive development does to the environment and critics charging that urbanization is a natural shift in the market. The diverse perspectives in this resource strive to address the tough questions that arise from this important issue. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Greenhaven Pr., 2020. 176 p.
Description: Unlike natural disasters, which happen because of the earth’s natural geological processes, environmental catastrophes are devastating events that occur due to humanity’s impact on the environment. These can include nuclear bombings, oil spills, and more recently the extreme weather events brought about by climate change. Wildfires, heat waves, flooding, droughts, and numerous other catastrophic scenarios manifest as a result. Use this volume to inform and alert your readers about this essential topic. With the global impact of environmental catastrophes becoming increasingly pronounced, scientists and politicians alike question what the best course of action may be to slow or even reverse the devastation. With this book, readers will form intelligent opinions that can help shape future action about necessary solutions. (publ.) Note: Library standing order.
In these new essays, Williams explores the concept of erosion: of the land, of the self, of belief, of fear. She wrangles with the paradox of desert lands and the truth of erosion: What is weathered, worn, and whittled away through wind, water, and time is as powerful as what remains. Our undoing is also our becoming. She looks at the current state of American politics: the dire social and environmental implications of recent choices to gut Bears Ears National Monument, sacred lands to Native People of the American Southwest, and undermine the Endangered Species Act. She testifies that climate change is not an abstraction, citing the drought outside her door and at times, within herself. But beautiful moments of relief and refuge, solace and spirituality come--in her conversations with Navajo elders, art, and, always, in the land itself. She asks, urgently: "Is Earth not enough? Can the desert be a prayer?"
Publication Date: New York: Henry Holt, 2019. 291 p.
Reviewed: TLS 13 Sept. 2019 p. 3. Description: Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature–issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic–was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience. His new book tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history–and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away. (publ.)
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 83; NYT/BR 13 Oct. 2019 p. 18; TLS 22 Nov. 2019 p. 40; NYRB 27 Feb. 2020 p. 21. Description: What should I wear? It’s one of the fundamental questions we ask ourselves every day. More than ever, we are told it should be something new. Today, the clothing industry churns out 80 billion garments a year and employs every sixth person on Earth. Historically, the apparel trade has exploited labor, the environment, and intellectual property–and in the last three decades, with the simultaneous unfurling of fast fashion, globalization, and the tech revolution, those abuses have multiplied exponentially, primarily out of view. We are in dire need of an entirely new human-scale model. Bestselling journalist Dana Thomas has traveled the globe to discover the visionary designers and companies who are propelling the industry toward that more positive future by reclaiming traditional craft and launching cutting-edge sustainable technologies to produce better fashion. (publ.)
From flammable tap water and sick livestock to the recent onset of hundreds of earthquakes in Oklahoma, the impact of fracking in the United States is far-reaching and deeply felt. In Fractivism Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking and the ways scientists and everyday people are coming together to hold accountable an industry that has managed to evade regulation.
Publication Date: New York: Liveright, 2019. 608 p.
Reviewed: PW 18 Feb. 2019 p. 77; NYT/BR 11 Aug. 2019 p. 8; NYRB 16 Jan. 2020 p. 24. Description: Hailed by the New York Times as “the father of American conservation,” George Bird Grinnell (1849–1938), the Brooklyn-born son of a banker, looked beyond a burgeoning cityscape and saw a brighter future for the whole country. In this book, John Taliaferro traces the naturalist’s expansive trajectory from his time at Yale through his dozens of expeditions out west, riding alongside General Custer in the Black Hills before Little Big-horn, to the adventures that continued even after he became editor-in-chief of Forest & Stream. Drawing on no less than 40,000 pages of Grinnell’s correspondence and dozens of travel notebooks, Taliaferro highlights a century of critical campaigns, from the protection of the vanishing buffalo and the creation of national parks that defined Theodore Roosevelt’s administration to sensitive ethnographies of Plains Indian tribes and the founding of the Audubon Society and the Boone and Crockett Club. (publ.) Note: No direct relation to congregational minister Josiah Bushnell Grinnel (1821-1891) for whom the Iowa town of Grinnell is named.
We know that the Earth's climate is changing, and that the magnitude of this change is colossal. At the same time, the world outside is still a natural world, and one we can experience on a granular level every day. Ground Truth is a guide to living in this condition of changing nature, to paying attention instead of turning away, and to gathering facts from which a fuller understanding of the natural world can emerge over time. Featuring detailed guidance for keeping records of the plants, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, and mammals in your neighborhood, this book also ponders the value of everyday observations, probes the connections between seasons and climate change, and traces the history of phenology--the study and timing of natural events--and the uses to which it can be put. An expansive yet accessible book, Ground Truth invites readers to help lay the groundwork for a better understanding of the nature of change itself.
Publication Date: New York: Grand Central, 2019. 288 p.
Reviewed: PW 27 May 2019 p. 83; NYT/BR 15 Sept. 2019 p. 11. Description: As we become a more digital society, the gains that have been made for the environment by moving toward a paperless world with more and more efficient devices will soon be or already have been offset by the number of devices in our lives that are always using energy. But many don’t think about the impact on the environment of the “Internet of things.” Whether it’s a microwave connected to the internet, use of Netflix, or online shopping, these technological advances have created new impacts that the people who are most well-versed in these issues haven’t considered. In this book, Tatiana Schlossberg reveals the complicated, confounding and even infuriating ways that we all participate in a greenhouse gas-intensive economy and society, and how some of the biggest and most consequential areas of unintended emissions and environmental impacts are unknowingly part of our daily activities. She will empower people to make the best choices that they can, while allowing them to draw their own conclusions. (publ.)
