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Return of the Sea Otter: The story of a resilient species and its many human friends

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker

The sea otter should have been extinct by now. We, as in human civilization, did our very best to eliminate the species — not because we saw it as a pest but because its pelts were among the most desirable. And so hundreds of thousands of these sea mammals were killed because they happened to posses the densest fur coats of any animal on this planet. But the sea otter somehow managed to survive the slaughter. Handfuls of otters in Russia and the coasts of Alaska and California escaped, and, over time, their populations grew. Return of the Sea Otter: The …

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Book Review: Junk Raft by Marcus Eriksen

In Birds, Book Reviews, Nonfiction, Oceans, Oil, Pollution by Midge Raymond

Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution tells the terrifying and important story of plastics in our oceans, framed by Marcus Eriksen’s journey aboard Junk, the all-plastic raft he and his sailing partner took from California to Hawaii to raise awareness of the plight of our seas. Eriksen, who would later go on to co-found the organization 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna, writes about the 2,600-mile journey over eighty-eight days and its challenges—among them, structural problems with the raft and bracing storms—interspersing the narrative with facts that all consumers should …

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Happy Earth Day

In Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Insects, Oceans, Oil, Trees, Veganism by Midge Raymond

It’s been nearly 40 years since the first Earth Day, and unfortunately we’ve recently taken a lot more steps backward than forward. Still, we humans have taken a lot of great steps forward since the 1970s. There’s a lot to celebrate about our planet, and so many ways to help it survive and thrive. We founded Ashland Creek Press to raise environmental awareness through literature … this combines two of our passions: stories and taking care of our planet. There are myriad ways to help out the planet, and to make every day Earth Day in your own life. Immerse …

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The best environmental books we’ve read in 2017

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution by John Yunker

It’s that time of year again, a time to reflect on the books that have left their mark on us. Books that will, over time and with luck, leave their mark on society as well. I polled our contributors to see what books they’ll remember best from 2017. And here we have it — a selection of children’s books and adult fiction and nonfiction — some of which we’ve reviewed and some of which we hope to still. A word of thanks — to our contributors, for reading and reviewing books that make a difference; to the authors of these books that inspire …

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Book Review: Wildlife Spectacles by Vladimir Dinets

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Insects, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond

  Wildlife Spectacles: Mass Migrations, Mating Rituals, and Other Fascinating Animal Behaviors by Vladimir Dinets is a gorgeous book that takes readers on an unforgettable journey into the lives of some of our planet’s most magnificent creatures, from muskoxen to moths, with spectacular photographs and incredible stories. Wildlife Spectacles is divided into three major sections: Great Migrations (migrating animals on land and in air and water), Spectacles of Love (breeding habits and mating rituals), and Everyday Spectacles (how animals hunt, play, and otherwise spend their days). Author and photographer Vladimir Dinets has focused Wildlife Spectacles on the wild animals of …

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Submission window is now open for the 4th annual Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, For Writers, Oceans, Pollution, Veganism, Wolves, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker

Now in its fourth year, The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature is now open for submissions of published and unpublished manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections.. The 2017 prize will be judged by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Balcombe. The winner will receive a cash award of $1,000 and a four-week residency at PLAYA. The submission deadline is September 30, 2014. For complete writers’ guidelines, click here. All unpublished manuscripts entered for the Siskiyou Prize will be considered for publication. “New environmental literature” refers to literary works that focus on the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife. The prize …

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Our 2017 Siskiyou Prize judge is Jonathan Balcombe

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, For Writers, Insects, Oceans, Oil, Organic Farming, Pollution, Trees, Veganism, Wolves, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond

We are thrilled to announce that our 2017 Siskiyou Prize judge is Jonathan Balcombe. Jonathan’s most recent book is the New York Times bestseller What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of our Underwater Cousins, an extraordinary journey underwater that reveals the vast capabilities of fishes. He is also the author of the books The Exultant Ark, Second Nature, Pleasurable Kingdom, and The Use of Animals in Higher Education. Jonathan has three biology degrees, including a PhD in ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Tennessee, and has published more than 50 scientific papers on animal behavior …

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Book Review: Galapagos at the Crossroads by Carol Ann Bassett

In Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Education, Endangered Species, Essays, Nonfiction, Oceans by Midge Raymond

Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution by Carol Ann Bassett should be on the reading list for anyone traveling to the archipelago, whether as a researcher or a tourist. This insightful essay collection, while offering deep dives into some of the islands’ flora and fauna, also covers the controversial history and present challenges of the human impact on the Galápagos in ways all visitors should see in order to truly understand this remarkable place. In these seventeen chapters, Bassett writes of her personal experiences in the Galápagos, the first time being 1990. …

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ASLE announces 2017 book award finalists

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Essays, Fiction, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution, Trees, Veganism by John Yunker

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment has announced the finalists for their bi-annual book awards. The ASLE book awards “in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing recognize excellence in the field.”   Creative Award Finalists The judges were Emily McGiffin, the winner of the ASLE Creative Writing Award in 2015, who lives in Vancouver, BC; Rich King, a finalist for the 2015 Creative Writing Award, a research associate with The Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport; and Tom Hallock, who teaches in the Visual & Verbal Arts Department at the University of …

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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 Yunker

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 …