International League of Conservation Writers

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Wilderness in America

The Iternational League of Conservation Writers is a forum to bring writers together from around the world who are writing to promote wilderness, nature, conservation, or using other means to protect and restore the natural areas, habitats, animals, and plants of our planet. ILCW will present periodic writing awards to authors who excel in this field.

New Children’s Book Editor at Fulcrum Publishing

Fulcrum Publishing has named Emily Jespersen as their new Children’s Book Editor. Jespersen, shown here reading to her staff from the new Laura Pedersen book Wanda’s Better Way,  gives the book a “thumbs up!”


“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we aredoing to ourselves and to one another.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi


New film about Thoreau’s “Walden” from Ken Burns

A beautiful film about Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden" produced by Ken Burns with many familiar faces and voices. See it in full now (about 22 min).
Thanks to the Walden Woods Project.

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Blood Lions® partners with Different.org
Blood Lions, the organization that is shedding light on the canned hunting and predator breeding industry in South Africa, is partnering with Different.org, a crowdfunding philanthropy platform. “Through these online channels we have been able to highlight and expose all the issues around the predator breeding and canned hunting industries in a manner that has been vital for decision-makers in the public and government arenas worldwide,” said Nicola Gerrard, Blood Lions® Digital Media Manager. “One challenge that we continue to face is on the awareness front around animal interactions. Volunteers and tourists continue to feel that their personal interactions at these cub petting and breeding facilities is somehow different and not, in fact, exploitative and commercial in nature. To have Different.org join the campaign is another major boost to ensure these messages are driven hard. The public, our networks and partners continue to play a key role in exposing the truth behind cub petting, predator breeding and canned hunting."
For more information click here.

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Nebraska Approves Alternate Route for Keystone XL Pipeline
The New York Times reports that Nebraska regulators in the US will allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to cross the state, just days after another pipeline in South Dakota (the state to the north) spilled 210,000 gallons of crude oil onto grazing land.
Click here to read the story.

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What You Can Do to Save Our Freshwater Resources
No Water No Life has prepared a quick check list of simple things we each can do to be better freshwater stewards.
Click here for the PDF.

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Wolves Return to Rome
In September wolves were spotted living near Rome, the first time in nearly 100 years. It’s ironic because the city’s namesake Romulus and Remus, his twin brother, were suckled by a she-wolf who saved them from starvation. Killing wolves in Italy was encouraged until 1971 when they were given protective status. It is believed that the wolves are feasting on wild boars that currently roam the countryside in large numbers.
Source: European Wilderness Society

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NPS report: water bottle sales ban had ‘significant’ benefits

From The Hill
An internal National Park Service (NPS) staff report concluded that an Obama administration effort to ban sales of bottled water at some parks had “significant environmental benefits.” The report was released more than a month after the NPS rescinded the policy, which had been opposed by the bottled water industry and some Republicans.

In the report prepared in May, NPS staff estimated that on an annual basis, at least 1.32 million disposable plastic water bottles, and up to 2.01 million, were not purchased due to the 2011 policy. That saved up to 111,743 pounds of plastic, 141 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases and 3.4 billion British thermal units of energy, the NPS report estimated, based on the 23 Park Service units that submitted data.
The results demonstrate “the program has significant positive environmental benefits that encompass the entire life cycle” of disposable bottles, and that officials at the parks themselves support the program, the report said. In a preface to the 16-page report, the agency distanced itself from the conclusions, saying it was prepared to help leaders understand the policy and it “lacked the data necessary to ensure the report’s findings.”
Nonetheless, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) used the report to call forthe NPS to reinstate Obama’s policy.

Corporate Accountability International used the report to criticize the bottled water industry’s advocacy. “The bottled water industry has led a years-long campaign against this commonsense policy, all to protect its bottom line. The fact that Trump administration officials knew the benefits of this policy back in May but still decided to rescind it last month, sure looks to me like the bottled water industry’s lobbying dollars at work,” Lauren DeRusha Florez, associate campaign director with the group, said in a statement.

“While we will continue to encourage the use of free water bottle filling stations as appropriate, ultimately it should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” Acting NPS Director Michael Reynolds said. Click here to see original.
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop newsletter

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Waste water to biogas, Indian scientists show the way

From The Hindu
By Andhra Pradesh

A group of biotechnologists from Vignan University in India have developed a model for conversion of domestic sewage water into biogas and bio-manure. Led by scientist M.S Shivakiran, Department of Biotechnology, VU, two students Manikanta and Ravichandra, the model has employed a method called ‘Phytoremediation’ through which aquatic plants like water hyacinth could be used to produce biogas.