Not a day goes by that humans aren't exposed to toxins in our environment--be it at home, in the car, or workplace. But what about those toxic places and items that aren't marked? Why are we warned about some toxic spaces' substances and not others? The essays in Inevitably Toxic consider the exposure of bodies in the United States, Canada and Japan to radiation, industrial waste, and pesticides.
Over the many millennia that the human race has inhabited the planet, a practical use has been found for almost every natural resource that is here. However, since the Industrial Revolution, many of the resources that we have come to rely on are being depleted, some at an alarming rate. The misuse of others, such as fossil fuels, is causing such damage to the environment that measures are being taken at an international level to restrict their use. This book explains how the natural resources of the Earth originated, by outlining the astronomical and geological evolution of the planet in the early period of its existence.
Publication Date: Brooklyn: Melville House, 2019. xiii, 304 p.
Reviewed: LR July 2019 p. 11; NYRB 26 Sept. 2019 p. 64. Description: Scientists were aware of the impact of air pollution as far back as the seventeenth century. Now, as more of us live in cities, we are closer than ever to pollution sources, and the detrimental impact on the environment and our health has reached crisis point. This book will introduce you to the individuals whose research paved the way to today’s understanding of air pollution, often at their own detriment. The author’s global story examines incidents from London’s Great Smog to Norway’s acid rain; Los Angeles’s traffic problem to wood-burning damage in New Zealand. He argues that the only way to alter the future course of our planet and improve collective global health is for city and national governments to stop ignoring evidence and take action, persuading the public and making polluters bear the full cost of the harm that they do. (publ.)
The Long Shadows is the first book to offer global perspectives on the environmental history of World War II. Based on long-term research, the selected essays represent the best available studies in different fields and countries. With contributions touching on Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, the book has a truly global approach. The Long Shadows considers the profound and lasting impact World War II has had on global environments, encompassing polar, temperate, and tropical ecological zones.
Journalist Adam Higginbotham's definitive, years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster--and a powerful investigation into how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century's greatest disasters. Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history's worst nuclear disaster.
Protect yourself, your children, your pets, and your home from bugs -- without using harsh or toxic chemicals! Herbalist Stephanie Tourles offers 75 simple recipes for safe, effective bug repellents you can make at home from all-natural ingredients. For protection from mosquitos, ticks, and other biting insects, there are sprays, balms, body oils, and tinctures, with scents ranging from eucalyptus to floral, lemon, vanilla, and woodsy spice. There are also recipes for pets, such as herbal shampoo, bedding formulas, and flea-and-tick collars and powders. And Tourles includes repellents for the home, such as sachets that repel moths, carpet powders that repel fleas and ants, and essential oil repellents to keep your pantry pest-free. A detailed ingredient dictionary explains the properties of all the herbs, essential oils, and other key ingredients.
Publication Date: New York: Pegasus Books, 2019. xxii, 276 p., 24 p. of plates.
Reviewed: NYRB 16 Jan. 2020 p. 24; PW 24 June 2019 p. 65. Description: John Muir, the most famous naturalist in American history, protected Yosemite, co-founded the Sierra Club, and is sometimes called the Father of the National Parks. A poor immigrant, self-taught, individualistic, and skeptical of institutions, his idealistic belief in the spiritual benefits of holistic natural systems led him to a philosophy of preserving wilderness unimpaired. Gifford Pinchot founded the U.S. Forest Service and advised his friend Theodore Roosevelt on environmental policy. Raised in wealth, educated in privilege, and interested in how institutions and community can overcome failures in individual virtue, Pinchot’s pragmatic belief in professional management led him to a philosophy of sustainably conserving natural resources. When these rivaling perspectives meet, what happens? For decades, the story of their relationship has been told as a split between the conservation and preservation philosophies, sparked by a proposal to dam a remote Yosemite valley called Hetch Hetchy. But a decade before that argument, Muir and Pinchot camped together alongside Montana’s jewel-like Lake McDonald, which was at the heart of a region not yet consecrated as Glacier National Park. At stake in 1896 was the new idea that some landscapes should be collectively, permanently owned by a democratic government. Although many people today think of public lands as an American birthright, their very existence was then in doubt, and dependent on a merger of the talents of these two men. (publ.)
Although hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, the temperature by the end of the sixteenth century plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbors were covered with ice, birds literally dropped out of the sky, and "frost fairs" were erected on a frozen Thames--with kiosks, taverns, and even brothels that become a semi-permanent part of the city. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, they gave rise to the growth of European cities, the emergence of early capitalism, and the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment. A timely examination of how a society responds to profound and unexpected change, Nature's Mutiny will transform the way we think about climate change in the twenty-first century and beyond.
Publication Date: [Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies Ser.] Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins UP, 2018. xiv, 294 p.
Reviewed: TLS 14 June 2019 p. 32. Description: The pastoral image of Amish communities living simply and in touch with the land strikes a deep chord with many Americans. Environmentalists have lauded the Amish as iconic models for a way of life that is local, self-sufficient, and in harmony with nature. But the Amish themselves do not always embrace their ecological reputation, and critics have long questioned the portrayal of the Amish as models of environmental stewardship. In this book, David L. McConnell and Marilyn D. Loveless examine how this prevailing notion of the environmentally conscious Amish fits with the changing realities of their lives. Drawing on 150 interviews conducted over the course of 7 years, as well as a survey of household resource use among Amish and non-Amish people, they explore how the Amish understand nature in their daily lives and how their actions impact the natural world. (publ.)
