Environmental Books by SEJ Members (2015)

Are you an SEJ member who's authored, co-authored or edited a non-fiction or fiction environmental book (published in 2015) 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.




"Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love"

By Simran Sethi

In the last century, we have lived — and eaten — through the most dramatic shifts ever experienced in food and agriculture. Ninety-five percent of the world's calories now come from only 30 species, and a closer look at America's cornucopia of grocery store options reveals that our foods are primarily made up of only corn, wheat, rice, palm oil and soybeans. Food itself — the most delicious, diverse varieties of food — is being lost, slowly and irrevocably. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Join award-winning journalist Simran Sethi as she travels from wild coffee forests in Ethiopia to cocoa plantations of Ecuador, from the brewery to the bakery and the temple, to meet scientists, farmers, chefs, wine makers, beer brewers, coffee roasters and chocolate connoisseurs to discuss the reasons for this loss and learn what it means to experience food in a whole new way, tasting foods more deeply through each one of our senses in order to savor — and save — the foods we love. HarperCollins, 2015. ISBN: 0061581070. More information.



"Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano that Changed the World"

By Alexandra Witze (SEJ member) and Jeff Kanipe

Cover of Island on Fire

"Island on Fire" tells the story of one of history’s greatest untold natural disasters: the 1783 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki. Spewing out sun-blocking ash and then a poisonous fog for eight long months, the eruption’s effects lingered across the world for years. It killed people from Iceland to France to Egypt, and it may have even helped trigger the French Revolution. Science writers Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe explore the consequences of this little-known eruption, which underscored how a single volcano on a remote North Atlantic island can change the course of history. Laki has become a touchstone for understanding the relationship among volcanoes, climate change, and the fragility of human societies. Pegasus Books, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-60598-674-6. More information.



"A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka"

By Meera Subramanian

Cover of A River Runs Again

In this lyrical and intimate tapestry of five stories dealing with life, loss and survival in modern-day India, Meera Subramanian travels in search of the ordinary people and micro-enterprises rescuing India's natural world from crisis. An engineer-turned-farmer brings organic food to Indian plates. Villagers revive a dead river. Well-intentioned cook stove designers persist on a quest for a smokeless fire. Biologists bring vultures back from the brink of extinction. And in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states, a bold young woman teaches young adolescents the fundamentals of sexual health and, in the process, unleashes their untapped potential. In these true stories, Subramanian discovers both cautionary tales and renewed hope for a sustainable and prosperous future for India. PublicAffairs, 2015. ISBN: 978-1610395304. More information.



"Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography"

By David B. Williams

Cover of Too High and Too Steep

Since settlers first arrived in Seattle, the city's citizens have altered the landscape with an unrivaled zeal. We have regraded hills, reengineered tideflats and replumbed lakes to provide better locations for business and easier ways to move through the challenging topography. And we are still at it, though now we also understand that earthquakes and rising sea levels have the potential to change us as much as we have changed the land. In "Too High and Too Steep," David B. Williams uses his deep knowledge of Seattle, scientific background and extensive research and interviews to illuminate the physical challenges and sometimes startling hubris of these large-scale transformations. Along the way, he also takes you out in the field, bringing this startling history to life. University of Washington Press, September 2015. ISBN: 978-0295995045. More information.