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Flight Ways: Birds living on the dull edge of extinction

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

In Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, environmental philosopher Thom van Dooren tells the stories of five species of bird: Albatross Little Penguin Indian Vulture Whooping Crane Hawaiian Crow Each species sheds light on a different “extinction story.” We begin with the albatross — birds that spend most of their lives gliding inches above the sea, ingesting plastics and other contaminants that they in turn feed to their offspring, resulting in increased numbers of dead offspring. Fishing lines have had an equally devastating effect on the adults. Most humans may never set eyes on an albatross, but by eating seafood or by simply …

Film Review: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Conservation, Education, Endangered Species, Oceans, Organic Farming, Pollution, Trees, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Okay, so this isn’t a book review — but it’s such an important documentary that I wanted to review it here on EcoLit Books. (The book connection: As you watch the film, you’ll learn about a few books to add to your reading list, including Comfortably Unaware and The World Peace Diet.) Cowspiracy (which is currently still available for its special Earth Day price of $1) covers the impact of animal agriculture on the planet — it’s the number-one contributor to human-induced climate change and affects everything from the rainforests to the oceans — and why some of the biggest environmental organizations never talk about …

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

In Book Reviews, Nonfiction by JoeAnn Hart0 Comments

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Tim Folger, Series Editor…   Science is a scary word. At least, it used to be for those of us who grew up messing around in the hazy world of literature and art, not empirical facts. Science was what made it possible to go to the moon, so science meant rocket science. But it seems to me now that a fear of science is a result of a rigid (and, in my day, gender-biased) educational system, where disciplines are divvied up into discrete categories, as if …

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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 …