In The Nature of Plants, ecologist and nursery owner Craig Huegel demystifies the complex lives of plants and provides readers with an elucidating journey into their inner and outer workings. Beginning with the importance of light, water, and soil, Huegel describes photosynthesis, plant circadian rhythms, and how best to position plants to receive optimal sunlight. He explains choosing artificial lights for landscaping. Sections on plant structure and reproduction focus in detail on major plant organs roots, stems, and leaves and cover flowering, pollination, fruit development, and seed germination. With color illustrations, photographs, and real-life examples from his own gardening experiences, Huegel equips budding botanists, ecologists, and even the most novice gardeners with knowledge that will help them understand and foster plants of all types.
A riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas. Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways -- drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world's economies rely. Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.
"Plastics!" In the 50 years since Dustin Hoffman's character in The Graduate was instructed that this was the career field of the future, we have not been able to escape this ubiquitous but poorly understood material. Author Jack Buffington argues that the plastics crisis is careening toward a tipping point from which there will be no return. There is still time, however, to do something about this crisis if we have the imagination and the will to move away from the failed policies of the past. This book is the first to propose a new model for linking our synthetic world to the natural one, rather than seeking to treat them as separate entities. The key is supply chain innovation. Buffington presents five market-based solutions based on this principle that will allow consumers to continue to use plastic, which has in many ways enabled our way of life.
A global tour of energy--the builder of human civilization and also its greatest threat. Energy is humanity's single most important resource. In 2019, as we face down growing demand for and accumulating environmental impacts from energy, we are at a crossroads and the stakes are high. But history shows us that energy's great value is that it allows societies to reinvent themselves. Power Trip explores how energy has transformed societies of the past and offers wisdom for today's looming energy crisis. Scientific innovation needs public support. Our current energy crisis is real, but it is solvable. We have the power.
Ecosystems require balance to survive, and when that balance is compromised, disaster can befall the whole system. To keep a balance in our global ecosystem, we need to use resources efficiently, equitably, and sustainably. In both nature and economics, we observe that when a healthy distribution of resources is achieved, systems can not only function but flourish. The United States recycles roughly 34% of its waste and has been stuck at this level for decades. Recycling brings a balance to our system by managing resources in a loop. When done well, it benefits communities and the environment. Individuals are a key part of connecting this loop because we provide a supply of materials and a demand for new recycled products.
Publication Date: Philadelphia: Oxbow Books, 2019. x, 181 p.
Description: This book is about sustainable agriculture and architecture in the past, and the engineering works that supported them, but it also looks to the future. Ancient technologies are what engineers define “intermediate,” which means that they are often simple, low in cost and they depend on local materials. Significantly, they don’t require fossil fuels. There is a lot that we in the West can learn from the past and from developing countries where people still practice traditional agriculture, and there is now broad agreement among many governments, non-government organisations, engineers and agronomists, as well as the United Nations, that intermediate technologies are often the most appropriate way forward in developing countries. The New Green Revolution is looking to traditional knowledge to solve problems of decreasing yields and environmental impoverishment, rather than to technology that is dependent on the diminishing resource of fossil fuels. (publ.)
"No organisms are more important to life as we know it than algae. Say "algae" and most people think of pond scum. What they don't know is that without algae, none of us would exist. There are as many algae on Earth as stars in the universe, and they have been essential to life on our planet for eons. Algae created the Earth we know today, with its oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans, and coral reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants. Today, seaweed production is a multi-billion dollar industry, with algae hard at work to make your sushi, chocolate milk, beer, paint, toothpaste, shampoo and so much more. Slime we'll meet the algae innovators working toward a sustainable future: from seaweed farmers in South Korea, to scientists using it to clean the dead zones in our waterways, to the entrepreneurs fighting to bring algae fuel and plastics to market. With a multitude of lively, surprising science and history, Ruth Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour. Whether you thought algae was just the gunk in your fish tank or you eat seaweed with your oatmeal, Slime will delight and amaze with its stories of the good, the bad, and the up-and-coming.
Stain Busters! contains all of the clever, cost-effective, environmentally friendly recipes you'll need for keeping every inch of your home spotless using everyday ingredients such as lemons, vinegar, and bicarbonate soda to beat the commercial products at their own game! With tips on cleaning stubborn food, drink and grease stains, and advice on how to keep everything from your kitchen sink to your bathroom tiles looking as clean as the day they were installed, this is the must-have guide to home cleaning and taking control of your cleaning budget and environmental impact.
In Still Waters, Curt Stager introduces us to the secret worlds hidden beneath the surfaces of our most remarkable lakes, leading us on a journey from the pristine waters of the Adirondack Mountains to the wilds of Siberia, from Thoreau's cherished pond to the Sea of Galilee. Through decades of firsthand investigations, Stager examines the significance of our impacts on some of the world's most iconic inland waters.
A landmark book that strives to provide both grand theory and practical application, innovatively describing the structure and dynamics of human ecosystems. As the world faces ever more complex and demanding environmental and social challenges, the need for interdisciplinary models and practical guidance becomes acute.
