International League of Conservation Writers

Writing to inspire the love of nature and a passion for its protection

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The International 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.

ilcw

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 to use the office.
If interested apply here.

Reviews of Member Books

Jonathan Adams and Mark Tercek

Nature’s Fortune: 
How business

and society thrive by investing in nature 
2013, Basic Books Hardcover and Paperback

Mark Tercek had some horribly awkward moments when he left Goldman Sachs to run the US environmental charity, The Nature Conservancy. At one of his first big staff meetings, he committed a total eco no-no by drinking from a plastic water bottle. When he got to work the next day, his new colleagues had left him a batch of reusable Klean Kanteen bottles. At about the same time, he went to a big event packed with luminaries in the environmental field and found himself face to face with Russell Train, founding director of the World Wildlife Fund in the US. “Who are you?” Train asked. Tercek explained. Train, clearly un­­impressed, fired back: “How did you get from Wall Street to become the head of TNC?” Tercek, already feeling well out of his league, fumbled for an answer. To his credit, the former Goldman managing director tells both stories in this very readable book – co-authored with science writer Jonathan Adams – that in many ways is a long answer to the question of why anyone on Wall Street would be interested in green policy. Tercek came to TNC because it embodies the idea that traditional hostilities between environmentalists and business can be overcome in a way that benefits both nature and annual profits. This may sound unlikely. But he shows that a growing number of companies claim to recognize that protecting nature is good for their bottom lines in a world with worrying levels of resource scarcity. Heavily water-dependent Coca-Cola, for instance, has vowed that by 2020 , it will return to communities as much water as it uses to make its beverages. Pepsi says it will put back more water than it uses. Both had reason to act after events such the water shortages in the early 2000s in the Indian state of Kerala, where a Coke subsidiary had opened a bottling plant that local authorities eventually shut down. “Kerala was heard around the world, a turning point in the effort of these companies to understand how much water they use, who else will be using the same supply, and how reliable that supply is,” Tercek writes. There are other, more positive, examples. Staten Island, for instance, has saved tens of millions of dollars by preserving wetlands and creating waterways to manage its stormwater, rather than building expensive new “grey infrastructure” of pipes and drains. Tercek admits there are limits to this kind of thinking. Global problems such as climate change clearly require government action, not just friendly corporations. And he concedes that the idea of business co-operating with green groups is not uniformly popular. Indeed, TNC itself is not always popular among other green bodies. Tremendously wealthy and generally conservative, its members are a far cry from the average Greenpeace eco-warrior. In 2009, Greenpeace wrote a highly critical report on a TNC forestry protection project in Bolivia, backed by several big energy companies, that said benefits promised to locals had failed to materialize. Tercek writes that this was good because it made people think about how to improve. But ultimately he wants environmental groups to work with rather than against companies. Once businesses see evidence of a “bottom-line pay-off” from investing in natural assets, they will change their practices to favour nature, he says. It is so far unproven, despite the hundreds of sustainability reports issued by the world’s leading companies each year. But if accounting for natural capital ever does become conventional corporate wisdom, Tercek has a point; and in the meantime, his arguments are very much worth reading. Financial Times

 

 

Carol Ann Bassett

Galapagos at the Crossroads

2009, National Geographic
Hardcover, 304 pages

As eloquent as it is alarming, Carol Ann Bassett’s portrait of today’s Galápagos depicts a deadly collision of economics, politics, and the environment that may destroy one of the world’s last Edens. For millions, the Galápagos Islands represent nature at its most unspoiled, an inviolate place famed for its rare flora and fauna. But soon today’s 30,000 human residents could surpass 50,000. Add invasive species, floods of tourists, and unresolved conflicts between Ecuadorian laws and local concerns, and it’s easy to see why the Galápagos were recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.

Each chapter in this provocative, perceptive book focuses on a specific person or group with a stake in the Galápagos’ natural resources—from tour companies whose activities are often illegal and not always green, to creationist guides who lead tours with no mention of evolution, from fishermen up in arms over lobster quotas, to modern-day pirates who poach endangered marine species.

Bassett presents a perspective as readable as it is sensible. Told with wit, passion, and grace, the Galápagos story serves as a miniature model of Earth itself, a perfect example of how an environment can be destroyed--and what is being done to preserve these islands before it's too late.

"...could have easily been called Galápagos in the Crosshairs. She makes a passionate case for the preservation of these islands." —American Scientist

"A modern portrait of the islands... as tourists, fishermen, and immigrants exact their toll on the fragile ecosystem."  
—Conservation Magazine  (Society for Conservation Biology)

 

 

 

T. DeLene Beeland

The Secret World of Red Wolves
The Fight to Save North America's Other Wolf

2013, University of North Carolina Press
Hardcover, eBook

The Secret World of Red Wolves takes readers on a journey into the field with red wolf biologists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to explore the modern management and conservation challenges faced in recovering wild red wolves. It also delves into the past and chronicles the early field efforts to locate and breed what were thought to be the last remaining red wolves in the far western reaches of their historical southeastern US range, as well as early reintroduction efforts. The story covers the scientific controversy over what red wolves are, and looks to the future at what might happen to their coastal recovery area---their only recovery area---when sea level rise driven by climate change swamps the land around them.

 

 

"This excellent history makes clear the verdict that lies immediately ahead: 
the red wolf saved, America's triumph; the red wolf lost, America's shame."
—E.O. Wilson, Harvard biologist and conservation champion

 

 

 

Clay Bolt and Paul Harcourt Davies

Wide-Angle Macro
The Essential Guide
2012, eBook, 93 pages

A Wide-Angle Macro photography book that emphasizes conservation throughout. The authors are convinced that the “close and wide” photographic approach not only generates images with impact but can convey maximum information about a subject and its habitat. This makes it an excellent way of imparting information, especially when it comes to conservation and education. When used in conjunction with other “macro” approaches it becomes an essential part of the bag of varied tricks that creative photographers can have at their disposal. The book is divided into two main sections:

Part 1: The stage is set with a detailed, but highly accessible text ranging from the purely technical side of the hardware (e.g. how various lenses such as fixed focal length zooms perform) through the tricks and trials of lighting to general approaches for different classes of potential subject. The authors have also included an appendix with tech charts for those with a fondness for numbers and calculations.

Part 2: Something different with a series of personal accounts about specific images with subjects such as plants, insects, spiders, reptiles and amphibians. They discuss how and why the images were conceived and then achieved with an encouragement for readers to go out and create their own.

To view sample pages and for more information check out the website.