Mr. Shivakiran said, about 400,000 litre of waste water was released from the university buildings into the open fields breeding waste weed and mosquitoes. The team decided to take up a project, “Cost effective method of wastewater treatment by phyto remediation with concurrent production of biogas and bio-manure.”

“This project is aimed at water conservation. Biogas can be produced from any plant. Aquatic plants like water hyacinth has a lot of biomass which is used to produce bio gas. We used a machine to chop water hyacinth and feed the mass into a biogas plant,” he said.

The manure produced by biogas slurry is a good manure and can be used as a manure for increasing green cover in townships. A biogas plant in the university now produces 200 litres of gas daily; enough to run a canteen.

Mr. Shivakiran said they experimented by setting up a trench of 2,000 litre capacity in which Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is being cultivated. Hyacinth is known as the worst aquatic weed that grows profusely in polluted water which propagates luxuriantly by taking up the organic and mineral matter from the wastewater. The plant biomass is then chopped and pulverised in an organic waste converter to make it convenient for digestion of biomass in the biogas plant. The biogas produced is being supplied to the hostels and mess and the bio-manure is being utilised in the herbal garden. “We estimate that 10,000 litres of sewage can produce 3.33 kg of Water hyacinth and 1 kg of plant biomass can generate 200 litres of biogas and 900 grams of slurry or manure,” he said.
Click here to read the original story
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop newsletter

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Nature: one of the most under-appreciated tools for reigning in carbon
A new study shows that better global land stewardship—conserving and restoring wild habitats and practicing more sustainable farming—could get us more than one-third of the way to the Paris climate mitigation targets. Nature may not be the most sexy tool in the shed, but it has tremendous power to move the climate change needle. In principle, the authors say, natural climate solutions could remove 23.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere each year. Read more.
Source: No Water No Life Weekly Drop Newsletter

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Mali Elephant Project wins 2017 Equator Prize
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners have recognized the Mali Elephant Project, and 14 other local and indigenous communities from Africa, Asia, and Latin America as winners of this year’s Equator Prize. The winners have used innovative solutions for tackling poverty, environment, and climate challenges.

In a drought-prone zone rife with resource conflicts and violent extremism, the Mali Elephant Project brings together various ethnic groups to effectively manage local resources and protect an internationally important population of 350 endangered African elephants. Through the formation of community-based natural resource management committees, the provision of additional income through support for women’s groups engaged in sustainable harvest of non-timber forest products, and anti-poaching measures involving 'eco-guardian' youth community members, the initiative has reduced poaching of elephants in the 32,000 km² area, improved social cohesion between different local communities, and contributed to peace-building efforts by providing alternatives to joining extremist groups. Communities have created rules for local use of natural resources, set aside forests for elephant use, formed pasture reserves, and designated seasonal water sources to be shared by people, livestock, and elephants.

The Mali Elephant Project is empowering local people to stand up to international poaching networks and protect one of the last of just two remaining desert elephant herds. 

  • Elephants are safer when local communities are empowered to maintain balance with nature
  • The Mali Elephant Project helps communities improve their natural resources and prospects for the future
  • Young men earn prestige and honor as they protect the herd.

Llearn more about the Mali Elephant Project
Listen to Dr. Susan Canney, Project Leader of the Mali Elephant Project and ILCW member (UK), talk about how they noticed the elephants plight and together with the surrounding communities have worked to keep the elephants safe from poachers and human encroachment.

For a list of all 15 Equator Prize winners for 2017

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Study Shows Youth Need Educated in Water Use

No Water No Life has compiled the data from their 2016 survey that tested the awareness of where those in the U.S. get their water. The findings were startling where 28% of the under-18-year-olds admit to wasteful water use and 71% of this same group believed they would have enough water even in times of drought. To read the entire article click here.

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LEWA Gives 1,000 Cooking Stoves to Community

In Kenya, where 90% of the rural population uses wood or charcoal fire to prepare their meals, LEWA Wildlife Conservancy has distributed 1,000 energy-saving cooking stoves. The use of the stoves reduces the demand for firewood, promotes the protection of forests, and leads to a reduction of smoke and toxic emissions. Read More.

