Q&A with Float author JoeAnn Hart and cover artist Karen Ristuben

In Oceans, Q&A by John Yunker0 Comments

JoeAnn Hart is the author of Float, a “witty, profound, and beautifully observed” (Margot Livesey) novel about family, the environment, and life in a hardscrabble seaside town in Maine. Karen Ristuben is an award-winning artist and educator whose work is environmental advocacy at its core. JoeAnn and Karen, who both live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, recently talked about their work and their passion for environmental awareness. Q, from KAREN RISTUBEN: JoeAnn, when did you become aware of the problem of marine plastics, and how did you get inspired to write about it? A: JOEANN HART: Living in Gloucester, where I have lived for …

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A summer retreat opportunity for writers focused on animal rights literature

In For Writers, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

The 300-acre Camp Muse at Shin Pond, Maine, is the site of a Summer Retreat Program for writers, scholars, artists, educators, and other cultural producers and knowledge workers focusing on animals and/or their humane treatment. The program, operated by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), invites all interested parties to apply for a residency at the property, which is open between July 1 and September 30, 2013. Camp Muse, a wooded retreat at the edge of a pristine and peaceful pond just ten miles from the northern entrance to Baxter State Park, offers an idyllic atmosphere for research, …

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Farmed fish may be safe for humans but not for the oceans

In Animal Rights, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

So it looks like the FDA is going to approve the sale and consumption genetically altered salmon. The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon contains a growth hormone from the Chinook salmon, which causes it to grow twice as quickly as regular Atlantic salmon. By the way, you really should check out the company’s website; this is a company concerned about technology and intellectual property and the bottom line, not animal welfare. Here is a photo that compares one of their salmon (background) to a normal Atlantic salmon (foregound). Even if I did eat fish, I can’t imagine eating something that has been genetically modified …

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Book Review: The Jungle

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction by Midge Raymond1 Comment

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair I recently revisited Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle—the original edition published by a socialist newspaper in 1905, not the shorter version published by Doubleday, Page (after Macmillan ultimately rejected it) in 1906. It wasn’t surprising to see what had been left out of the original book (though the censored version was horrific enough) and I’m glad I had the chance to read the book in its entirety, as it was meant to be read. Most interesting to me, reading it for the first time as a vegan, is how much of an animal-rights book it is. …

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 …

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Book Review: Mark Twain’s Book of Animals

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

I recently discovered (and ordered) a book that focuses on Mark Twain and his writings and views about animals. Edited by Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Mark Twain’s Book of Animals, focuses on the many ways Twain not only wrote about animals but advocated on their behalf. Here’s an article that summarizes the book. And an excerpt: Fishkin was inspired to undertake the project after realizing how central animals were to Twain’s works and that his views on animals revealed a great deal about how he viewed people. Fishkin was surprised by what she found during the course of …

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Book Review: Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction, Veganism by John Yunker0 Comments

 An inside look at the life of an outsider Elizabeth Costello is a challenging novel, just like the namesake character. This is a book that alternates between brief scenes between mother and son, mother and ex-lover, mother in purgatory — and extended lectures on many topics. Including animal rights. In one lecture which began as an essay — The Lives of Animals — Costello lectures on the cruelty of killing animals. It is a lecture not exactly met with enthusiasm and it’s an experience that many vegans and vegetarians have probably shared at one point or another. The experience of …