The extraordinary story of the species that became our allies. Dogs became our companions Wheat fed a booming population Cattle gave us meat and milk Maize fuelled the growth of empires Potatoes brought us feast and famine Chickens led us to wonder about tomorrow Rice promised us a golden future Horses gave us strength and speed Apples travelled with us HUMANS TAMED THEM ALL For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals to stay alive - until they began to tame them. Combining archaeology and cutting-edge genetics, Tamed tells the story of the greatest revolution in human history and reveals the fascinating origins of ten crucial domesticated species; and how they, in turn, transformed us.
Throwaway Nation takes a look at the pileup of waste in the US, including the problem of plastic, the industry of over medication, e-waste products, everyday garbage, fast fashion trash, space waste, and other forms of profligacy that serve to make our nation the biggest waster on the planet. Looking at the environmental impact of so much garbage, Dondero explores not just how we got here and where we're headed, but ways in which we might be able to curb the tide.
Seth M. Siegel shows how our drinking water got contaminated, what it may be doing to us, and what we must do to make it safe. From big cities and suburbs to the rural heartland, chemicals linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, birth defects, and lowered IQ routinely spill from our taps. Meanwhile, the bottled water industry has been fanning our fears about tap water, but bottled water is often no safer. The tragedy is that existing technologies could launch a new age of clean, healthy, and safe tap water for only a few dollars a week per person. Scrupulously researched, Troubled Water is full of shocking stories about contaminated water found throughout the country and about the everyday heroes who have successfully forced changes in the quality and safety of our drinking water. And it concludes with what America must do to reverse decades of neglect and play-it-safe inaction by government at all levels in order to keep our most precious resource safe.
Mirages have long astonished travelers of the sea and beguiled thirsty desert voyagers. Starting in the late eighteenth century, mirages became a symbol in the West of Oriental despotism--a negative, but also enchanted, emblem. Our obsession with mirages conveys a sense of escape, of fascination, of a desire to be deceived. The Waterless Sea is the first book devoted to the theories and history of mirages. Christopher Pinney navigates a sinuous pathway through a mysterious and evanescent terrain, showing how mirages have impacted politics, culture, science, and religion--and how we can continue to learn from their sublimity.
Publication Date: New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2019. 272 p.
Reviewed: NYT/BR 13 Oct. 2019 p. 19. Description: Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the reality of human-caused climate change truly believe it? If we did, surely we would be roused to act on what we know. Will future generations distinguish between those who didn’t believe in the science of global warming and those who said they accepted the science but failed to change their lives in response? Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way. The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves–with our all-too-human reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat–and don’t eat–for breakfast. (publ.)
Publication Date: London: Pacador/Macmillan, 2018. xviii, 362 p., 16 p. of plates.
Description: Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, this is, above all, an inspiring story of hope. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer–proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain–the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade. Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has be-come a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life–all by itself. Personal and inspirational, Isabella Tree’s book is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Basic Books, 2018. xvi, 404 p., 10 p. of plates.
Reviewed: NYRB 4 Apr. 2019 p. 22; Economist 9 Mar. 2019 p. 75. Description: An in depth look at the stories of firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who worked to extinguish the nuclear inferno of Chernobyl identifies the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry. April 26, 1986. Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nu-clear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill. Plokhy tells the dramatic stories of the firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who heroically extinguished the nuclear inferno. He lays bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, and in doing so traces the disaster to the authoritarian character of Communist party rule, the regime’s control of scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Bloomsbury, 2018. xii, 162 p.
Reviewed:TLS 16 Nov. 2018 p. 30. Description: At the birth of her first grandchild, Robinson’s fight for climate change be-came deeply personal. Her travels led to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. Now she presents a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope. Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people–people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal. (publ.)
Publication Date: Opinions Throughout History; vol. 5] Amenia, N.Y.: Grey House, 2019. xxxii, 783 p.
Description: Following a detailed introduction discussing the effect of human activity on Earth’s environment and the polarized opinions about this complex issue, and comprehensive timeline on the subject, the chapters that follow give a detailed account of significant environmental events, beginning with the ecological alteration of the Delaware River Valley before the first European settlers and ending with President Trump’s rollback of environmental protection policies. … Documents are reprinted–entirely or excerpted–and supported by detailed narrative written by historian Micah Issitt. Often, the document is broken up into sections to better demonstrate points dis-cussed in the accompanying commentary, detailing significance and how it reflects the ongoing tension between opposing opinions in America. (publ.)
Publication Date: Nancy Campbell. New York: Scribner, 2018. 322 p.
Reviewed: TLS 15 Feb. 2019 p. 32. Description: Long captivated by the solid yet impermanent nature of ice, by its stark, rugged beauty, acclaimed poet and writer Nancy Campbell sets out from the world’s northernmost museum–at Upernavik in Greenland–to explore it in all its facets. From the Bodleian Library archives to the traces left by the great polar expeditions, from remote Arctic settlements to the ice houses of Calcutta, she examines the impact of ice on our lives at a time when it is itself under threat from climate change. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: W. W. Norton, 2019. 420 p.