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One of World’s Largest Protected Areas Just Created Off the Coast of Easter Island
The Rapa Nui marine park is approximately the size of Chili. It will protect 142 endemic marine species that include 27 who are threatened with extinction.
Read The Guardian article for more information.
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US Administration Considers Selling Power from Hydro-dams to Private Buyers
Will the US Administration sell power from the Columbia River Basin’s 250 hydro-dams to private buyers?  If so, will such for-profit owners maintain the integrity of Bonneville Power’s current federal system that coordinates releases of water, flood control, and spill patterns for fish?
See the NY Times article.

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Featured Video

Good News

We all know the bad news when it comes to climate change. What most people don’t know is that there is also a lot of good news. In this video we explore some of that good news, like the fact that real solutions exist and that we’re already seeing the benefits of them.

Climate Reality Project

Previous Featured Videos

Member Writing

Midnight at the oasis

By Rebecca Lawton ILCW member (USA)

Once oases supported human evolution. Now, our addiction to fountains, pools and palms threatens our survival

Seen from the air, the single verdant parcel of land with its straight borders and sharp edges resembles a green postage stamp pasted on a great expanse of manila envelope. Inside the boundary, a screen of trees hides a palatial estate, acres of emerald turf, a paved circular driveway, and an extensive array of tumbling, marble fountains. Outside the rectangle, a hot, rock-strewn fan of tan alluvium extends unvegetated and unwatered for half a kilometre to another such parcel, then another, then another. Toward the city centre eight kilometres away, residences cluster closer together but emulate the lush feel of the outlying estates with their surfeit of palm trees, water features and improbably green turf.


Rebecca Lawton is a fluvial geologist and former river guide who writes about water in the West. Her latest book is Steelies and Other Endangered Species: Stories on Water (2014). She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Book Reviews

Mexicanos por naturaleza (Mexicans by nature)
By Carlos Galindo-Leal
Hardcover, 206 pages
Editorial Paralelo 21 and Mexican Ministry of Culture 
Size: 28.2 cm x 22.2 cm x 2 cm

As the popular saying goes, "If you don´t know an animal, don´t touch its ears".
This book is a great opportunity to get to know Mexican biodiversity: bacteria, fungi, plants and animals all part of our natural richness which continues to amaze us. It is a trip to the heart of our natural heritage, written by one of the most prestigious scientists and science communicator of Mexico: Dr. Carlos Galindo-Leal, Director of Science Communication at the National Biodiversity Commission.

The book includes 36 independent chapters, from bacteria to whales, focused on selected groups (orders, families) of fungi, plants and animals. The table of contents is designed as a phylogenetic tree. In every chapter, taxonomic, ecological and cultural information on the group is described, particularly with relation to Mexico. Two chapters describe the main evolutionary steps that distinguish the major plant groups and animal groups. The final chapter closes with our ever present relation with nature.  Mexicanos por naturaleza is beautifully designed using photos and old scientific illustrations. 

"My conclusion is that this is a very special book for several reasons: first, although it is written by a biologist specialized in the ecology of mammals, he has made a monographic treatment of the groups of organisms (both plants and animals) included in the book; for those who work in the area of biology, this is more a practice of taxonomists than ecologists. Second, there is a fortunate mix of two obsessions of Dr. Galindo: to always include common names of the species of which he is writing about, and second, to use as many Mexican popular sayings, as possible, even if is not obvious how they relate. These two aspects, plus the writing style of Carlos, makes the readers interested in his narration, and specially makes them understand their content."

If a growing number of Mexican citizens of all ages are inspired by the narrative and visual design of this book, Carlos Galindo will have reached his central objective: to attract and educate Mexican society to be knowledgeable of the nature of this privileged country.
 --Dr. José Sarukhán, Tyler Price 2017  

Dr. Carlos Galindo Leal will be speaking about his book at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sunday, November 26.

For more information about this book click here.

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Bernard Quetchenbach
Accidental Gravity
Residents, Travelers, and the Landscape of Memory
2017, Oregon State University Press
Paperback, 248 page

The compelling essays in Bernard Quetchenbach’s Accidental Gravity move from upstate New York to the western United States, from urban and suburban places to wild lands. In the first section of the book, he focuses on suburban neighborhoods, where residents respond ambivalently to golf-course geese and other unruly natural presences; in the second section, he juxtaposes these humanized places with Yellowstone National Park. Quetchenbach writes about current environmental issues in the Greater Yellowstone area—wildfire, invasive species, ever-increasing numbers of tourists—in the context of climate change and other contemporary pressures.