 

 

 

L.M. Browning

Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity
Journal of a New England Poet
2012, Homebound Publications
Paperback, 128 pages

Fleeting moments of fierce clarity are had when the confusion clears and the gray numbness that hangs about our senses draws back, allowing us to see the world and ourselves with sharp relief. Follow author and New England native L.M. Browning in her wanderings across the Northeast, from the solitude of her home along the shore of Connecticut, to the rushing city streets of Boston, to the tall-pine landscape of Arcadia Park in Rhode Island to the quiet edges of Walden Pond.

"This generation’s New England  Transcendentalist."
—Frank Owen, creator of Bodhiyatra Poetry

"Thoreau, that great New England saunterer who serves as one of the inspirations for L. M. Browning’s new book, advised never to underestimate the value of a fact, for it one day might flower into a truth. Facts flowering into truths are what one finds on every page herein. Browning’s gift is to see the miraculous in the commonplace, and readers will leave her poems and journal entries the wiser and more human. This is no small gift."
— Philip F. Gura, author of American Transcendentalism: A History

"L.M.Browning’s rich little book invites the reader to face our common “fear [of] the silence” and take a courageous breath. Her Fleeting Moments may not always bring a contented clarity, yet presents an open journal of a journey within, to fiercely face that silence, and dare to walk beyond it into deeper woods where we can embrace some kind of natural sacredness. This is a celebration through suffering, a seeking beyond the search, and a pathway into a welcome unknown. At times the prose itself becomes poetry, and there are delightful glimmers of the New England life many of us only dream of. One imagines Emerson and Fuller including gifts from this book in The Dial."
—Chris Highland, author of Meditations of Henry David Thoreau and My Address is a River

 

 

 

L.M. Browning and Marianne Browning.

The Nameless ManA Novel
2011, Homebound Publications
Paperback, 384 pages

What do you believe? Is humanity flawed and fallen, permanently separate from a perfected, transcendent divinity? Or, is human life inherently divine? Is the human journey itself an evolutionary process leading toward greater embodiment of our own divine nature? The world and its troubles appear differently depending upon which view you hold.

In the midst of these views, throughout human history, there have been people of wakefulness who have come to teach us. They have come to shake us from our consensual trance of forgetfulness. They wake us up. They remind us who we really are. They come to save us from ourselves.

 


In this remarkable tale, poet and writer L.M. Browning introduces us to just such an individual. The Nameless Man is a story that will grab you by the heart and take you on a journey. In a beautiful and seamless way, the characters become members of your own family. Before the end, The Nameless Man is your brother and your teacher. When you finally look up from the pages of this book, you may just find yourself in a different world than the one you thought you were born into.        
–Frank Owen, Bodhiyatra Poetry

 

 

 

L.M. Browning

Ruminations at Twilight
Poetry Exploring the Sacred
2012, Homebound Publications
Paperback, 150 pages

Asserting that the sacred lives in what is ordinary and the Divine is found amongst the green of nature, the poems within Ruminations at Twilight bring a message of appreciation for the worth of what surrounds us. Relevant, insightful, candid and revealing, these verses give a unique perspective on the age-old questions. The story told takes place on an intimate scale yet at the same time a world-wide scale; for within this story of one individual’s realization and redemption we are told that of all humanity’s.

The cure for our modern maladies is dirt under the fingernails and the feel of thick grass between the toes. The cure for our listlessness is to be out within the invigorating wind. The cure for our uselessness is to take back up our stewardship; for it is not that there has been no work to be done, we simply have not been attending to it. 

–Excerpt from Ruminations at Twilight

Reviews:
“L.M. Browning’s powerful poetry embodies the archetypal spiritual journey of our times, from “confining doctrine,” through despair and doubt, into reverent reconnection with the mysteries of the blossoming world. Her impassioned words evoke our longing to unite with the Source that gave rise to the cosmos, the earth, and the depths of our hearts. This book is like holding the twilight in your hands: a luminous joining of the divine and the natural into a moment of sacred wonder!”
—Drew Dellinger, author of Love Letter to the Milky Way

“Ruminations at Twilight is a powerful cry of yearning for the sacred. These lines of poetry are Browning’s fearless entry into the global conversation; a heartfelt plea on behalf of the sacred Earth whose words run like rivers into the Great Watershed of the Earth’s dreaming. May her poetry inspire your own plunge into the currents.”
— Jason Kirkey, author of The Salmon in the Spring
(Winner of the 2010 IPPY Book Award’s Silver Medal)

“A few months back I had L.M. Browning’s Oak Wise to review, and I appreciated that collection. This volume quite simply blew me away. It follows the same themes of relationship with nature, and speaking to spirit, and there are moments that feel like prayer. The writing is beautiful, but in Ruminations, Browning has gained a sense of purpose and direction absent in the earlier work. There’s recognition of where the wrongs lie, and how to challenge them. I found the poetry affecting and inspiring, underpinned with a strong philosophy. This is not just a poetry book, it is a call to action, to self awareness and engagement with spirit.”
—Bryn Colvin, Reviewer at TDN

“L.M. Browning’s religious fervor reminds one of Emily Dickinson’s in its intensity and unorthodoxy: it bypasses dogma to reach the heart of the divine.”
—Rennie McQuilkin, author of The Weathering

“Ruminations at Twilight is not your average book of poetry, and L.M. Browning is not your average poet. Reading this book is like tugging on the loose string-end of the great ball of twine that is our human condition. One must be brave to take up such a journey. One must be willing to “see”. Browning sees knows, and offers a much-needed vision to the rest of us. These poems guide us through the terrain of the ‘common wound’ and carry us into a place of healing, anticipation and realization of the prospect of being our fullest selves in a torn world that needs us to be exactly that.”
—Frank Owen, Bodhiyatra Poetry

 

 

 

ILCW Member L.M. Browning

Seasons of Contemplation
A Book of Midnight Meditations

2015, Homebound Publications
Paperback, 94 pages

In Seasons of Contemplation, Browning offers the reader humble yet impacting meditations on the topics of religion, connection, mindfulness, ecology, the spiritual journey, and the perils of modern culture. The ruminations gathered within these pages provide simple insights that help bring sense to the chaos and hustle of our daily life.  Direct and unpretentious, Browning once again reminds us that “Becoming aware of the dearness in what might otherwise be regarded as mundane is the ultimate form of insight.”

