Environmental Books by SEJ Members
Are you an SEJ member who's authored, co-authored or edited a non-fiction or fiction environmental book (published in 2012 or 2013) you'd like included on this page? Movies are also welcome. Please send the following to web content manager Cindy MacDonald:
- a one-paragraph description
- name of publisher and year of publication
- ISBN number
- .gif or .jpg image of the book cover (optional)
- Internet link to more information (optional)
Advertise your 2012 or 2013 environmental book in the book-review pages of our quarterly newsletter SEJournal. For only $48 for four issues, keep your book title in front of the membership and subscribers for one full year. Download a form to fax or mail (requires free Adobe Reader ®). SEJ members only.
Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth
By Judith D. Schwartz
Unmaking the Deserts, Rethinking Climate Change, Bringing Back Biodiversity, and Restoring Nutrients to our Food: In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems — climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity — our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013. ISBN: 9781603584326. More information.
DEERLAND: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness
By Al Cambronne
The U.S. is now home to 30 million hungry deer — 100 times more than were here a century ago. When we see all those deer out in the woods, most of us believe it’s a measure of the forest’s health. It is, but in exactly the opposite way we think. All across America, overabundant deer routinely devastate ecosystems and alter entire landscapes. DEERLAND traces the story of how we came to favor whitetails over all other wildlife, and asks tough questions about what it will take to restore balance. And are hunters part of the solution, part of the problem, or both? As Cambronne gives readers an insider’s tour of America’s deer-industrial complex, he also asks tough questions about the rapidly changing gear, tactics, and values of today’s hunters — and about what role those hunters will continue to play in 21st Century America. DEERLAND is a timely and insightful look at the single most economically important and problematic wild creature in our midst. Whether you hunt them or watch them, love them or loathe them, and whether you care about the environment, the deer in your back yard, or the shrubbery they just ate, DEERLAND is an eye-opening read that will change forever the way you think about deer and the landscape we share with them. Lyons Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780762780273. More information.
Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia's Water Crisis
By Cheryl Colopy
Dirty, Sacred Rivers explores South Asia's increasingly urgent water crisis, taking readers on a journey through North India, Nepal and Bangladesh, from the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal. The book shows how rivers, traditionally revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, have in recent decades deteriorated dramatically due to an exploding population, economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries; rivers have become sewage channels. The first person narrative lingers in key places which have become hot spots in the debate over water. These include the megacity Delhi, a paradigm of water mismanagement; Bihar, India's poorest, most crime-ridden state, thanks largely to the blunders of engineers who tried to tame powerful Himalayan rivers with embankments but instead created annual floods and waterlogging; and Kathmandu, the home of one of the most elegant and ancient traditional water systems on the subcontinent, now the site of a water-development boondoggle. Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN13: 9780199845019. ISBN10: 0199845018. More information.
Eagles in the Pacific Northwest
By Hans Tammemagi
Eagles in the Pacific Northwest describes bald eagles, their life cycle and their habitat on the beautiful northwest coast. The book is rich in information making it an excellent reference. The book is written in an engaging, friendly style and is illustrated with numerous, colour photos; many are up-close and intimate. The author describes how he bonded with these majestic raptors. Eagles in the Pacific Northwest is an e-book suitable for all e-book readers including Kindle, Kobo and i Pad. It is available for $3.99. Smashwords Inc., 2013. ISBN: 9781301789979.
Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos
By Karen Coates & Jerry Redfern
Every week, 50-year-old American bombs kill and injure Laotian villagers. In a country whose people largely survive by subsistence farming, it is dangerous to dig. Between 1964 and 1973, the United States dumped billions of pounds of explosives on Laos, in the equivalent of one raid every 8 minutes for 9 years. Up to 30 percent of those bombs did not detonate when they fell, and millions remain in the soil today as unexploded ordnance (UXO). Through photos and stories, Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos documents the ongoing human and environmental toll of war. U.S. bombs have killed and injured more than 20,000 people in Laos since the end of war. Over the course of eight years, the authors traveled extensively through remote stretches of this landlocked country to share the stories of Laotians who live with this legacy of war in Southeast Asia. Jerry Redfern's photos from a related magazine article won the 2012 SEJ Award for Outstanding Photography. ThingsAsian Press, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1934159491. More information.
Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health — And How We Can Save Ourselves
By Linda Marsa
Global warming’s effects on human health will be profound and is more imminent that we think. Rising temperatures will cause more severe weather events, like floods and hurricanes that will strain the health care system beyond the breaking point, trigger spiraling rates of asthma and allergies from pollution, heatstroke-related deaths, increases in heart and lung disease, cancer, depression and even dementia, and spikes in outbreaks of infectious diseases like dengue hemorrhagic fever, Valley Fever, West Nile and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome because of the spread of disease carrying bugs to newly warm habitats. If nothing is done, we’ll live sicker and die quicker as the planet heats up. Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health — And How We Can Save Ourselves combines real-life stories with cutting-edge science to paint an alarming picture of the disastrous toll climate change is already taking on the health of average Americans. But Fevered also draws attention to innovative solutions, in cities like Miami, Chicago, Vancouver and New York, that are embracing smart conservations strategies that can smooth the way toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future. Rodale Books, 2013. ISBN-10: 160529201X. ISBN-13: 978-1605292014. More information.
For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It
By Mark Pendergrast
For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It, by SEJ member Mark Pendergrast, is about a fizzy, sugary soft drink, a non-essential product that has had an enormous global impact on culture, the environment, and health. Although many of those impacts have been negative, others have been surprisingly positive. This new edition brings the saga up to date, with allegations that Coca-Cola helped to deplete the water table in India and was a major cause of the obesity epidemic, along with Coke's "halo effect" efforts with safe water, exercise programs, and collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund. Basic Books, 3rd edition, May 2013. ISBN: 978-0-465-0-2917-4. More information.
Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster
By Walter M. Brasch
In his most powerful investigation to date, award-winning journalist Walter M. Brasch digs into the natural gas industry and extracts the truth about fracking. High-volume hydraulic horizontal fracturing, better known as fracking, is the process of injecting as much as nine million gallons of water, three million pounds of proppants (mostly silica sand), and as much as 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into the earth to fracture the shale and extract methane. Politicians want natural gas drillers to come into their states, primarily because of the numbers of well-paying jobs they believe the industry creates and the lower costs of natural gas to the consumer. Dr. Brasch investigates those claims, and provides an extensive look at the money trail between the industry and the politicians’ campaign receipts. Combining both scientific evidence and extensive interviews with those affected by fracking throughout the country, he concludes that errors made by the natural gas industry as well as the process itself have caused significant public health and environmental problems that also affect agriculture, wildlife, and livestock. Greeley & Stone, Publishers (Carmichael, Calif.), 2013. ISBN: 978-0-942991-16-1 (print); ISBN: 978-0-942991-15-4 (Kindle). More information.
From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization and Your Life
By Bob Doppelt
Numerous frameworks exist to guide the changes in practices, technologies, and policies required to address climate disruption, the loss of biodiversity, toxicity, and their social and economic effects. All effective solutions depend on accurate assumptions, perceptions, and belief. Yet few frameworks exist to guide the changes in thinking and behaviors needed to respond effectively to the challenges we face today. Through an integration of psychology, ecology, and climate science, From Me to We describes the transformations in beliefs, assumptions, and perceptions required by each of us personally, each organization, and society as a whole to resolve the climate emergency and many other of today's crises. Those changes add up to a fundamental shift from a focus on meeting our wants and desires by focusing only on 'Me' — ourselves and immediate family — to meeting our needs by focusing on a much broader 'We' — the people and natural systems that make all life — including ours — possible and worthwhile. Greenleaf Publishing (UK), 2012. ISBN-13:978-1-906093-71-6. More information. Contact the author.
Gardens Aflame: Garry Oak Meadows of BC's South Coast
By Maleea Acker
In Gardens Aflame, Victoria writer and environmentalist Maleea Acker tells us about the unique and vanishing ecosystem of Garry oak meadows, and the people who have made it their life's work to save oaks and the environment — including the human environment — they depend on. Acker tells us about the Garry oak species and its unique habits and requirements, including its unusual summer dormancy period, when all the surrounding plants are coursing with life. We learn about the scientists, arborists, and Garry oak-loving volunteers who have dedicated themselves to this tree; and about Theophrastus, Humboldt, and their other forebears who are still reshaping our notions of nature and humans' place in it. In the course of Acker's story, we see her fall under the spell of the strange beauty woven by these magnificent trees, and the ecosystems they tower over — until, in the final act, she decides to turn her own backyard into her own version of a Garry oak savannah, defying City Hall and the neighbours, and bringing to a head in 2011 all the issues raised 150 years ago when Europeans first saw the open meadows of Southern Vancouver Island. New Star Books (Vancouver), 2012. ISBN: 9781554200658. More information.