Reviewed: NYRB 4 Apr. 2019 p. 22; NYT/BR 7 Apr. 2019 p. 14; Economist 9 Mar. 2019 p. 75; LR March 2019 p. 41; LJ Mar. 2019 p. 143. Description: A chilling exposé of the international effort to minimize the health and environmental consequences of nuclear radiation in the wake of Chernobyl. Governments and journalists tell us that though Chernobyl was “the worst nuclear disaster in history,” a reassuringly small number of people died (44), and nature recovered. Yet, drawing on a decade of fine-grained archival research and interviews in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, Kate Brown uncovers a much more disturbing story–one in which radioactive isotypes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties. Scores of Soviet scientists, bureaucrats, and civilians documented stunning increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers, and a multitude of prosaic diseases, which they linked to Chernobyl. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons testing during the Cold War, international scientists and diplomats tried to bury or discredit it. A haunting revelation of how political exigencies shape responses to disaster, Brown makes clear the irreversible impact on every living thing not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiation from nuclear energy and weaponry. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2019. xx, 538 p.,16 p. of plates.
Review: NYT/BR 7 Apr. 2019 p. 14; LJ Winter 2018 p. 83; Economist 9 Mar. 2019 p. 7; LR March 2019 p. 41; NYT/BR 15 Dec. 2019 p. 13 ("10 Best Books of 2019"). Description: Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, journalist Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. (publ.)
Publication Date: Lincoln: U. Nebraska Pr., 2018. xi, 417 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Feb. 2019 vol. 56 no. 6) Highly recommended for community college libraries. Description: The Ogallala aquifer, a vast underground water reserve ex-tending from South Dakota through Texas, is the product of eons of accumulated glacial melts, ancient Rocky Mountain snowmelts, and rainfall, all percolating slowly through gravel beds hundreds of feet thick. This book is an environmental history and historical geography that tells the story of human defiance and human commitment within the Ogallala region. It describes the Great Plains’ natural resources, the history of settlement and dryland farming, and the remarkable irrigation technologies that have industrialized farming in the region. This newly updated third edition dis-cusses three main issues: long-term drought and its implications, the efforts of several key groundwater management districts to regulate the aquifer, and T. Boone Pickens’s failed effort to capture water from the aquifer to supply major Texas urban areas. (publ.)
Publication Date: Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2019. 152 p.
Reviewed: Choice (May 2019 vol. 56 no. 9); Top 75 books highly recommended for community college libraries. Description: “Plastics!” In the time since Dustin Hoffman’s character in The Graduate was instructed that this was the career field of the future, we have not been able to escape this ubiquitous but poorly understood material. Author Jack Buffington argues that the plastics crisis is careening toward a tipping point from which there will be no return. There is still time, however, to do something about this crisis if we have the imagination and the will to move away from the failed policies of the past. This book is the first to propose a new model for linking our synthetic world to the nat-ural one, rather than seeking to treat them as separate entities. The key is supply chain innovation. Buffington presents five market-based solutions based on this principle that will allow consumers to continue to use plastic, which has in many ways enabled our way of life. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Greenhaven Pr., 2019. 200 p.
Description: In a world in which so many are hungry, scientific advances in agriculture can have a substantial impact. Pesticides and GMOs help ensure that more of us can enjoy nutritious produce, but do they do more harm than good? From fears of causing cancer to the future of small and family farmers, there are enough questions about pesticides and GMOs to fuel their critics. Yet the list of benefits is hard to ignore. The diverse viewpoints from authoritative voices in the field will provide readers with a full picture of this complex topic. (publ.) Note: Library Standing Order.
Publication Date: Washington, D.C.: Island Pr., 2019. 124 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Jul. 2019 vol. 56 no. 11) Recommended for community college libraries. Description: Plastics have transformed every aspect of our lives. Yet the very properties that make them attractive–they are cheap to make, light, and durable–spell disaster when trash makes its way into the environment. Author Michiel Roscam Abbing of the Plastic Soup Foundation reveals the scope of the issue: plastic trash now lurks on every corner of the planet. With photography and graphics, he brings this challenge to brilliant life for readers. Yet it also sends a message of hope; although the scale of the problem is massive, so is the dedication of activists working to check it. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Plastic Soup Atlas van de Wereld (Hilversum, The Neth.: Lias Uitgeverij, 2018).
Reviewed: Choice (Jun. 2019 vol. 56 no. 10); Top 75 books recommended for community college libraries. Description: Ecosystems require balance to survive, and when that balance is compromised, disaster can befall the whole system. To keep a balance in our global ecosystem, we need to use resources efficiently, equitably, and sustainably. In both nature and economics, we observe that when a healthy distribution of resources is achieved, systems can not only function but flourish. The United States recycles roughly 34% of its waste and has been stuck at this level for decades. Recycling brings a balance to our system by managing resources in a loop. When done well, it benefits communities and the environment. Individuals are a key part of connecting this loop because we provide a supply of materials and a demand for new recycled products. But many of us don’t know what happens after those items leave our homes. We’re confused by inconsistent rules of what we can and can’t recycle. Our confusion has huge consequences and is a reason why our recycling is stuck. (publ.)
Publication Date: Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pr., 2018. xiv, 330 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Dec. 2018 vol. 56 no. 4) Top 75 Books recommended for community college libraries. Description: Wind and solar are the most dynamic components of the global power sector. How did this happen? After the 1973 oil crisis, the limitations of an energy system based on fossil fuels created an urgent need to experiment with alternatives, and some pioneering governments reaped political gains by investing heavily in alternative energy such as wind or solar power. Public policy enabled growth over time, and economies of scale brought down costs dramatically. In this book, Michaël Aklin and Johannes Urpelainen offer a comprehensive political analysis of the rapid growth in renewable wind and solar power, mapping an energy transition through theory, case studies, and policy analysis. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Viking, 2018. xi, 317 p.