“L.M. Browning had me at the opening rumination to Seasons of Contemplation where she acknowledges the tiredness many of this generation feel, ‘not of the body but of the spirit.’ Like a Dark Night of the Soul for the digital age, Browning’s midnight meditations don’t sugarcoat life’s dilemmas. Instead, with refreshing honesty and vulnerability, Browning encourages us to ‘wade into the silence and listen.’ Sage advice, delivered gracefully yet boldly, characterizes this beautiful book, which will speak clearly to anyone who ever awakens in the night to wrestle with the unknowable.”
—Kate Sheehan Roach, Editor, Contemplative Journal

 

 

 

Donna Bryson

It’s A Black/White Thing
2014, NB Publishers
Paperback, 224 pages

Have South Africans changed in any significant way since 1994? Or are black and white simply repeating old patterns?

American-born journalist Donna Bryson found answers to these questions on the University of the Free State campus in Bloemfontein. In 2008 this sleepy city was thrust into the international spotlight by a racist video made by students from Reitz residence.

Bryson went to investigate. As she started spaking to students and university staff, including two former rectors, she realized the university was a microcosm of what was happening in the rest of the country. Since the 1990s black and white were forced to learn how to live together on campus – as elsewhere. It has not always been easy.

Now under the leadership of the university’s new rector – the charismatic Jonathan Jansen – real change is finally taking place. Most inspiring are the stories Bryson uncovers about individual transformations. From the white theology student who decides to learn Sotho to the black accountancy student who realizes she does not share her parents’ mistrust of whites.

Bryson offers a story of hope in a country desperate or good news.

 

 

 

Michael J. Caduto

Through a Naturalist’s Eyes
Exploring the Nature of New England

2016, University Press of New England
Paperback and Ebook, 224 pages, 70 illustrations

A Journey into the heart of New England with expert guide Michael J. Caduto, and reflections on the relationship between nature and humankind.

New England’s landscape has a rich allure. In more than 50 essays, Caduto draws on firsthand experience, interviews with experts and in-depth research to explore plants, animals, natural places, environmental issues and actions that readers can take—from dragonflies, cuckoos and chipmunks to circumpolar constellations, phenology and climate change. Adelaide Tyrol’s stunning illustrations illuminate this unique wedding of natural science, humor and storytelling.

“For all of us who love the forests, hills and marshes of New England, this is much more than a guide book—it's an invitation to explore, and a key to making sense of what we notice. Many thanks to the author for opening my eyes again!”
— Bill McKibben, author Wandering Home and Co-founder 350.org

 

 

 

Nancy Campbell

Disko Bay

Paperback, 64 pages
2015, Enitharmon Press

The poems in Nancy Campbell’s first collection transport the reader to the frozen shores of Greenland. The Arctic has long been a place of encounters, and Disko Bay is a meeting point for whalers and missionaries, scientists and shamans. We hear the stories of those living on the ice edge in former times: hunters, explorers and settlers, and the legendary leader Qujaavaarssuk. These poems relate the struggle for existence in the harsh polar environment, and address tensions between modern life and traditional ways of subsistence. As the environment begins to change, hunters grow hungry and their languages are lost. In the final sequence, Jutland, we reach the northern fringes of Europe, where shifting waterlines bear witness to the disappearing arctic ice.

Reviews:
Nancy Campbell crafts severe, beautiful founding myths which merge fragments of story with song in a poetry which has refreshingly sharp edges. Strong women and talented male hunters there are, but all are vulnerable before human caprice and this lyrically evoked world of ice. – Richard Price

Disko Bay is a beautiful debut from a deft, dangerous and dazzling new poet writing from the furthest reaches of both history and climate change. – Carol Ann Duffy

 

 

 

Gail Collins-Renadive

Chewing Sand:  An Eco-Spiritual Taste of the Mojave Desert
2014, Homebound Publications
Paperback, 122 pages

In Chewing Sand, Gail Collins-Ranadive explores her adopted home landscape with a naturalist’s thrill in detail and with a spiritual person’s reverence. She builds her relationship with the Mojave Desert through an unusual ability to see the land equally clearly through Emerson’s Transcendentalist sensibility, Paiute spirituality, and the wisdom of geologic time. As her subtitle suggests, this book offers a tasting menu of vignettes, each a gem of insight, learning, and intimate storytelling. Gail finds “graced moments” everywhere as she listens lovingly to the landscape.  Readers will finish her book with a deeper understanding of the dynamic vitality of the desert, our spiritual connection to the Earth, and the whimsical absurdity of living in Las Vegas. 

 --Stephen Trimble, author of The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin andphotographer of Earthtones: A Nevada Album

 

 

 

Chad P. Dawson and John C. Hendee 

Wilderness Management, 4th Ed. 
Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values
 
2009, Fulcrum Publishing 
Paperback, 544 pages

The fourth edition of this classic text on wilderness management offers readers an updated and somewhat slimmer version of the latest knowledge, challenges, and applications of wilderness management. The co-author order has been reversed in the 4th edition, with Dr. Chad Dawson assuming senior authorship in this new version. Dawson is well suited for the task. He is a professor and former chair of the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York in Syracuse. He is also the managing editor of the International Journal of Wilderness. Dr. John Hendee continued his involvement as coauthor of all four editions of Wilderness Management. Hendee is professor emeritus and retired dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, and is a founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Wilderness.

Each chapter was revised, reviewed, and edited, with new material added and other material deleted. This new edition of Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values, like the earlier editions, will continue to be a must-read for agency managers, teachers and students, citizens and conservationists, researchers, and wilderness visitors.
--Review by Kevin Proescholdt, wilderness and public lands director, 
Izaak Walton League of America

 

 

 

Paul Dutton

Spirit of the Wilderness
2017, 30 Degrees South Publishers
Paperback, 320 pages

This is an autobiographical account of a career in conservation and of an abiding love affair with Spirit of the Wilderness, a Piper Super Cub, two-seater, light aircraft. It tells of a partnership between man and machine, which proved invaluable in countless campaigns to support and conserve wildlife and wilderness areas in southern Africa. A chance encounter in 1953 with the late Dr. Ian Player, South Africa's greatest name in conservation led to a career in that field which still continues after nearly sixty years. There are detailed and absorbing accounts of stewardship during the 1960s and 1970s of some of South Africa’s best loved and most beautiful reserves; Lake St Lucia, iMfolozi, Ndumo, and later the Gorongosa National Park, Zinave and the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. There are tales of hair-raising episodes and some serious mishaps at the wheel of Spirit of the Wilderness, and on the ground, the author records what he was privileged to learn from the knowledge, experience and wisdom of indigenous game guards and local communities in South Africa and Mozambique. The reader will encounter a huge diversity of flora and fauna, both terrestrial and marine, some of it now perilously endangered, and also a remarkable cast of fellow eminent conservationists, filmmakers, writers, sangomas, soldiers and bandits from two wars in Mozambique, and is introduced to that country's then president Samora Machel, with whom Paul came to have an intriguingly cordial relationship.

