View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …

View Post

My Last Continent: A Novel by Midge Raymond

In Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Fiction, Oceans, Veganism by John Yunker0 Comments

I’m happy to announce the publication of contributor Midge Raymond’s debut novel My Last Continent (Scribner). This novel wears the “eco-fiction” label quite well. The novel focuses on penguin researchers in Antarctica and their struggles to protect creatures who are at the mercy of changing climate and increased tourism. The book also has a plot element that has long been a concern from those who work in Antarctica: A tourist vessel hits ice and begins to sink, with rescuers more than half a day away. Here are a few reviews My Last Continent has received so far: “Atmospheric and adventurous…the story and vivid writing will …

View Post

Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature

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

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. And while a century may seem like a long time, it’s safe to say, after reading Engineering Eden, that we’re only just beginning to understand how to best manage our lands. Fundamental to management is the question of how “wild” do we want our parks to be? Author Jordan Fisher Smith writes: There are two ways in which most people don’t wish to die: by being torn apart by a wild animal and by being roasted in flames. These two abject fears from deep in the ape-psyche, became, in the American …

View Post

Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

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

The Laysan albatross is known as Mōlī in Hawaiian. It is difficult not to speak in superlatives when describing the albatross. The bird has a wingspan longer than most humans are tall. Albatross far outlive most other birds — with one active albatross now 64 years old. They spend most of their lives  at sea, gliding just a few inches above the waves. Only 5% of their lives are spent on land — and this is where they are particularly vulnerable, when they are breeding and caring for their chicks. Author Hob Osterlund is founder of the Kaua’i Albatross Network an organization that works to protect these birds. And through her writing you …

View Post

Book Review: Rescued

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Endangered Species, Fiction by Mindy Mejia0 Comments

Rescued, Eliot Schrefer’s third entry in his anticipated quartet of ape novels published by Scholastic, represents a departure in many ways from the first two books in the series. Endangered and Threatened both took place in Africa and featured early teen narrators fighting to survive alongside bonobos and chimpanzees. In Rescued, Schrefer brings his series to the United States and introduces us to John, a sixteen-year-old football player who is the product of a broken home, and Raja, the orangutan his father smuggled into the country to become the family’s pet. We first meet these two as they are separated, Raja …