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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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Book Review: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Nonfiction by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf examines the life of the oft-forgotten founder of the modern environmentalist movement. Alexander von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer who, despite having his name attached to natural wonders across the globe, is far less well known than those who drew their inspiration from him, including Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, and James Lovelock. Wulf’s fascinating book is thoroughly researched and annotated and includes drawings and portraits of Humboldt and his travels. Like so many naturalists, Humboldt was not a “people person” but …

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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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Thinking About Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene

In Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Wolves by John Yunker0 Comments

The anthropocene is the proposed geologic term for the period in which humans have made a significant impact on the earth’s geology and ecosystems. It’s not a term without controversy however, which I learned as I read the first essay in Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene. Susan Rustick writes: What will my canine companions think if the Working Group on the Anthropocene makes an initial proposal that our current epoch be called the Anthropocene? What will the elm tree sense or the aronia bushes? What clarion call or trumpet of death will be heard by the Whooping Crane or …

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New EcoLit Books: Fall 2016

In Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Nonfiction, Trees by John Yunker0 Comments

Here are some of the books that were submitted to us over the past few months that are recently published (or soon will be): The After Author: Melinda Mueller Publisher: Entre Ríos Books Book Description: An important new collaborative work by Northwest artists responding to the sixth extinction. The first book by Seattle poet, Melinda Mueller, since her award winning “What the Ice Gets”. “The After” is a single poem sorrowing the world we will alter and leave unseen. A meditation on extinction and the anthropocene, it blends science and poetry with an urgency of a heartbreak. Interspersed with the poem is …

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx: An epic (and ongoing) story of extraction

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Fiction, Trees by John Yunker0 Comments

Barkskins: A Novel Barkskins tells the intertwined and intergenerational stories of the natives and immigrants of the North American territory once known as New France. Because this novel takes place over more than 300 years, there are quite a few stories to tell; I found myself frequently consulting the two lengthy family trees in the appendix to keep track of the many characters that come and go. But the primary (and most tragic) character of this novel is one with no dialogue at all. As Annie Proulx noted in a recent interview with  The New Yorker: For me, the chief character in the long story was the forest, the great …

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Book Review: Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Climate Change, Conservation, Fiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Jennifer Longo’s Up to This Pointe is a delightful, wholly original novel that brings YA readers to territory not often visited in this genre: Antarctica. Seventeen-year-old Harper Scott is a relative of Antarctica explorer Robert Falcon Scott (“He is our third cousin’s aunt’s great-grandfather. Or something.”), but she’s not interested in science. She and her best friend, Kate, have been planning their entire lives to graduate early from high school, join the San Francisco Ballet, and live together in the city. But when Harper’s dreams fall into jeopardy, turning her world upside down and leaving her with the desire to …

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New EcoLit Books: Summer 2016

In Book Publishers, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Insects, Nonfiction, Oceans, Poetry, Pollution by John Yunker0 Comments

So little time; so many books! Here are some of the books that were submitted to us over the past few months that are now available (or soon will be): A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes Author: George Poinar Jr. Publisher: Oregon State University Press Description: From Northern California to British Columbia, coastal dunes and beaches provide a unique habitat for plants, animals, and insects. With A Naturalist’s Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes, hikers and beach walkers on the Pacific Coast will discover a teeming metropolis of life in what may …

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Living with Thunder: Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of Pacific Northwest Landscapes

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

In Living with Thunder: Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of Pacific Northwest Landscapes, author Ellen Morris Bishop takes reader on a slow-moving journey across time and place. And by slow-moving I mean geologically speaking, as million and millions of years. This book does an admirable job of chronologically illustrating the evolution of the pacific northwest before there was a pacific northwest, as tectonic plates collided, submerged, and exploded, ending up hundreds of miles from where they began. You can’t live in this region and not see volcanic evidence pretty much everywhere you turn. Which is one reason I was curious to …

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Opportunities for writers of animal-centric stories and essays, care of the ASLE

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Conservation, For Writers, Pollution, Veganism, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

ASLE (The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment)  listed a few calls for submission that caught my eye: Writing Meat: Flesh-Eating and Literature Since 1900 The conversion of animal bodies into flesh for human consumption is a practice where relations of power between humans and nonhuman animals are reproduced in exemplary form. From the decline of (so-called) traditional animal husbandry to the emergence of intensive agriculture and, more recently, the biotechnological innovation of in vitro meat, the last hundred years have seen dramatic changes in processes of meat production, as well as equally significant shifts in associated patterns of …