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Book Review: Back from the Brink by Nancy F. Castaldo

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Heather TaftLeave a Comment

Back from the Brink, by Nancy F. Castaldo, is a collection of stories for older kids (10 – 12 years old) about animals that have come very close to extinction.  Due to efforts from conservation researchers and passionate individuals who want to see these species survive, their populations have increased again.  I recommend this book for students who are interested in conservation and learning about how researchers help save species that are on the verge of extinction.  It would make an excellent addition to a school library. The book starts with an introduction to the legislation that helps protect species, …

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Book Review: I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Fiction by Heather Taft

Brad Meltzer has written a child-friendly account of Dr. Jane Goodall as she grew up and began her research on chimpanzees in I am Jane Goodall.  I recommend this book for budding environmentalists.  It shows kids the importance of caring for the Earth and the need to work with others to advance conservation efforts.  It also demonstrates that passions can turn into careers. If you have a young environmentalist in your home this could be a good addition to their library. The book starts with Jane’s first birthday, then gives a humorous glimpse of trouble she got into as a …

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Book Review: Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America, co-edited by Stefanie Brook Trout and Taylor Brorby

In Book Reviews, Climate Change, Oil, Pollution by Center for Humans and Nature

Reviewed by Lucia Hadella in partnership with Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project and Environmental Arts and Humanities program. How does one go about telling the story of hydraulic fracturing in the United States in a way that illuminates its repercussions for humans and nonhumans? Through poetry? A short story? An essay? Does one travel to a town where fracking is prevalent and talk with its residents, see the operations, walk across the scarred ground? Editors Stefanie Brook Trout and Taylor Brorby made the decision, when putting together Fracture, to include all of these approaches in an effort to capture the qualms …

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Book Review: Force of Nature by Arthur Melville Pearson

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction by Center for Humans and Nature

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Engagement Advisor for the Center for Humans and Nature and Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University. The bastions of environmental protection that have been erected over the years are once again being tested by shortsighted individuals who occupy our government and allow special interests to violate public and private preserves. During the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, far-seeing naturalists and politicians founded institutions and established government policies intended to protect the environment into the future. John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club, was one of those visionaries. And at the highest level of government, Theodore …

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Book Review: Stories from the Leopold Shack by Estella Leopold

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction by Center for Humans and Nature

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Engagement Advisor for the Center for Humans and Nature and Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University. In Stories from the Leopold Shack: Sand County Revisited, Estella Leopold takes her readers on an intimate journey into that now-fabled place to which her father introduced the world in A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press, 1949). The site in central Wisconsin close to Baraboo that Aldo and now his daughter Estella have chronicled is where Aldo, his wife Estella Bergere, and their five children spent their summers. They lived in a once-abandoned farm shack, where they worked together to restore the …

Film Review: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

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

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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Book Review: An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar

In Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Shel Graves

Expect to learn a bit about the history of species conservation as Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit dedicated to big cat conservation, tells the story of his work to protect the jaguar in An Indomitable Beast (2014, Island Press). Along the way, the book presents numerous ideas of interest to anyone interested in jaguar, specifically, or species conservation, in general. Rabinowitz’ research and advocacy was instrumental in helping to create the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve, the first of its kind, in 1984 in Belize. He made the case that protecting the jaguar was good for the country’s future: …

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Book Review: A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

In Birds, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Trees by John Yunker

Reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold I am struck time and again by how contemporary it feels. This is a testament to Leopold, who wrote this book back in the late 1940s, yet clearly had future generations in mind. Leopold saw the environmental issues we are struggling with today because he was struggling with similar issues in his time. During his life in the forest service and in teaching he had come to believe that we needed to develop a new relationship with nature, one no longer based on dominion and extraction. He saw the need for wilderness areas in a time in which people might have assumed we …

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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 Yunker

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 …