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Opportunity for writers: The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Nonfiction, Oceans, Veganism, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Ashland Creek Press has just announced its new book award, The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature. The 2014 prize will be judged by New York Times bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler, whose most recent book is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. (Check out Shel Graves’ review of the book here.) The contest is open to unpublished, full-length prose manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections. The winner will receive a cash award of $1,000 and publication by Ashland Creek Press. The submission deadline is September 30, 2014. For complete writers’ guidelines, click here. “New environmental literature” refers to literary works that …

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Book Review: Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet by Richard Oppenlander

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution, Veganism by Midge Raymond1 Comment

Richard Oppenlander’s Comfortably Unaware is a book everyone on the planet should read. Unfortunately, the book’s biggest drawback is that it may not feel accessible to those who need to read it most. In Comfortably Unaware, Oppenlander makes the case for why the planet needs us humans to adopt a plant-based diet in order to preserve the earth’s rapidly dwindling resources. His sources and statistics are compelling and spot-on—and yet they’re not nearly as well known among environmentalists as they should be. Without question, to be an environmentalist is to be a vegan; as Oppenlander highlights throughout this slender book, …

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Book Review: Taking Back Eden: Eight Environmental Cases that Changed the World by Oliver Houck

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond2 Comments

Oliver A. Houck’s Taking Back Eden is one of those books that can offer great hope during tough environmental times. Published by Island Press in 2011, this book’s relevance is only going to grow as we face more environmental obstacles and challenges. Taking Back Eden, which presents environmental lawsuits brought in eight countries, offers an inspiring look at those who use the legal system to protect and preserve the planet. The book is also rich in the history of the environmental movement; Houck notes that the first Earth Day, in April of 1970 in the U.S., caught everyone by surprise: “As if …

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Happy New Year from EcoLit Books

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Events, Fiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Happy new year, readers and writers! We are looking forward to a new year of eco-literature and already have a great lineup of new reviews coming soon. For all of you who live in the Seattle area or who are attending AWP, we’d love to see you at our eco-lit panel on Saturday, March 1, at 12 noon: The Greening of Literature: Eco-fiction and poetry to enlighten and inspire. The panel will be moderated by John Yunker, who will be joined by eco-minded authors, essayists, and poets: JoeAnn Hart, Mindy Mejia, Ann Pancake, and Gretchen Primack. Authors on this panel discuss how their ecologically …

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Book Review: Countdown by Alan Weisman

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Alan Weisman’s Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? follows his fascinating book The World Without Us, this time asking the question: What will become of the world with us? And not only with us but with a whole lot more of us. As with his previous book, Countdown is wide-ranging work of journalism in which Weisman merges facts and projections about the world’s fate with real-life anecdotes and evidence from experts and citizens of more than twenty regions, from Italy to Uganda to Iran to the Philippines. It’s this balance of science and humanity, of hard …

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Book Review: MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Fiction by Shel Graves0 Comments

How do you feel about lab grown meat? Glowing, green bunnies? Is our future weird, repulsive, curious, frightening and delightful? Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy — Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013) — captures it all. It takes the reader into an apocalyptic future of genetically-modified, transgenic everything to explore the social implications of modern bioscience and extrapolate the horrors of our current environmental trajectory. It’s intriguing speculative EcoLit. “People need stories…because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void.” — MaddAddam Atwood’s trilogy offers useful insight. It …

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Book Review: The Botanical Garden by Ellen Welcker

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Oceans, Poetry by Shel Graves1 Comment

You could read Melville’s Moby Dick. You could travel the world. You could read about the plight of immigrants and refugees in The New York Times and discuss them over dinner. You could visit the border. You could ship out on a whaler or ship out with Greenpeace. You could give birth, remain childless or try intro-fertilization. Or, you could read Ellen Welcker’s The Botanical Garden. (Astrophil Press 2010). The poem makes a great thematic companion to any of the above activities. At the crossroads of Welcker’s poem, fetuses, whales, refugees, immigrants, and aliens intersect. The poem travels by invoking …

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Book Review: Penguins: Natural History and Conservation

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker2 Comments

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a longtime fan of co-author Dee Boersma’s work. Years ago, I was part of a volunteer project at Punta Tombo, assisting Dee and her team with a penguin census. It was a week that changed the direction of my life in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine at the time. Dee has spent more than 20 years at Punta Tumbo researching Magellanic penguins — and helped to found the Penguin Sentinels organization. So now that you know of my affinity for penguins and those who work to protect them, on with …

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Book Review: Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals by Rory Freedman

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Veganism by Midge Raymond1 Comment

Rory Freedman’s new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals, is a must-read for anyone who believes himself or herself to be an animal lover. The main idea behind this book is that many people who think they love animals in fact unknowingly participate in any number of things that do animals great harm — and this idea is indeed “radical” to people who love their dogs but eat pigs (who are just as intelligent) or love their cats but wear leather, and so on. Yet this book is not at all preachy; Freedman uses the same warmth …

Book Review: The Revenge of GAIA

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity by James Lovelock I began reading about Gaia after editing the second book in Blair Richmond’s Lithia Trilogy, The Ghost Runner, in which an environmental studies professor brings up the Gaia hypothesis in class. I was intrigued by the idea that the earth is a living, breathing entity that might defend itself against threats. Of course, this glimpse of Gaia was in a fictional context, and I wanted to learn more about the origins of Gaia. So I began reading the work of James Lovelock, the independent scientist …