 

 

 

Gretel Ehrlich

Facing the Wave
A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunam
i
2013, Pantheon
Hardcover, 240 pages

A passionate student of Japanese poetry, theater, and art for much of her life, Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake-and-tsunami-devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness, listen to survivors, and experience their terror and exhilaration in villages and towns where all shelter and hope seemed lost. In an eloquent narrative that blends strong reportage, poetic observation, and deeply felt reflection, she takes us into the upside-down world of northeastern Japan, where nothing is certain and where the boundaries between living and dying have been erased by water. The stories of rice farmers, monks, and wanderers; of fishermen who drove their boats up the steep wall of the wave; and of an eighty-four-year-old geisha who survived the tsunami to hand down a song that only she still remembered are both harrowing and inspirational. Facing death, facing life, and coming to terms with impermanence are equally compelling in a landscape of surreal desolation, as the ghostly specter of Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power complex, spews radiation into the ocean and air. Facing the Wave is a testament to the buoyancy, spirit, humor, and strong-mindedness of those who must find their way in a suddenly shattered world.

 

 

 

Dave Foreman

The Great Conservation Divide
Conservation vs Resourcism on America’s Public Lands
2014, Ravens Eye Press
Paperback, 318 pages

In a perfect world, people would find common ground and work together – but in our imperfect world that happens only too rarely. Dave Foreman’s book, The Great Conservation Divide, is a history of many differences of opinion, direction and goals among conservationists. The only agreement seems to lie, briefly, in the need for conservation. A recounting of past conflicts, wins and losses, the breadth and depth of the movement told here are not only an interesting read but can be useful to those striving today to continue this work. Foreman’s “Quick, Quirky Word Hoard” is just one of the ways Foreman raises awareness. It also serves to focus the reader on meaning within his text, on views that would, I think, be missed if he hadn’t given such specific definitions, many of which change focus for the reader and promotes understanding and comprehension of his subject matter. It will add some new words to your vocabulary. So read The Great Conservation Divide for the history, the list of accomplishments and compromises, losses and gains; read it to learn about those who worked to preserve and conserve, to pass laws and to create movements. Read it to understand better what the natural world is and to see more clearly what has happened, is happening and might happen. Read it to decide what you want to do and what you can try to make a difference. --Judy Volc

 

 

 

Dave Foreman

Rewilding North America  2004,
Island Press 
Paperback, 312 pages

This book is divided into three sections—bad news, good news, and taking action. The first section deals with the mass extinctions that humans have been causing over the last two centuries and puts it in a historical context. The second section covers the knowledge and benefits from the science of conservation biology, such as how mass extinction can be stopped or at least slowed down. The final section suggests a program to promote biodiversity by establishing defined wilderness areas. This is an important book by an important person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Foreman

Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife 
2011, Raven's Eye Press 
Paperback, 294 pages

Too intense for reading at length, this book belongs on the coffee table or maybe beside the bed to be picked up and read in sections. This will also allow time for the reader to absorb the material which is very intense and often disturbing. It's not that we don't know some of this--although this is the most complete and exhaustive compilation I've ever seen--but it's hard to absorb so much so quickly. While Chapter 13 outlines way to stem the tide that sweeps all before it, gloom and doom overwhelms and while I believe that Mr. Foreman is correct in his contentions and am in awe of his clarity and massive collection of facts and examples, I found this difficult to handle. I do feel that perhaps the author intended to inundate the reader. His passion for this subject is catching but exhausting.

Anyone who is working in this field and a lot of politicians should read this to learn and to appreciate the breath and depth contained here. The author provides both the logic and evidence to support his cause.              ̶  Judy Volc

 

 

 

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Dave Foreman With Laura Carroll

Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild Word
2015 2nd edition, LiveTrue Books
Paperback, 196 pages

Overpopulation is real and it is stretching the limits and the resources of our planet. As Dave Foreman states “we have come on like a swarm of locusts … there are too many of us for the Earth to harbor.” Some viewpoints argue that a world population of two billion people is the right number of people to live sustainable on our planet and keep the natural systems in balance. With over seven billion people covering the planet today, that number is growing and if it continues unchecked we will reach twelve billion in 100 short years. Where will the open areas be then? Will any wild areas survive or the animals that inhabit them? Will there be enough food, or water?This book:

  1.  Lays out the overpopulation crisis in the United States and worldwide

 Shows how overpopulation is the main driver of the extinction of wildlife, wildlands and the creation of pollution, including destructive greenhouse gases  Smartly challenges those who don't believe that the overpopulation crisis is real  Gives tangible ways we can all be part of the solution The first edition, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife reached the conservationist community; in this new and updated edition, Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, Dave Foreman and editor Laura Carroll expand the readership to the masses, from those in their reproductive years to educators, governors Congresspersons, and even world leaders.        Overpopulation can be solved. This book maps out steps that will lead to a solution. If we save the natural world we will 
save ourselves.

 

 

 

Zafar Futehally

The Song of the Magpie Robin

Rupa Publications
Hardcover 197 pages

Flitting between genres like an overzealous sunbird in a spring garden, Zafar Futehally’s The Song of the Magpie Robin defies easy classification. Labelled a memoir for the sake of convenience, the book is just as much a primer to the early years of India’s conservation movement, and a treasury of natural history facts.

Futehally, a giant in his time and a legend after, narrates with frank humility and wry humour the story of his life. Part I of the book, labelled and about Personal Memories, is a mere 50 pages long and encapsulates, amongst much else, Futehally’s early childhood, his marriage to Laeeq, his initiation into the world of business as a partner at Dynacraft Machine Co., a company started by his brother that allowed him to enter the world of conservation without worrying too much about funds, and his intense love for horses that endured till the very end (He was riding Lassie, his favourite mare, even at the age of 90). In this succinct section, he also chronicles his relationship with Laeeq’s uncle, the famous Sálim Ali who was responsible for triggering Futehally’s own interest in ornithology. Devoting more than a few pages of Part I to anecdotes about his uncle by marriage, Futehally’s respect for Ali is unmistakable.

