BookShelf

Boom and Bust — Two Books Explore Working-Class Communities in the Clean Energy Transition 

For a clean energy transition to succeed, it almost certainly will have to bring along displaced workers and communities. To help journalists understand the challenges underlying that shift, BookShelf’s Jenny Weeks reviews two volumes. The first is a new memoir of working in North Dakota’s booming Bakken oil fields, the second an earlier account of decline in a working-class community in Oregon.

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“Routledge Handbook of Environmental Journalism”

While a “Handbook of Environmental Journalism” might initially sound like a scholarly work on environmental journalism, our BookShelf reviewer finds that the volume reads more like an engaging assembly of accessible accounts on the profession from colleagues across the planet. That makes it a rich resource for working journalists ... and anyone else with a passing interest in environmental issues and how they’re covered.

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“Eating Wild Japan: Tracking the Culture of Foraged Foods, With a Guide to Plants and Recipes”

A world of unique, foraged foods is at the heart of a new book, “Eating Wild Japan: Tracking the Culture of Foraged Foods, With a Guide to Plants and Recipes,” that also delves into what is being lost with large-scale farming. Our BookShelf reviewer Melody Kemp shares the joys and the worries recounted by the author, long-time SEJer Winifred Bird.

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“What Bears Teach Us”

Bears are incredibly complex animals with much to teach humans, writes the author of a new volume on grizzlies, black and polar bears. Our BookShelf review calls the text, which also integrates striking photographs, highly scientific yet accessible, and suggests it might go a long way to helping not just to understand bears, but improve their odds of survival.

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“The Last Lions of Africa: Stories From the Frontline in the Battle To Save a Species”

A straightforward but passionate new book explores efforts to save the big cat from extinction in “The Last Lions of Africa.” Our BookShelf review lauds the author for making clear the species’ complexity and the damage done by “sustainable” practices such as trophy hunting. And the loss ends not just with the lions. Read our review for the bigger picture.

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“Environment, Social Justice, and the Media in the Age of the Anthropocene”

A case study in how journalists can center environmental news around social justice is at the heart of a new volume of scholarly essays reviewed in the latest BookShelf. While its tale of rural residents poisoned by contaminants is decades old, its lesson of what happens when power players bank on media acquiescence holds for stories of today.

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“You Can’t Fool Mother Nature: The Once and Future Triumph of Environmentalism”

It’s been a half-century since the first Earth Day in 1970 and a new book from an old hand catalogues the advances and the setbacks in the decades since. BookShelf contributor Francesca Lyman reviews “You Can’t Fool Mother Nature: The Once and Future Triumph of Environmentalism,” and explores how a long view from a veteran environmentalist informs the field of environmental reporting.

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“Man of Tomorrow: The Relentless Life of Jerry Brown”

The memorable career of California Gov. Jerry Brown has at its core a spiritual connection to the environment, a connection that he successfully channeled into the political realm, particularly around climate change. That’s according to the writer of a new biography that delves into the origins of Brown’s environmental politics and his climate change legacy. Read our latest BookShelf review.

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“Diary of a Young Naturalist”

With the heart of a naturalist, the head of a scientist and the weary bones of someone watching the destruction of the natural world, a prize-winning writer shares insights into the environment … and into a mind shaped by autism. That writer, by the way, is just 16 years old. BookShelf’s Melody Kemp reviews “Diary of a Young Naturalist.” 

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“The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think”

Bird brains, despite the dictum, are anything but deficient. In fact, a new book by science and nature writer Jennifer Ackerman reveals how scientists, driven by rising diversity in their own ranks and by the leverage of new technologies, are gaining a dramatically new understanding of the complexities of bird behavior. BookShelf has a review of “The Bird Way.”

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