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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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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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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: 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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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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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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Call for Submissions: Zoomorphic

In For Writers, Journals and Magazines, Oceans, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond0 Comments

The magazine Zoomorphic seeks submissions for its upcoming anthology of oceanic life. We are currently inviting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, conservation journalism and art for our first printed anthology. The book will be launched on 2nd December at a Zoomorphic event hosted by ONCA as part of their “Do You Speak Seagull” season. The printed anthology will be themed around marine wildlife and will accompany our digital issue. Submissions are invited for both formats. The launch event will include a display of Zoomorphic graphics and art as well as audio poems and sound recordings.  The deadline for poetry is September 16; the deadline …