Part II of the book, titled Pioneering Conservation in India, is almost thrice as long as the earlier section and truly seems to be a guileless personal account of Futehally’s part in shaping the country’s conservation story. Irreverent of political correctness and diplomacy, he compliments or derides people and organisations exactly as he sees fit. (Wildlife enthusiasts, be warned, there is a chance that this book will expose the clay feet of your most admired conservation idol.) It would be pointless to try to summarise the number of projects Futehally initiated, spearheaded or supported; if I did, your brain would turn to alphabet soup. Sufficient to say, he was instrumental in establishing organisations such as the Bombay Natural History Society and WWF-India, editing the much-lovedNewsletter for Birdwatchers, and was the first Indian to be elected to the Executive Board of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Most striking though are not Futehally’s successes but his unabashed recollection of his many failed ventures. These self-effacing confessions are a reassuring reminder that conservation has always been hard work, but there are joys to still be had.

Through his lifetime, Futehally also gathered a platoon of international friends and these characters, many of them great conservationists themselves, make frequent appearances in the pages of this book as he reminisces on his not infrequent work travels. To this end, he drolly recalls being accused of being an ‘anglophile’ more than once when he suggested getting the advice of an international expert for a project in India.

The Song of the Magpie Robin gets slightly impersonal as it progresses, and there are points at which one forgets that they are reading a memoir and suspects that they are reading a conservation history book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re a conservation junkie, but others may find these portions a little dull. Simply told and embellished with rare letters, certificates and pictures, The Song of the Magpie Robin should, without question, find a place on every nature lover’s bookshelf.

At the end of the tome, though his conservation ideals have beamed through crystal clear, Futehally, the man, still remains an enigma. That is, until you read his daughter Zai’s brief but tender afterword. Couple that with the moving introduction penned by Shanthi and Ashish Chandola, and suddenly you realise that the man and his conservation ideals, are one and the same.

In August of 2013, barely two weeks after Zafar’s death at the age of 93, I sat in the dimly-lit auditorium at WWF-India’s colossal Lodi Road office and listened to a host of people pay tribute to him. This book, reiterates the immense legacy that Zafar left behind, and I suspect, that for a long time to come, when I hear the call of a Magpie Robin, I will think of a man that I never met, but to whom I owe very much.

See more   Reviewed by ILCW member Cara Tejpal (India)

 

 

 

Jeff Gailus

Little Black Lies
Corporate & Political Spin in the Global War for Oil

2012, Rocky Mountain Books
Hardcover, 168 pages

In 1986, about a decade before Alberta's oil sands exploded onto the international energy scene, Harry G. Frankfurt wrote a provocative essay on an unlikely subject: the insidious influence of the half-truths, misinformation and propaganda that make up the news that is so prevalent in our society. Over roughly the same period, the controversial and unprecedented growth of the Alberta tar sands has escalated the amount of disinformation in the air almost as quickly as it has greenhouse gases. To either demonize or promote the most controversial energy source since nuclear power, environmental groups, Big Oil and government officials have assaulted us with an endless array of hype that hasnt been seen since the great tobacco wars. Jeff Gailus explores two of the most salient features of the early 21st century: the explosion of oil sands development and the ubiquity of hogwash. The two, he suggests, are engaged in a symbiotic dance that allows them both to thrive--to the detriment of our moral and social well-being.

 

 

 

 

Jeff Gailus

The Grizzly Manifesto 
In Defense of the Great Bea
2010, Rocky Mountain Books
Hardcover, 168 pages

The grizzly bear, once the archetype for all that is wild, is quickly becoming a symbol of nature’s fierce but flagging resilience in the face of human greed and ignorance and the difficulty a wealth-addicted society has in changing its ways. North America’s grizzlies have been under siege ever since Europeans arrived. They’d survived the arrival of spear-wielding humans 13,000 years ago, outlived the short-faced bear, the dire wolf and the sabre-tooth cat--not to mention mastodons, mammoths and giant ground sloths the size of elephants but grizzly bears in much of Turtle Island succumbed to 375 years of unrelenting commercialization and industrialization, disappearing from the Great Plains and much of the mountain West. Despite their relatively successful recovery in Yellowstone National Park, the bears decline continues largely unchecked. And the front line in this centuries-old battle for survival has shifted to western Alberta and southern BC, where outdated mythologies, rapacious industry and disingenuous governments continue to push the Great Bear into the mountains and toward a future that may not have room for them at all.

 

 

 

 

Carlos Galindo-Leal

 Panthera onca 
2009, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana
Hardcover, 144 pages, in Spanish

Panthera onca was published to celebrate the institutional identity and the 35th anniversary of Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM). “In summary, the book contains everything you wanted to know about jaguars but were afraid to ask. It is full of details, information on the life, chores, worries, and even the menu that a jaguar would expect in a restaurant”, said José Sarukhan, ecologist and expresident of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México. It is a book that presents a complete notion of the life and behavior of these cats, and it includes a splendid introduction by the historian Miguel León Portilla, that writes on the relations of different ethnic groups and the jaguar. The president of the Metropolitan Autonomous University, Jose Lema Labadie, pointed out that the book is fascinating and with great design. “The text does not only cover the jaguar from the present perspective, but includes an historical perspective in the prehispanic cultures…”  

      The book Panthera onca includes photography of Antonio Pastrana, Juan Carlos Castillo and Miguel Angel Sicilia, a contains information on the evolution of this animal and other felines.”

 

 

Julia Carabias, Jose Sarukhan, Javier de la Maza
and Carlos Galindo-Leal (Coordinators)

Mexico's natural heritage: 
One hundred success stories 

2010, National Commission on Biodiversity (CONABIO)
Paperback, 240 pages

The 100 success stories range from conservation and management to restoration and capacity building.  The commentators of the book included two coordinators (Julia Carabias and José Sarukhán), and two authors: Ivan Trujillo, director of the Guadalajara film festival, and Rosario Ramírez, from Ixtlan de Juárez in Oaxaca, a model indigenous community on sustainable forestry.

“This book nourishes our optimism for the talent of the authors and the satisfying and extraordinary results. It is a book that documents and narrates success stories to be shared, 140 authors and 100 success stories, using knowledge on biological wealth, sometimes older than a 100 years, that allows environmental conservation, social participation, and the incorporation of indigenous, farmers, and fishermen knowledge”, said Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa, one of the main reporters and historians of Mexico.

