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ASLE announces 2017 book award finalists

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Essays, Fiction, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution, Trees, Veganism by John Yunker0 Comments

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment has announced the finalists for their bi-annual book awards. The ASLE book awards “in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing recognize excellence in the field.”   Creative Award Finalists The judges were Emily McGiffin, the winner of the ASLE Creative Writing Award in 2015, who lives in Vancouver, BC; Rich King, a finalist for the 2015 Creative Writing Award, a research associate with The Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport; and Tom Hallock, who teaches in the Visual & Verbal Arts Department at the University of …

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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 Yunker1 Comment

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 Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

In Birds, Conservation, Insects, Nonfiction, Oceans, Trees by Center for Humans and Nature0 Comments

Florence Williams is a journalist and Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature who often writes about the connections between people, health, and nature. She is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, and she also writes for  the New York Times, National Geographic, Slate, Mother Jones, High Country News, and other publications. In her latest book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative (W.W. Norton 2017), Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to groves of eucalyptus in California, she investigates the science …

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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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Book Review: Stories from the Leopold Shack by Estella Leopold

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction by Center for Humans and Nature0 Comments

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Engagement Advisor for the Center for Humans and Nature and Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University. In Stories from the Leopold Shack: Sand County Revisited, Estella Leopold takes her readers on an intimate journey into that now-fabled place to which her father introduced the world in A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1949). The site in central Wisconsin close to Baraboo that Aldo and now his daughter Estella have chronicled is where Aldo, his wife Estella Bergere, and their five children spent their summers. They lived in a once-abandoned farm shack, where they worked together to restore the …

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Book Review: What a Fish Knows by Jonathan Balcombe

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

It’s difficult to think of another title that is more important to the oceans—and therefore to the earth’s entire ecosystem—than What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe. Not only does Balcombe introduce us to the fascinating, complex lives of these sentient creatures, he shows us how devastatingly we are treating them, to the point of endangerment and extinction. While fishes aren’t usually at the top of the list of animals that elicit human sympathy (“We hear no screams and see no tears when their mouths are impaled and their bodies pulled from the …

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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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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 …