Environmental Books by SEJ Members (2013)

Are you an SEJ member who's authored, co-authored or edited a non-fiction or fiction environmental book (published in 2013) you'd like included on this page? Documentaries are also welcome. Please send the following to web content manager Cindy MacDonald:

  1. a one-paragraph description
  2. name of publisher and year of publication
  3. ISBN number
  4. .gif or .jpg image of the book cover (optional)
  5. Internet link to more information (optional) 

Find links to members' books published in other years here.





Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth

By Judith D. Schwartz

Cover of Cows Save the Planet

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.



Eagles in the Pacific Northwest

By Hans Tammemagi

Cover of Eagles in the Pacific Northwest

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

Cover of Eternal Harvest

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

Cover of Fevered

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

Cover of For God, Country and Coca-Cola

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, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-465-0-2917-4. More information.



Fracking Pennsylvania: Flirting With Disaster

By Walter M. Brasch

Cover of Fracking Pennsylvania

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.



The Golden Shore: California's Love Affair with the Sea

By David Helvarg

Cover of The Golden Shore

From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, "The Golden Shore" tells the tale of the history, culture, and changing nature of California's coasts and ocean. Author David Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the 1,100-mile Pacific coastline, from the Oregon border to the San Diego/Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale-, seal-, and shark-rich offshore seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests. "It captures in a really readable way, the quirky and head over heels love we have for our seas," says Ted Danson. St. Martin's Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-312-66496-1. More information.




Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

By Ozzie Zehner

Cover of Green Illusions

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.



The Melting World: A Journey Across America's Vanishing Glaciers

By Christopher White

Cover of The Melting World

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.



Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape

By Brad Tyer

Cover of Opportunity, Montana

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

Cover of Tigers Forever

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

Cover of Toms River

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

Cover of Traveling the Power Line

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.