The book is illustrated by the contribution of a large number of excellent photographers and it is is available in PDF format at:http://www.biodiversidad.gob.mx/pais/cien_casos/cien_casos.php

 

 

Jay Griffiths

Kith: 
The Riddle of the Childscape
2013, Hamish Hamilton
Hardback

This latest book from Griffiths looks at different cultures' attitudes towards childhood, including how it is a political subject and exploring issues of freedom, will, play, time, animals, enclosure, surveillance, imagination, reverie, metaphor, the woods and the quest. Using history, philosophy, language and literature, and her own travels around the world, Jay Griffiths explores the experience of childhood in different cultures, and deep questions as to why many children in the West are so unhappy. The result is a passionate defence of the rights of children, and of the universal values of freedom, nature and the imagination.

Reviews:

     "Jay Griffiths has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn't just good - it's necessary." – Philip Pullman
“A subterranean book. We excavate it to refind the secrets of childhood, our own, and many other childhoods in times and 
places far from ours. We join an underground resistance to the capital of grown-up greed, accountancy and profit. 
We rejoin the Bears.” – John Berger
“An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late.” – Iain McGilchris
“Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children.” – KT Tunstall

 

 

 

 

Jay Griffiths

Tristimania: A Diary of Manic Depression

New from Hamish Hamilton (UK) and Counterpoint (USA) Tristimania by ILCW member (UK) Jay Griffiths tells the story of a devastating year-long episode of manic depression. It seeks to record the experience of a condition which is at once terrifying and profoundly creative, both tricking and treating the psyche. In exploring its literary influence, the book examines the Trickster role, and looks at Shakespeare's work for deft and telling descriptions, tracing the mercuriality of manic depression through the character of Mercury. Griffiths is the author of author of Wild: An Elemental Journey, A Sideways Look at Time, Anarchipelago, A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, and Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape

“Griffiths invites us to follow her down the rabbit hole of the human mind, stretching back centuries to show how the world, our own psyche and language are all deeply connected. Her unique gift of language and wit are utterly captivating.”

-- Nikolai Fraiture, The Strokes

“A book of terrible beauty; a dazzling testament to the moral and literary power of brokenness. I cried, shivered, and then laughed in gratitude for Griffiths's sheer bloody nerve.”-- Charles Foster

 

 

 

 

Jay Griffiths 

Wild: An Elemental Journey

2006 first edition, Tarcher
Hardcover, 384 pages

In Wild, Jay Griffiths describes an extraordinary odyssey through wildernesses of earth, ice, water, and fire. A poetic consideration of the tender connection between human society and the wild, the book is by turns passionate, political, funny, and harrowing. It is also a journey into that greatest of uncharted lands--the wilderness of the mind--and Griffiths beautifully explores the language and symbolism that shape our experience of our own wildness. Part travelogue, part manifesto for wildness as an essential character of life, Wild is a one-of-a-kind book from a one-of-a-kind author.

Reviews:

   “A major book by a major writer.” – Bill McKibben
“Wholly original, undefinable, untameable, profound and extraordinary” – The Observer
“Utterly compelling, easily the best travel book that I have read in the last ten years.” – The Guardian
“Incandescent, exhilarating, sensuous, cocky, magnificent, explosive.  Joycean word-play, ironic wit, Wild is a raging oratorio.” –Richard Mabey, The Times
“A dazzling, hungry, brave all-consuming book, jumping with life.” – The Spectator 
“It’s as though, arm in arm, James Joyce and Dylan Thomas went out to find the deep meaning of wilderness.” – The Sydney Morning Herald
“Passionate, rigorous and utterly honest, Griffiths’ remarkable book is written in a style as wild and exciting as its subject.”  --Robert Macfarlane
“I used to think the wild did not have words, that it lay beyond the edge of logic and expression. With her journey and her struggle, Jay Griffiths proves me wrong.  She wanders, she wonders, she suffers, she survives.  Her words are intense, episodic, gripping, and sensual, somewhere between Edward Abbey and Jeanette Winterson-who knew there was such a place?  Wild is the first great nature writing of the 21st century.” --David Rothenberg, author of Why Birds Sing and Wild Ideas.
“A disobedient book… breathtakingly honest… rich and textured, challenging and poetic.” – Jules Pretty, Times Higher Educational Supplement 
“Insightful, effervescent and lavishly written…She shrouds her amazingly strenuous physical journey with a rich literary penumbra. The book has a profusion of historical allusions and a fertile bibliography; the vivid, excited writing draws haunting, lovely connections among multiple cultures, landscapes and ideas.” – Ruth Padel,The Washington Post

 

 

 

 Amy Gulick

Salmon in the Trees
Life in Alaska's Tongass Rainforest 

illustrations by Ray Troll 
2010, Braided River
Hardcover, 176 pages

A visually stunning book that gives shape--and voice--to one of North America's richest natural treasures. Gulick's photographs, combined with engaging and informative essays by some of the people who know the Tongass best, offer a multi-faceted introduction to the mind-boggling vitality of this remote and precious region. At its core, this book is an invitation to one of the world's most intact and vibrant wildernesses, and an exhortation to see this extraordinary, publicly owned resource as a model for what it is: a rare and not to be repeated opportunity to get it right. --John Vaillant, author of The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

 

 

  

Linda Hasselstrom

Land Circle 
Writings Collected from the Land 

First publishing 1991, Fulcrum Publishing
Paperback, 432 pages

This book is a collection of essays, poetry, and observations about South Dakota, about ranching and neighbors, about life and the death of a husband, about being a woman and a neighbor. Hasselstrom deals with both a land ethic and a work ethic, modern life on the grasslands of the high plains. She is a rancher and an environmentalist, planting wildflowers and raising cattle. She is an advocate of the prairies and the people and wildlife who inhabit them. This book shows how those who live off the land often have the greatest love of and respect for the land. This is a treasure of a book about the spirituality of the land.

Excerpt: We are all creatures born to soil and wilderness; the outdoors, not an air-conditioned office or schoolroom with windows that can’t be opened, is our natural habitat. Night or day, walk out into the grass or woods alone, sit down, and listen. Dig in the earth; plant something. Walk and watch any living thing except another human. You will find some guidance, some comfort. To find more, to become fully human, you must commit more of yourself to  the search.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/natural%20wonders%20of%20assateague%20island.jpg?itok=Cr4ReCfl Mark Hendricks

Natural Wonders of Assateague Island

2017, Schiffer
Hardback, 144 pages

The cover sold me.

Whatever followed in the ensuing pages most likely would be riveting, and Mark Hendricks does not disappoint. As much as writers love to use words to create lasting images in readers' minds, Mr. Hendricks, a photographer, has captured the flora and fauna of Assateague Island National Seashore in a wonderful photo collection to be left visibly out for family and friends to enjoy.