Accidental Gravity negotiates the difficult edge between a naive belief in an enduring, unassailable natural world and the equally naive belief that human life takes place in some unnatural, more mediated context. The title refers to the accidental but nonetheless meaningful nexus where the personal meets and combines with the universal—those serendipitous moments when the individual life connects to the larger rhythms of time and planet.

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Daniel Hudon
Brief Eulogies for Lost Animals: An Extinction Reader
2017, Pen & Anvil Press
Paperback, 138 pages

In this collection of one hundred brief eulogies, science writer and poet Daniel Hudon gives a literary voice to the losses stacking up in our present-day age of extinction. Natural history, poetic prose, reportage, and eulogy blend to form a tally of degraded habitats, and empty burrows, and of the songs of birds never to be heard again. Since the year 1500, nine hundred species have become extinct, yet their stories are not being told. This loss is a crisis in human values as our relatives on the tree of life are disappearing under our watch and because of our actions. There are no historical parallels here. Aldo Leopold said, “For one species to mourn another is a new thing under the sun.” In terse yet evocative writing, one hundred extinct animals from around the world are brought to life, from the freshwater mussels of Appalachia to the shrub frogs of Sri Lanka, and from the honeycreepers of Hawaii to the hopping mice of Australia, bringing the enormity of the present biodiversity crisis within our grasp. These animals deserve to be remembered, and with this book we can not only remember and mourn them, but honor them as well.

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Calls for Work and Retreats

Alluvian accepts creative nonfiction, science journalism and science narratives, cartoons and art, and/or narrative analysis of data related to sustainability, climate change, the environmental sciences, the human engagement with nature, or other topics about the environment. Authors must be an undergraduate or have graduated with an undergraduate degree within the last 18 months.

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The Fourth River has launched Tributaries, a weekly, online publication of "...the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains and takes us through unexpected courses..." Nature or placed based short prose (500 words ), one poem, or one piece of visual art can be submitted here.  Each week we will feature a new piece on the front page of web site.
Thank you to our source: Adrienne Ross Scanlan

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 The Hudson: A River at Risk -- Upcoming Screenings
Jon Bowermaster, ILCW member (USA) and filmmaker has set up a series of screenings about the Hudson River and the environmental dangers it encounters. To see if there is a screening near you (or to schedule one) click here.To see the film trailer click here.

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February 16-28, 2018

Serengeti Photo Safari: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration
Boyd Norton, ILCW member and winner of the Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, is leading his 31st photo tour to Tanzania. You will see the Ngorongoro Crater, as well as the stunning Serengeti Animal Migration at its peak. Special for this tour: a presentation from the director of the Serengeti Preservation Foundation about the many projects underway and the current threats to this wonderful ecosystem. For more information, and to view the itinerary. click here.



 April 21-May 2, 2018

Weaving Words and Women: A 12-day Peruvian Adventure
ILCW member Page Lambert will take adventurous women to the high Andes of Peru next April. There will be writing, markets, incredible food, horseback riding opportunities, Inca ruins, and more. For details, click here.




25-28 October 2018

Wildlife Film Festival, Rotterdam









ILCW now on Facebook 
ILCW members, please check out the ILCW Facebook page and add content.

Tell us what you are working on, what changes you see in the area of conservation (good and bad) in your area, include news from you: have you recently won any awards or accolades? Have you recently published a new book or article or perhaps finished a piece of art, performance piece, photo that glorifies the natural world? This page is for you, please enjoy and generate interest in ILCW and what we do.

ILCW facebook

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 Looking for Creative People Who Appreciate Nature Do you have a friend or a colleague who is passionate about Nature and believes that we should protect what we have for future generations? ILCW welcomes all creative people (not just writers) who use their talent to bring awareness to the plight of our natural world. Have them apply to be an ILCW member at http://www.ilcwriters.org/application.html

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Do you have news?

Let us know if you have won an award, written a new book, or launched a creative endeavor to bring awareness to conservation. Chances are the ILCW membership is not aware of these things, so be sure and tell us. Send items to:patty@ilcwriters.org

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ILCW Members Are Eligible to Use  David R. Brower Office for Conservation Writing
Come write, do research, and be near wild and
protected areas in Colorado while working in the
David R. Brower Office of Conservation Writing.

Sit at the same desk used by Dave Brower.
There is no cost for ILCW members to use the office. 
If interested apply here.

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