Reviewed: LJ 15 Sept. 2018 p. 71. Description: From a 2017 Pulitzer-winning newspaperman, an unsentimental ode to America’s heartland as seen in small-town Iowa–a story of reinvention and resilience, environmental and economic struggle, and surprising diversity and hope. When The Storm Lake Times, a tiny Iowa twice-weekly, won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on big corporate agri-industry for poisoning the lo-cal rivers and lake, it was a coup on many counts: a strike for the well being of a rural community; a triumph for that endangered species, a family-run rural news weekly; and a salute to the special talents of a fierce and formidable native son, Art Cullen. In this candid and timely book, Cullen describes how the rural prairies have changed dramatically over his career, as seen from the vantage point of a farming and meatpacking town of 15,000 in Northwest Iowa. Politics, agriculture, the environment, and immigration are all themes in Storm Lake, a chronicle of a resilient newspaper, as much a survivor as its town. Storm Lake’s people are the book's heart: the family that swam the Mekong River to find Storm Lake; the Latina with a baby who wonders if she'll be deported from the only home she has known; the farmer who watches markets in real time and tries to man-age within a relentless agriculture supply chain that seeks efficiency for cheaper pork, prepared foods, and ethanol. Storm Lake may be a community in flux, occasionally in crisis (farming isn't for the faint hearted), but one that’s not disappearing–in fact, its population is growing with immigrants from Laos, Mexico, and elsewhere. Thirty languages are now spoken there, and soccer is more popular than football. (publ.) Note: Local interest: Storm Lake, Iowa.
Publication Date: Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pr., 2015. 235 p.
Description: The word “sustainability” has been connected to everything from a certain kind of economic development to corporate promises about improved supply sourcing. But despite the apparent ubiquity of the term, the concept of sustainability has come to mean a number of specific things. In this accessible guide to the meanings of sustainability, Kent Portney describes the evolution of the idea and examines its application in a variety of contemporary contexts–from economic growth and consumption to government policy and urban planning. Portney takes as his starting point the 1987 definition by the World Commission on Environment and Development of sustainability as economic development activity that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” At its heart, Portney explains, sustainability focuses on the use and depletion of natural resources. It is not the same as environmental protection or natural resource conservation; it is more about finding some sort of steady state so that the earth can support both human population and economic growth. (publ.)
Publication Date: Iowa City: U. Iowa Pr., 2018. viii, 183 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Nov. 2018 vol. 56 no. 3) Recommended for community college libraries. Description: So far, humanity hasn't done very well in addressing the ongoing climate catastrophe. Veteran science educator L. S. Gardiner believes we can learn to do better by understanding how we’ve dealt with other types of environmental risks in the past and why we are dragging our feet in addressing this most urgent emergency. Weaving scientific facts and research together with humor and emotion, Gardiner explores human responses to erosion, earthquakes, fires, invasive species, marine degradation, volcanic eruptions, and floods in order to illuminate why we find it so challenging to deal with climate change. Insight emerges from unexpected places--a mermaid exhibit, a Magic 8 Ball, and midcentury cartoons about a future that never came to be. Instead of focusing on the economics and geopolitics of the debate over climate change, this book brings large-scale disaster to a human scale, emphasizing the role of the individual. (publ.)
Publication Date: Cambridge, England: Cambridge UP, 2019. xii, 288 p.
Reviewed: Choice (Sept. 2019 vol. 57 no. 1) Recommended for community college libraries. Description: Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics–the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing, what are the knock-on effects of our actions, and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do? Fortunately, Mike Berners-Lee has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable. This book maps it out in an accessible and entertaining way, filled with astonishing facts and analysis. For the first time you’ll find big-picture perspective on the environmental and economic challenges of the day laid out in one place, and traced through to the underlying roots–questions of how we live and think. This book will shock you, surprise you–and then make you laugh. And you’ll find practical and even inspiring ideas for what you can actually do to help humanity thrive on this–our only–planet. (publ.)
Description: Americans are burying ourselves in our own waste. It’s befouling our air, land, waters, food, and bodies. The US tosses out enough foodstuff to feed the rest of the world. America is the largest buyer of fashion and cosmetics, the second dirtiest industry in the world. We lead the planet in transportation usage and waste, and we’re now polluting outer space. Jeff Dondero takes a look at the pileup of waste in the US, including the problem of plastic, the industry of overmedication, e-waste products, everyday garbage, fast fashion trash, space waste, and other forms of profligacy that serve to make our nation the biggest waster on the planet. Looking at the environmental impact of so much garbage, Dondero explores not just how we got here and where we’re headed, but ways in which we might be able to curb the tide. (publ.)
Publication Date: New Haven, Conn.: Yale UP, 2017. 400 p.
Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 120 Description: With tales of pythons in the Everglades, Asian carp and lam-prey in the Great Lakes, Japanese knotweed seemingly everywhere, and the invasive organisms we don’t see—pathogens and microbes such as the Zika virus—this book rivets attention on a new ecological reality. Award-winning science journalist Leslie Anthony leads readers on adventures physical and philosophical as he explores how and why invasive species are hijacking ecosystems around the globe. He introduces field researchers and managers who seek to understand the biological, social, and economic aspects of this complex issue, and whose work collectively suggests the emergence of a global shadow economy centered on invasives. (publ.)