Gracing the cover are three ponies, their manes swept here and there by the coastal breezes, that are indelibly linked to the national seashore that spans parts of Maryland and Virginia. Though the seashore's ponies are not native -- local lore has them surviving a shipwreck, or perhaps brought to the islands in the 17th century by their owners to graze -- they are an unofficial symbol of the national seashore.

Mr. Hendricks teases us into his book with these three ponies, and once inside it's easy to get figuratively lost in the landscape of Assateague. Here's an osprey overhead, carrying nesting materials, that the author photographed from his kayak. There's the 142-foot tall Assateague Light that dates to 1867, still sending its warning beacon out to sea.

Turn page after page and you'll encounter Royal terns caught, as it seems, in mid-conversation, a Snowy owl, delicate blackberry bush and the unusual barometer earthstar fungus that unfurls its leaves when rain and humidity arrive. These are the images that help define Assateague Island National Seashore ... and help reinforce that key aspect of the National Park Service mission to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein..." not only within Assateague, but throughout the National Park System.

Spend a weekend or a week at Assateague, and you might come away thinking you experienced the seashore. Mr. Hendricks' book might convince you otherwise after you explore the images he presents to us. Prickly pear cactus at Asseateague? Yucca, which he captured in bloom. Blue grosbeaks and blue crabs. Fiddler crabs in battle, a solitary semipalmated plover strolling the beach in search of a meal. A red fox trotting through a landscape turned white by a winter storm.

The author also includes conservation messages in text sidebars, such as why we have to be aware of piping plovers. He explains the presence of Snowy owls, a species normally found in Canada but relatively rarely seen in coastal Virginia/Maryland, telling us that an overpopulation of the snowy white birds in their normal haunts "forces many to winter farther south than normal, where food and space is plentiful. Assateague Island, with vast numbers of prey sources and wide-open beach, provides excellent habitat for the visiting owl."

And he introduces us to perhaps the most famous of the seashore's horses, Charcoal, reportedly the only black stallion on the Maryland side of the seashore. In today's wired world, where reading attention seems to focus on 140-character bites or poorly spelled texts, Natural Wonders of Assateague is both a quick exploration of the national seashore and one that sparks the curiosity, to visit as well as to read more about this magical spot in the National Park System.
--Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Clarissa Hughes

Flowers in the Sky
A celebration of southern African starlore

2012
Paperback, full color, 96 pages

The night sky of southern Africa offers some of the best stargazing on the planet. Consequently, the indigenous people of the subcontinent have been exposed to a cosmic clarity since time immemorial, developing complex knowledge systems in the process. Flowers in the Sky is a collection of stories that provides insight into our traditional cosmologies. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in astronomy and indigenous cultures, and the links they share.

Researching this title entailed scouring academic records, reading widely and interviewing traditional healers and members of numerous indigenous societies. Over the years an idea that started out as intuition has slowly taken form in her mind. African culture reveals an intimacy with the natural environment that can provide an essential key to retrieving a global sense of kinship with nature. In other words, the sense of disease that results from a spiritual separation from the cosmos may be repaired by exposure to 
these cultures.

Review: This is a gem of a book. It is historically significant in that it reminds us that one of the great psychological tasks we face as human beings is that of our search for meaning, continuity and a sense of belonging in our world. We must never forget the continuity that exists between the ‘just so’ stories of the human narrative and the ‘so it is’ discoveries of modern science. Born from the same creative crucible of the human imagination, modern astronomy now confirms what human intuition has somehow always suspected -- that the fiery lives of stars have something to do with us. Indeed, without them, the trace elements that ultimately define biological life would not exist. Yes, we are connected, not only to the stars but to the lives of all living things. Imbued with fun, mischief and wisdom, it is what the traditional stories compiled by Clarissa Hughes conveys. As an environmentalist with a special interest in the lessons we learn about ourselves from the wild, this book will be a red-blooded companion to the teaching of the basic yet awesome principles of astronomy.
--Ian McCallum

Review: In the world of conservation, science has long been able to have its say, but there has been a lack of the authentic indigenous voices. This is a book not to be missed for those of us who seek deeper meaning in the stories of the indigenous cultures. [Clarissa’s] book adds a completely new dimension to star gazing. I agree wholeheartedly ... where she says, “In the West’s pursuit of the rational and the scientific, we have forgotten what we once knew – that all knowledge is interconnected,” and how in Southern African star tales religion is told in relation to nature. Jung would have heartily approved of Clarissa Hughes statement, “that we cannot survive alone. Reconnecting with our natural selves requires a spiritual development never before demanded of our species.” Clarissa Hughes has written a beautiful little book and she is to be congratulated for the warmth and the passion of 
her writing.
--Ian Player

 

 

 

Ted R. Kahn

Aposematic Poison Frogs (Dendrobatidae) of the  Andean Countries

2016, Conservation International, U.S.
Paperback, color plates, color photos, 588 pages

“This guide in the diversity of poisonous frogs is a pleasure to read. The authors of each section are experts on the particular taxa… The distribution maps are well done and there are numerous photographs illustrating typical habitats. One thing that really stands out is the inclusion of generous illustrations of each species by Ted R. Kahn. These depictions are accurate and stunningly beautiful—one cannot help but be awed by the beauty and diversity of these frogs after perusing these wonderful renditions… All-in-all this is an excellent field guide that should serve as an invaluable resource to scientists and hobbyists alike.”

Kyle Summers, Professor, East Carolina University

“This book is an outstanding resource for herpetologist and others interested in anuran biology. The writing is readily understandable and the illustrations are beautiful and informative. The species accounts will be helpful to all who wish to become more knowledgeable about this amazing group of frogs.”

W. Ronald Heyer
Research Zoologist Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution,
National Museum of Natural History

 

 

 

 

 K.Linda Kivi and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

The Inner Green
Exploring Home in the Columbia Mountains
2005, MAA Press, US
Paperback

This powerfully felt and deeply thoughtful book is full of stories, adventure and observations about the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. K.Linda Kivi and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes have explored their connections to place and captured the essence of the ecosystems of the Interior Temperate Rainforest. The Inner Green is the kind of book I have been searching for -- it is destined to become a classic of its kind.

