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Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

Peter Godfrey-Smith has a passion for cephalopods, the class of sea animals that includes the octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus, among others. Animals that among the oldest creatures on this planet. Measured in numbers of neurons, the octopus has the largest brain of all invertebrates. Its eyes are remarkably similar to ours. And, like us, the octopus can unscrew jars, recognize faces, plot creative escapes, and generally make plenty of mischief. Peter notes instances of octopuses, who don’t like bright lights, squirting jets of water at the lights above their tanks in order to short circuit them. In another case, an octopus didn’t like a specific researcher and always sent …

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Wolf Haven: Sanctuary and the Future of Wolves in North America

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

After finishing Wolf Haven I went straight to the Internet and looked up Wolf Haven International. I had been aware of the California Wolf Center, located outside San Diego, but was not aware of Wolf Haven, located just south of Mt. Rainier. And now I can’t wait to visit. But make no mistake; this is no petting zoo. In fact, the sanctuary goes to great lengths to keep many of the wolves far away from people so they stand a better chance of survival when they are introduced back into the wild. Just last month a number of Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced into northern Mexico after …

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Q&A with Mary Woodbury of Moon Willow Press and Eco-Fiction.com

In Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Journals and Magazines, Nonfiction, Pollution, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker2 Comments

I’m pleased to welcome to EcoLit Books an interview we conducted recently with Mary Woodbury, founder of Moon Willow Press and Eco-Fiction.com. Mary also played an instrumental role in getting Ecofiction added to Wikipedia! You’re a writer and a publisher. Can you tell us a bit about your writing and how you came to found Moon Willow Press? Most of my writing these days is in the form of nature writing and posts for my running blog and interviews and essays at the main site. However, I have written several short stories and two novels. One novel (Back to the …

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Announcing the 2016 Siskiyou Prize finalists

In Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Nonfiction, Oceans, Trees by John Yunker0 Comments

This is the third year of the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature (which is sponsored by Ashland Creek Press, which also sponsors EcoLit Books). We’re pleased to see the Siskiyou Prize gaining momentum and awareness. Now more than ever we need a chorus of creative and passionate voices speaking up for the planet and all of its species. This year, we received more than a hundred submissions, which included a wide range of fiction, short story and essay collections, memoirs, nonfiction nature books, and a number of previously published works in all categories. We began reviewing submissions when the contest opened in September of last …

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Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

In Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon author Michael Engelhard has crafted a richly illustrated, authoritative and eye-opening testament to our evolving and often tragic relationship with the polar bear. Chapters take us chronologically through history, documenting how natives related to animal and honored it, even after its death. When European explorers discovered the bear, it met with a significantly less-honored fate. Bears were seen a prized gifts for royalty; Henry III kept a polar bear in the Tower of London. Today, no self-respecting zoo would consider its collection complete without a polar bear or two. Knut, the famous resident …

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Upcoming writer and artist opportunities at PLAYA

In Education, Events, For Writers, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

PLAYA, a creative residency program in Summer Lake, Oregon, is organizing two exciting artist+scientist opportunities for next year: Confluence of Creative Inquiry: Climate Change Communication Residency July 3-4, 2017 Art + Science and the Cultural Terrain July 17-August 11, 2017 For more information on how to participate, click here. And, of course, PLAYA is also accepting general artist residency applications for 2017. PS: PLAYA is a generous sponsor of the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature.

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The best environmental books we’ve read in 2016

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

I polled our contributors to see what books they’ll remember best from 2016. And here we have it — some of which we’ve reviewed and some of which we hope to still…   Anna Monders Last of the Giants: The Rise and Fall of Earth’s Most Dominant Species by Jeff Campbell   Midge Raymond The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf This book examines the life of the oft-forgotten founder of the modern environmentalist movement, Alexander von Humboldt, and his story is a timely one, especially in an era in which climate change is still not receiving the attention it …

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Introducing the Center for Humans and Nature

In Climate Change, Endangered Species, Journals and Magazines, Oceans, Q&A by John Yunker0 Comments

I’m pleased to welcome a new contributor to EcoLit Books: The Center for Humans and Nature. This is an amazing organization and I thought a Q&A would be a great way for you to get to know them. What is the Center for Humans and Nature? We are an organization based in Chicago that explores and promotes ethical thinking and dialogue—particularly as it pertains to ideas of environmental responsibility, ecological stewardship, and bettering the relationship between humans and nature. What are your goals? We believe that solutions to today’s challenges begin with big ideas. In order to inspire the great actions needed …

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Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way It Does

In Book Reviews, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

Patterns in Nature by Philip Ball is a gorgeous book, dense with full-color photos, including: The book is divided into thematic chapters, such as Symmetry, Spirals, Waves and Dunes, Bubbles and Foam. What’s fascinating is the breadth of photographs and how they visually unite geologic phenomena, flora and fauna, such as the similarities between an owl and a butterfly’s wings: The “why” behind these various patterns are explained by the author through brief lessons on physics and chemical properties. But these are only high-level explanations and the author freely admits that we don’t really know why so many animals look the way they do. What I most …

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Call for Submissions: Writing for Animals Nonfiction Anthology

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Fiction, Nonfiction, Veganism, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

Ashland Creek Press is currently accepting nonfiction submissions for a new anthology, Writing for Animals: An anthology for writers and instructors to educate and inspire. From Franz Kafka’s Report to the Academy to Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, animals have played a central role in literature. Increasingly, writers are playing a central role in advancing awareness of animal issues through the written word. And yet little has been written about the process of writing about animals—from crafting point of view to voice. Writers who hope to raise awareness face many questions and choices in their work, from …