Publication Date: Tuscaloosa: U. Alabama Pr., 2018. xii, 194 p.
Reviewed: CHE 23 Feb. 2018 (new books) Description: The controversies in the 1960s and 1970s that swirled around indiscriminate use of agricultural chemicals–their long-term ecological harm versus food production benefits–were sparked and clarified by biologist Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). This seminal publication challenged long-held assumptions concerning the industrial might of American agriculture while sounding an alarm for the damaging persistence of pesticides, especially chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT, in the larger environment. In this book, David D. Vail shows, however, that a distinctly regional view of agricultural health evolved. His analysis reveals a particularly strong ethic in the North American grasslands where practitioners sought to understand and deploy insecticides and herbicides by designing local scientific experiments, engineering more precise aircraft sprayers, developing more narrowly specific chemicals, and planting targeted test crops. Their efforts to link the science of toxicology with environmental health reveal how the practitioners of pesticides evaluated potential hazards in the agricultural landscape while recognizing the production benefits of controlled spraying. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2014. 473 p.
Reviewed: TLS 17 Nov. 2017 p. 11 (2017 Books of the Year) Description: What are the causes and consequences of climate change? When the scale is so big, can an individual make any difference? Documentary, diary, and masterwork graphic novel, this up-to-date look at our planet and how we live on it explains what global warming is all about. With the most complicated concepts made clear by investigative journalist and artist Philippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed weaves together scientific research, extensive interviews with experts, and a call for action. Weighing the potential of some solutions and the false promises of others, this work provides a realistic, balanced view of the magnitude of the crisis. (publ.) Note: Originally published as: Saison Brune (Paris: Delcourt, 2012).
Publication Date: New York: Oxford UP, 2017. 256 p.
Reviewed: PW 26 June 2017 p. 170 Description: There is now the probability that within a few years the North Pole will be ice-free for the first time in 10,000 years, entering what some call the “Arctic death spiral.” As sea ice, as well as land ice on Greenland and Antarctica, continues to melt, the rise in sea levels will devastate coastal communities across the world. The collapse of summer ice in the Arctic will release large amounts of methane currently trapped by offshore permafrost. Methane has twenty-three times greater greenhouse warming effect per molecule than CO2; an ice-free arctic summer will therefore have an albedo effect nearly equivalent to that of the last thirty years. Author Peter Wadhams is Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. He has completed over fifty research trips to the arctic.
Publication Date: New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers UP, 2018. xiii, 303 p.
Reviewed: CHE 20 Apr. 2018 (New Books) Description: Present a set of crucial sociological case studies analyzing the differential risk perceptions, socio-environmental impacts, and mobilization of citizen protest (or quiescence) surrounding unconventional energy development and hydraulic fracking in a number of key U.S. shale regions (or source rock formations) across the country. Contributors find that the rapid development of shale gas and oil reserves through high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) methods has spawned a growing anti-fracking movement that has been gaining political clout and scientific credibility nation-wide. … Citizens have mobilized to express concerns or protest what they perceive as a wide range of negative socio-environmental impacts associated with unconventional energy development and fracking--particularly its threats to water, air, land, climate, public health, animals, and sustainable economic development. (publ.)
Publication Date: Oakland: U. Calif. Pr., 2017. x, 288 p.
Description: Taking the Grand Canyon as its key example, and using on-the-ground reporting as well as science research, the book makes plain that accelerating climate change will dislocate wildlife populations and vegetation across hundreds of thousands of square miles of the national landscape. So what’s the plan, as the next phase of our political history begins? Consolidating protected areas and prioritizing natural systems over mining, grazing, drilling and logging will be essential. But a growing political movement, well financed and occasionally violent, is fighting to break up these federal lands and return them to state, local and private control. That scheme would foreclose the future for many wild species, part of our irreplaceable natural heritage, and it leads directly to the ruin of our national parks and forests. The author also documents the current federal mismanagement of public land, which often favors private interests over natural systems and endangered species. (publ.)
Publication Date: Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. 268 p.
Reviewed: PW 13 Nov. 2017 p. 55 Description: From Benjamin Franklin’s campaign to combat pollution at the Philadelphia’s docks in the 1750s to the movement against climate change today, American environmentalists have sought to protect the natural world and promote a healthy human society. … Armitage skillfully analyzes the economic and social forces begetting environmental change and emphasizes the responses of a variety of ordinary Americans—as well as a few well-known leaders—to these complex issues. This concise and engaging survey of more than 250 years of activism tells the story of a magnificent American achievement—and the ongoing problems that environmentalism faces. (publ.)
Reviewed: LR June 2017 p. 52; WSJ 14/15 Apr. 2018 p. C10. Description: Carlos Magdalena of is not your average botanical horticulturist. He’s a man on a mission to save the world’s most endangered plants from ecological destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. He is a plant messiah. …This is the inspirational story of a man who has devoted – and risked – his life to save incredible species, all in the name of making this Earth a greener and happier place. (publ.)
Publication Date: Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2017. ix, 259 p.
Description: Over 200 million people in Asian countries live on land that will be affected by rising seas. … Imagine tens of thousands of Pacific and Indian Ocean islanders cast adrift by waves that have drowned their nations, and more than 100,000 Caribbean islanders forced to leave submerged towns. Consider the complete abandonment of Miami Beach and other coastal communities up and down the Americas. At the same time, hundreds of millions will be desperate for water and a secure life in drought-ravaged Africa and the Middle East. …Detailing a number of solutions, John R. Wennersten and Denise Robbins argue that no nation can tackle this universal problem alone. The crisis of climate refugees requires global, concerted solutions beyond the strategic, fiscal, and legal capability of a single country or agency. (publ.)
