Tag: Environment

featured image for nature centered books to read on earth day

Earth Day Reads that aren’t ‘The Lorax’

It’s hard to find ways to connect with people while we all social distance.  However, as the world sits at home, we are beginning to notice over social media, telephone calls to those we haven’t spoken to in a while, and even waving at others across the street for their daily walk that we have a lot more in common that we usually might think.  The biggest thing we share is our Earth, and in honor of Earth Day here are some spectacular modern titles about the collective challenge facing us across the globe.

 

Rising

Elizabeth Rush’s book takes readers to the cultural, social, and economic peripheries of the United States.  From places like Louisiana’s marginalization shores to the glass castles of Silicon Valley, Rush shows the encroaching problem of rising tides on our coastal communities around the country.

Rising

Image Via amAZON

The Uninhabitable Earth

Columnist and editor David Wallace-Wells traverses past, present, and future to bring his readers a harrowing picture of life in the time of anthropogenic global warming.  His tone is urgent, keenly aware of the emergency crisis we face today.  However, he seizes moments of hope, possibility, and ways out of the mess if we act soon.

Uninhabitable earth
Image via amazon

 

Silent Spring

Published in 1962, Silent Spring was a cornerstone of modern America’s awareness about the adverse effects of indiscriminate pesticide use.  Author Rachel Carson began her research in 1950, driven by a belief that many environmental problems were the effect synthetic pesticide contamination.  Upon its publication, Silent Spring was unsurprisingly met with opposition from chemical companies but the truth in its pages spread across the country in a transformative way.

silent spring
Image via AMAZON

 

This Radical Land

Daegan Miller dives deep into the archives in this collection of essays that explore the history of the environmental conservation movement from its very beginnings.  These early radicals believed in a way for humans to coexist with the natural world rather than exploit it, even when most were under the impression that Earth was an endless supply of resources.  Miller reminds his readers that efforts to live in harmony with our environment have always been part of our history, and it’s up to us to harness these early sentiments in our actions today.

this radical land
Image via Amazon

 

 

Where the Water Goes

David Owen takes a trip along the Colorado River, from its start in the Rocky Mountains all the way down to Mexico.  This prized waterway is depended on by nearly 40 million people, but overuse by farmers, engineers, lawyers, and politicians is quickly threatening the river’s resilience and longevity.  We must do something, argues Owen, before the tap runs dry.

where the water goes
Image via amazon

 

The End of Nature

If the waves crash up against the beach, eroding dunes and destroying homes, it is not the awesome power of Mother Nature. It is the awesome power of Mother Nature as altered by the awesome power of man, who has overpowered in a century the processes that have been slowly evolving and changing of their own accord since the earth was born, writes Bill McKibben in The End of Nature.  McKibben refuses to sugarcoat our defamation of the natural world, suggesting we return to a more humble way of living.

the end of nature
image via amazon
Feature Image Via Smithsonian Magazine

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CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS MAKES OVER 700 TEXTBOOKS FREE!

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambridge University Press has made textbooks free to access in HTML format until the end of May on Cambridge Core. 700 and counting published books are available on Cambridge Core to assist students and readers in their academic courses and pursuits. The following subjects are provided: economics, law, politics, science, and much more! Please do not wait to take advantage of this!

 

Cambridge University Press made this public via Twitter with a tweet that reads, “We are committed to supporting our global community of teachers, researchers and learners during the coronavirus pandemic. From free textbooks and research, to advice, guidance, blog and more, visit our website”.

80 more books and journal articles related to coronavirus are also be provided for free. If we are going to be quarantined for a while, it is best that we take advantage of those published writings on coronavirus and get educated!

 

Featured Image Via Facebook

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5 Fascinating Fantasy Novels Inspired by the Natural World

Nature has long inspired artists of all kinds, from Wordsworth, to Van Gogh, from O’Keeffe, to Miyazaki. Mother Nature has touched the lives of creatives in every field, so we’ve assembled a list of amazing fantasy novels that are inspired by the natural world.