Global Thirst: Water and Society in the 21st Century
By John R. Wennersten
This new book is part of Wennersten's ongoing study of estuaries, rivers and water policy. In an age of misinformation and public apprehension about climate change, droughts, floods, and polluted drinking water, Global Thirst offers a critical perspective on water, its uses, and access, as a major global issue in the 21st Century; it also includes commentary on what kinds of sustainable water options we should be pursuing. Wennersten's analysis of water ranges from Nigeria to India and China to Australia and the United States — it goes a long way towards correcting the popular notion that "there will always be water." This is an ideal book for citizens concerned about the fate of the planet and professionals working in government, the environment, international affairs, and public policy. Dr. Wennersten, author of books on environmental history and public affairs, is emeritus professor of environmental history at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. Schiffer Publications, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7643-3973-8. More information.
Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism
By Ozzie Zehner
We don’t have an energy crisis. We have a consumption crisis. And this book, which takes aim at cherished assumptions regarding energy, offers refreshingly straight talk about what’s wrong with the way we think and talk about the problem. Though we generally believe we can solve environmental problems with more energy — more solar cells, wind turbines, and biofuels — alternative technologies come with their own side effects and limitations. How, for instance, do solar cells cause harm? Why can’t engineers solve wind power’s biggest obstacle? Why won’t contraception solve the problem of overpopulation, lying at the heart of our concerns about energy, and what will? This practical, environmentally informed, and lucid book persuasively argues for a change of perspective. If consumption is the problem, as Ozzie Zehner suggests, then we need to shift our focus away from suspect alternative energies and toward improving social and political fundamentals: walkable communities, improved consumption, enlightened governance, and, most notably, women’s rights. University of Nebraska Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0803237759. More information.
High Steaks: Why and How to Eat Less Meat
Meat is a hot topic today, as consumers increasingly realize that the ways we produce livestock, and the amounts of animal-source foods we eat, are undermining the environment and public health. Compelling and authoritative, High Steaks shows the many reasons we need to cut back on chicken, pork, beef, and other animal products, as a powerful way of addressing problems from climate change to water pollution to chronic human disease. But there's no need for anyone to become vegetarian who doesn't want to, argues the book. From meat-eaters to vegans, everyone can work together for food systems that are sustainable, compassionate and healthy. As individuals we can scale back to modest intake of animal products. As consumers we can find better sources of meat and pay more for it. As citizens we can urge policy-makers to require that livestock be raised using methods that are clean and kind. Bottom-up through careful consumption, and top-down through visionary policy, we can bring our eating habits and food systems into line with our deepest values and hopes for personal well-being, community, and ecology. New Society Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-0-86571-713-8. More information.
How to Raise Chickens (second edition)
By Christine Heinrichs
How to Raise Chickens, second edition, updates the changes that chickens have brought to American backyards since the first edition in 2007. Back then, people laughed when you mentioned chickens. Now, you or your neighbor is probably raising them! This book includes general husbandry information for small flock raising and focuses on the history and lore of standard and traditional chicken breeds. Read Robert Frost's poem about his favorite chicken! Over 200 color pictures. This book will get a novice started and delight the experienced fancier. Voyageur Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0760343772. ISBN-13: 978-0760343777. More information.
The Melting World: A Journey Across America's Vanishing Glaciers
By Christopher White
Alpine glaciers are disappearing around the planet — a crisis because 50 percent of our drinking water comes from mountain ice. The epicenter of this crisis is Glacier National Park, which has lost 80 percent of its glaciers. Only 25 remain. Chris White follows two alpine ecologists into the mountains to explore the causes of glacier loss and the impacts downstream, from the spread of wildfires and extinctions of fish and wildlife to diminishing water reserves. Montana’s last glaciers may have only a decade left. They teach us lessons about the likely fate of mountain glaciers around the world. St. Martin's Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-312-54628-1. More information.
On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
By William Souder
On a Farther Shore, a new biography of Rachel Carson, marks the 50-year anniversary of Carson’s Silent Spring — and by extension, a half-century of the environmental movement. Carson loved the ocean and wrote three books about its mysteries, including the international bestseller The Sea Around Us. But it was with Silent Spring, and its indictment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides such as DDT, that this unassuming biologist transformed our relationship with the natural world. Seeing an inescapable parallel between dangerous chemicals and the then-pervasive radioactive fallout from nuclear-testing, Carson opened a fault line between the gentle ideal of conservation and the more urgent new concept of environmentalism. Rich in historical context, the book also sensitively considers Carson’s romantic friendship with Dorothy Freeman, and her death from cancer in 1964. This is the timely story of one of the great reformers of the twentieth century. Crown, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-307-46220-6. eISBN: 978-0-307-46222-0. More information. Facebook.
Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape
By Brad Tyer
At the turn of the nineteenth century, Montana exploited the richest copper deposits in the world, fueling the electric growth of twentieth-century America and building some of the nation's most outlandish fortunes. The toxic byproduct of those fortunes was dumped in a forgotten town called Opportunity, Montana. In the twenty-first century, Montana's draw is no longer metal, but landscape: the blue-ribbon trout streams and unspoiled wilderness of the nation's "last best place." To match reality to the myth, affluent exurbanites and well-meaning environmentalists are trying to restore the copper-polluted Clark Fork River to its "natural state." In the process, millions of tons of toxic soils are being removed and dumped — once again — in Opportunity. Tyer investigates Opportunity's history, wrestles with questions of environmental justice, and probes the parallel emotional geography of familial estrangement. Part personal history and part reportorial narrative, Opportunity, Montana is a story of progress and its price, of copper and water, of father and son, and of our attempts to redeem the mistakes of the past. Beacon Press, 2013. ISBN-10 0807003298. ISBN-13 978-0807003299. More information.
Tigers Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat
By Steve Winter and Sharon Guynup
Tigers are in trouble, and National Geographic photographer Steve Winter is on a one-man mission to address the plight of this magnificent cat — while there’s still time. Together with Panthera, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to saving big cats, and its Tigers Initiative, Winter reveals a decade worth of stunning images and stories of tigers in their world. In Tigers Forever, readers follow Winter through Myanmar’s leech-infested jungles in search of tigers; into the forbidden realm of poachers in Sumatra; and witness the breathtaking intimacy between a tiger mother and her cub. Winter’s gripping images, along with co-author Sharon Guynup’s eloquent prose, tell the dramatic story of the tiger’s fight for survival, and the lengths to which one man would go to bring that story to the world. Above all else, Tigers Forever reveals the tiger itself: elusive, majestic, ferocious, powerful, mysterious — and in desperate need of our help to survive. National Geographic, 2013. ISBN-10: 1426212402. ISBN-13: 978-1426212406. More information.
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
By Dan Fagin
The riveting true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative in the tradition of A Civil Action, The Emperor of All Maladies, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river. In an astonishing feat of investigative reporting, prize-winning journalist Dan Fagin recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary example for fast-growing industrial towns from South Jersey to South China. Bantam, 2013. ISBN-10: 055380653X. ISBN-13: 978-0553806533. More information.
Traveling the Power Line: From the Mojave Desert to the Bay of Fundy
By Julianne Couch
In our power-hungry world, all the talk about energy — what’s safe and what’s risky, what’s clean and what’s dirty, what’s cheap and what’s easy — tends to generate more heat than light. What, Julianne Couch wanted to know, is the real story on power production in this country? Approaching the question as a curious consumer, Couch takes us along as she visits nine sites where electrical power is developed from different fuel sources. From a geothermal plant in the Mojave Desert to a nuclear plant in Nebraska, from a Wyoming coal-fired power plant to a Maine tidal-power project, Couch gives us an insider’s look at how power is generated, how it affects neighboring landscapes and the people who live and work there, and how each source comes with its own unique complications. The result is an informed, evenhanded discussion of energy production and consumption on the global, national, regional, local, and — most important — personal level. Knowledge is the real power this book imparts, allowing each of us to think beyond the flip of a switch to the real consequences of our energy use. University of Nebraska Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-8032-4506-8 (paperback). More information.
Carry the Flame
By Mark Nykanen (pen name James Jaros)
Publishers Weekly calls Carry the Flame "Gutsy," and The Big Thrill, the magazine of the International Thriller Writers, says the book is "Stunning." Carry the Flame is set in the latter part of this century after climate change has triggered a worldwide collapse of natural systems. A band of survivors caravans into the Great American Desert, the wastes of what once was America's heartland. With her daughters at her side, Jessie hopes to find sanctuary in the Arctic, now rumored to be temperate. But the caravan's enemies are powerful and relentless, and will not rest until they possess the band's most precious treasures: their prepubescent female children, a stolen tanker filled with fuel...and a pair of frightened twins, whom the Army of God calls "demon." But the danger in pursuit pales before the horror that lies ahead when Jessie, the marauder-turned-ally Burned Fingers, and the innocents in their care face the savagery, the madness, and the monsters that dwell in the terrifying City of Shade. While Carry the Flame is a sequel to the widely praised Burn Down the Sky, it is also a stand-alone post-apocalyptic tale. Harper Voyager, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-06-201631-7. More information.