Publication Date: Westport, Conn.: Prospecta Pr., 2016. 160 p.
Reviewed: NPR 24 July 2017 “Fresh Air”; LRB 7 Feb. 2019 p. 3. Description: Closer to the North Pole than to the Arctic Circle, on an is-land in a remote Norwegian archipelago, lies a vast global seed bank buried within a frozen mountain. At the end of a 130-meter long tunnel chiseled out of solid stone is a room filled with humanity’s precious treasure, the largest and most diverse seed collection ever assembled: more than a half billion seeds containing the world’s most prized crops, a safeguard against catastrophic starvation. The Global Seed Vault, a visionary model of international collaboration, is the brainchild of Cary Fowler, renowned scientist, conservationist, and biodiversity advocate. (publ.)
Publication Date: Pittsburgh, Penn.: U. Pittsburgh Pr., 2018. x, 460 p.
Reviewed: CHE 23 Feb. 2018 (new books) Description: Brings together experts working at the forefront of shale gas issues on four continents to explain how countries reach their decisions on shale development. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: W. W. Norton, 2018. 352 p.
Reviewed: PW 15 Nov. 2017 p. 98; PW 4 Dec. 2017 p. 55; NYT/BR 1 Apr.. 2018 p. 26. Reviewed: In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment—over federalism, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development. Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution’s roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina. And through encounters with experts all over the country—a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a western rancher fighting for water rights—Doyle reveals how we’ve dammed, raised, rerouted, channelized, and even “re-meandered” our rivers. (publ.)
Publication Date: Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, 2017. xiii, 128 p.
Reviewed: Choice Oct. 2017 vol. 55 no. 2 (Top 75 Titles recommended for community college libraries) Description: What is the world’s most endangered habitat? A tropical rain forest? A coral reef? Guess again—only two percent of America’s tallgrass prairie has “survived the plow.” Once extending from southeast Manitoba to southern Texas, roughly along the 97th meridian, only tiny fragments remain. Restoring prairie and gaining converts who love the prairie as much as she does is the author’s passion. The dual purpose to inform (ecology) and appreciate (aesthetics) are intertwined. (Choice)
Publication Date: Seattle: U. Washington Pr., 2017. xxviii, 362 p.
Reviewed: CHE 18 Aug. 2017 (new books) Description: Explores this evolution from conflict to cooperation through place-based case studies in the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, Northern Plains, and Great Lakes regions during the 1970s through the 2010s. These case studies suggest that a deep love of place can begin to overcome even the bitterest divides. (publ.)
Publication Date: Washington, D.C.: George Washington UP, 2017. viii, 228 p.
Reviewed: CHE 16 June 2017 (new books) Description: It is beyond debate that human beings are the primary cause of climate change. Many think of climate change as primarily a scientific, economic, or political problem, and those perspectives inform Kevin O’Brien's analysis. But O’Brien argues that we should respond to climate change first and foremost as a case of systematic and structural violence. As he points out, global warming is primarily caused by the carbon emissions of the affluent, emissions that harm the poor first and worst. Climate change divides human beings from one another and from the earth; in short, global warming and climate change is violence. (publ.)
Publication Date: New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 2017. 340 p.
Reviewed: LRB 22 Feb. 2018 p. 12; NYT/BR 1 Apr.. 2018 p. 26. Description: Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica, and each tick upwards of Earth’s thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster. By century's end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world’s shores as our coasts become inundated and our landscapes transformed. From island nations to the world's major cities, coastal regions will disappear. Engineering projects to hold back the water are bold and may buy some time. Yet despite international efforts and tireless research, there is no permanent solution-no barriers to erect or walls to build-that will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it. The Water Will Come is the definitive account of the coming water, why and how this will happen, and what it will all mean. As he travels across twelve countries and reports from the front lines, acclaimed journalist Jeff Goodell employs fact, science, and first-person, on-the-ground journalism to show vivid scenes from what already is becoming a water world. (publ.)
Publication Date: Minneapolis, Minn.: Milkweed Editions, 2013. x, 390 p.
Synopsis: An weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as “the younger brothers of creation.” (publ.)
Publication Date: Pittsburgh, Penn.: U. Pittsburgh Pr., 2017. 413 p.
Reviewed: CHE 5 May 2017 (new books); Choice Feb 2018 vol. 55 no. 6 (Highly recommended; recommended for community college libraries). Description: This volume traces the complex and winding history of how cities have appropriated, lost, and regained their rivers. But rather than telling a linear story of progress, the chapters of this book highlight the ambivalence of these developments. The four sections in Rivers Lost, Rivers Regained discuss how cities have gained control and exerted power over rivers and waterways far upstream and downstream; how rivers and floodplains in cityscapes have been transformed by urbanization and industrialization; how urban rivers have been represented in cultural manifestations, such as novels and songs; and how more recent strategies work to redefine and recreate the place of the river within the urban setting. (publ.)
Publication Date: Chicago: U. Chicago Pr., 2016. 196 p.
Reviewed: Choice Aug 2017 vol. 54 no. 12 (Essential) Description: Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability--at the level of literature, history, and politics--to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. (publ.)