 

The Prophet of the termite god by Clark Thomas Carlton

 

 

Clark T. Carlton explores the intricate world of insects in his amazing fantasy series. The Prophet of the Termite God is the sequel to The Prophets of the Ghost Ants, celebrated as “exciting, visionary” and “a tour de force” by Lawrence Bender, producer of Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Good Willing Hunting and Al Gore’s climate change awareness documentary An Inconvenient Truth.  Clark’s series is a thrilling look at the possibility of worlds within our world, and what nature is truly capable of, as well as a smashing feat of world building.

According to his FantasticFiction profile, Clark was “inspired to begin writing the series during a trip to the Yucatan when he witnessed a battle for a Spanish peanut between two different kinds of ants. That night he dreamed of armies of tiny men on the backs of red and black ants. After doing years of research on insects and human social systems, Clark says that “the plot was revealed to me like a streaming, technicolor prophecy on the sixth night of Burning Man when the effigy goes up in flames.”

Carlton’s latest novel tells the story of Pleckoo, once an outcast, who has risen to Prophet-Commander of the Hulkrish army.  But a million warriors and their ghost ants were not enough to defeat his cousin, Anand the Roach Boy, the tamer of night wasps and founder of Bee-Jor. Now Pleckoo is hunted by the army that once revered him. Yet in all his despair, Pleckoo receives prophecies from his termite god, assuring him he will kill Anand to rule the Sand, and establish the One True Religion. Can Anand, the roach boy who worked in the dung heap, rise above the turmoil, survive his assassins, and prevent the massacre of millions?

Follow Clarke T. Carlton on Twitter, and on his website!

The Prophet of the Termite God is published by Harper Voyager Impulse; Paperback; June 2019; $7.99 & e-book; $2.99).)

Check out more about him here!

 

 

Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

 

Images Via Goodreads

 

Julia Whicker’s debut novel imagines a post-apocalyptic America, in which a plague wiped out most of the population and laid waste to the land. The book is a timely warning of what could happen if society fails to acknowledge climate change.

Set five hundred years in the future, Wonderblood is Julia Whicker’s fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favour of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.

When travelling marauders led by the blood-thirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor’s queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl’s ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel that will delight fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance.

 

 

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

 

Image Via Deskgram and Medium

 

Recently made into a blockbuster film starring Natalie Portman, Jeff VanderMeer’s epic trilogy explores a world reclaimed by nature. Dubbed ‘creepy and fascinating’ by none other than Stephen King, VanderMeer’s books are ‘shot through with echoes of Lovecraft, Orwell, and Kafka’ and are ‘compulsively readable’, according to Tina Jordan for Entertainment Weekly and are a brilliant examination of a world over which humans have no control.

 

Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third.

Area X-a remote and lush terrain-has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers-they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding-but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach-the secret agency that monitors these expeditions-is in disarray. In Authority, John Rodriguez, aka “Control,” is the team’s newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves-and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that.
It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown-navigating new terrain and new challenges-the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound-or terrifying.

 

 

 

MIDWORLD BY ALAN DEAN FOSTER

 

Image Via Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

 

Brian M. Stableford listed Midworld as a “notable example” of the “elaborate and ingenious” Earth-like worlds of late-20th-century sci-fi, and we agree! This novel explores a world inspired by our Earth’s (rapidly diminishing) jungles and follows its inhabitants as they face a threat greater than any they have ever known… Timely.

 

Born was a child of the rain forest that covered Midworld, part of the primitive society that the peaceful jungle planet had sustained for hundreds of years. He was wise in the ways of his world, and he knew well the precarious natural balance that governed all things.

Then one day the aliens came. Giants.  They knew nothing of the Upper or Lower Hell — and they cared less. Born had risked his life to save them, to guide them through the myriad tangled boughs, past unseen, unsuspected dangers lurking in the underbrush. But worse than their ignorance of how to survive, the aliens had plans for Midworld, plans that could utterly destroy the globe-spanning forest that his people called home.

As the days passed, Born realized his mistake. And as he had once hunted only to live, he knew now that he would be forced to live only to kill…

 

The Color of Distance by Amy Thomson

 

Images Via Goodreads and Amy Thompson WordPress

 

Another amazing book inspired by the idea of a post-apocalyptic Earth, Thomson’s novel is a classic of its genre, and a definite must-read for any sci-fi fans who love the world of nature too!

Juna is the sole survivor of a team of surveyors marooned in the dense and isolated Tendu rain forest, an uninhabitable world for humans. Her only hope for survival is total transformation–and terrifying assimilation–into the amphibian Tendu species. Juna will learn more about her own human nature than ever before.

5 Excellent Books With an Environmental Message to Celebrate Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a reminder about the planet we live on, about its resources and the ecological impact we do with every move we make. To remind you about how you can help the planet, not just on Earth Day but every day of the year, here are five compelling books with an environmental message to celebrate this day, covering from a variety of genres such as nonfiction to fiction.

 

5. No turning Back: The Extinction Scenario by Richard Ellis

 

Two extinct species stand next to each other, a wooly mammoth and a dodo

Image Via Goodreads

No Turning Back by Richard Ellis is a nonfiction scientific book which examines the topic of extinction. Author Ellis examines the finality of a species existence by using five periods of mass extinction to outline how a species meets its final end, including the meteorite that brought an end to the dinosaurs and humanity killing off animals such as the saber-toothed tiger, wooly mammoth, and cave bears when they crossed the Bering Land Bridge 15,000 years ago. Ellis offers a naturalistic view that is well worth the read and reminds us that no species, least of all our own, lasts forever.

 

4. Midworld by Alan Dean Foster

 

Image Via amazon

Midworld by Alan Dean Foster tells the story of a planet called Midworld, covered entirely by a vast rainforest that’s almost a mile high and rich with alien fauna. Home to a primitive society that’s in tune with the natural world, Midworld is changed when an exploitative human company arrives and begins attempt to mine the planet for its resources while ignoring the delicate ecosystem. A pulpy page turner, this one is an obvious metaphor for destructive of delicate environments by corporations but done extremely well and the planet itself is so richly described you’ll feel like you can live there.

 

3. Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

 

A tree grows in a natural field, its canopy designed to look like a green Earth

Image Via Amazon

Ecotopia heavily influenced the green movement when it was first published in the 1970s and is just as compelling today. Ecotopia tells the story of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington separating from the United States to create their own nation. Admitting its first visitor from the outside world, a reporter who finds a utopia inside the new nation’s borders, one economically and socially viable, showing a world that could be created if humanity would let it.

 

2. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

 

A skeleton of a mammoth on the cover of The Sixth Extinction

Image Via Amazon

There have been five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Now, in this nonfiction novel, Elizabeth Kolbert argues we are in the midst of a sixth and one that we are responsible for. Drawing on the world’s best scientific minds and researchers, Elizabeth Kolbert presents her case very bluntly, showing species that are already perished within humanity’s lifespan and others that are on the verge of dying out. This novel very starkly illustrates that a new mass extinction is underway and we can’t stop it, as its already too late for dozens of species. This one is a must-read and shows that if we do not taking action immediately, our legacy could be the sixth extinction.

 

1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 

A book with a pure green cover

Image Via Amazon

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is the classic environmental novel. Published in 1962, it was first serialized in The New Yorker before being compiled as a full length novel. Gaining huge swaths of publicity and popularity, the book highlighted the extreme damage that unregulated usage of pesticides would cause if left unchecked. Carson faced ruthless backlash by chemical companies and unfortunately passed away in 1964 but her work changed the word, as sweeping changes were made to pesticides. This is a must read for anyone environmentally active and is the perfect book for Earth Day.

 

 

Featured Image Via Goodreads