--Luanne Armstrong, author of The Bone House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Cyril F. Kormos

A Handbook on International Wilderness Law and Policy 
2008, Fulcrum Publishing 
Hardback, 416 pages

Many countries have specialized legislation and policy designed to create designated and de facto wilderness areas. The numerous lessons learned in these national and regional efforts have not been easily available to other countries considering wilderness protection. In response to this need, The WILD Foundation took on the task of collating and describing the efforts of 16 countries around the world in protecting wilderness through legislation and policy; they hoped that such a handbook would aid in the creation of new and improved global wilderness legislation and policy.

The book focuses on areas corresponding to the IUCN’s Category 1b-Wilderness classification. These areas are said to have three key values—biological, social, and iconic—that no other protected area classification can provide. The first of four sections in this book provides an overview of the wilderness concept, discusses the importance of creating law and policy to protect wilderness, and generates a list of compatible, rarely compatible, and incompatible forms of land use. The latter list may be somewhat controversial, as it is primarily based on the American conception of wilderness. For example, grazing is considered rarely compatible, and mechanized recreation is considered incompatible. The first section also provides a useful matrix of international wilderness definitions, legislative purpose, allowed activities, and administration and management of wilderness. As little discussion of this matrix is provided, this chapter might have been included as an appendix.

A related useful addition would be an appendix providing copies of wilderness legislation, or to save space, a list of websites that provided each country’s legislation and policy. The second and largest section of the book provides an analysis of wilderness legislation from 11 countries. I found the discussion in each chapter that outlined the idiosyncratic history and primary issues affecting the creation of wilderness legislation in each nation to be the most interesting reading, and was disappointed not to see additional discussion of each country’s limitations and enabling factors that led to the protection of wilderness via legislation. Although beyond the scope of this handbook, it would be interesting to have a global analysis of the critical success (and failure) factors, to allow individuals and groups to learn from these lessons. The third section reviews wilderness policy from countries in Africa and Europe, and the final section discusses future directions for wilderness law and policy. In the latter chapter, issues such as ocean, indigenous, and private sector wilderness are discussed, and key findings from previous chapters are briefly outlined.

This handbook admirably succeeds in its attempt to provide a state of the art review of global wilderness legislation and policy. I have no doubt that governments and nongovernmental organizations throughout the world would be well served to obtain a copy of this book to aid in their efforts to give wilderness the global protection it deserves.

--John Shultis, the Interntional Journal of Wilderness

 

 

 

 

Page Lambert

Summer/Fall 2016.  Sojourns: Landscapes for the People (
official publication of the Peaks, Plateaus & Canyons Association)

 celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the US National Park Service in this centennial issue.  The editors reached out to ILCW member (USA) Page Lambert and asked her to craft an essay. The result was her piece, “Mother Tongue, Heartbeat of the Land.”   Marcel Rodriguez of Utah wrote this about the essay: “I've been reading nature writers for most of my 93 years on the planet but the first seven paragraphs of your Mother Tongue essay in the current Sojourns is the most profoundly moving bit of writing I have ever read......” Read more about Sojourns magazine.  Read more aboutPage Lambert’s writing.


 

 

 

 

Stephen Leahy

Your Water Footprint 2014,

Firefly Books
Paperback, 144 pages

We know about our carbon footprint. Now environmental journalist Leahy alerts us to an even more daunting reality, our water footprint. There are no alternatives to water, and the supply of freshwater is finite. Obviously, we drink and use water in our daily routines, but we also consume massive quantities in agriculture and manufacturing. More than can be replaced. Leahy takes a uniquely clear and direct approach to revealing the magnitude of our hidden water profligacy by matching his exceptionally lucid narration with arresting, full-page infographics. We see that a pair of jeans, from cotton field to factory to you, requires 2,000 gallons of water. One measly liter of soybean-based biodiesel fuel requires 11,397 liters, or 3,010 gallons, of water. Page after page of such eye-opening calculations recalibrates our understanding of the invisible role water plays in every aspect of our lives, jarring disclosures that can help us make choices, however modest. For example, the production of one cup of tea requires 9 gallons of water; one cup of coffee, 37 gallons; two pounds of tomatoes, 56.5 gallons; two pounds of beef, 4,068 gallons. More information)

--American Library Association

 

 

 

 

David Lindo

Tales from Concrete Jungles: Urban Birding Around the World
2015, Bloomsbury Publishing
Hardcover, eBook, 240 pages with 5 drawings

 

Born and raised in London, David Lindo's passionate interest in the natural world, especially birds, began at an early age. His thriving curiosity opened a door for him into an unexplored world of urban birding. Years later he decided to champion the delights of birding in cities and reinvented himself as the Urban Birder. Using this illustrious alias David Lindo has brought urban birding back into the public consciousness, promoting its virtues at every opportunity and writing about it in the birding press. He urges people to look up when walking around in cities, or to stop and close your eyes in a busy street just to listen to the birds that may be singing.

In his second book, David visits some of the world's most unnatural environments, revealing the astonishingly diverse range of wildlife that can be found when you take the time to look. Much more than a compendium of birding sites, each tale follows the Urban Birder in his enthralling pursuit of city birding. Accompanied by dedicated local conservationists and renowned birders, David gives a deeper insight into the true nature of each city. Featuring 70 locations to explore, Tales from Concrete Jungles is the perfect book to dip in to when on the move, or to hide away with on a rainy afternoon. Join David in his celebration of nature, pick up travel inspiration, and immerse yourself in his captivating quest for urban birding.


“Lindo... manages to find wildlife havens in every city he visits.” 

--Caroline Morley, New Scientist


“It's a hugely energising tome, recasting travel-frowned concrete slabs of the UK and some global stop-offs as secret tweety paradises.” 

--Wanderlust

 

 

 

David Lindo

The Urban
Birder 2011, New Holland Publishers
Hardback, 224 pages

This engaging autobiography of a lifelong fascination with birding reaches out to readers urging us to connect with the natural world, as it exists around us, no matter where we are. Lindo tells and shows us that, just beyond our normal but limited perceptions, is a world that goes its own way whether or not we notice. So he asks, why don’t we take some time, look around, ask questions, research and learn about this not so hidden environment?

More than shows on TV or information on the internet is available to all of us and especially children who don’t have the means to independently go into the wild. Lindo shows us that our contact with nature is not limited to the wilderness as he demonstrates how to see, listen and discover the natural world within our 
urban environs.

Another more unexpected aspect of this book is Lindo’s exposure of his fear of birds.  He saw Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, as a young child and still carries the fear Hitchcock intended to convey. While able to control his reaction to that fear, and having viewed the movie with adult eyes that allow him to see the not so special effects used, the fear is still primal. Not all of us are able to see ourselves so clearly.                                                                                                                                                        --Judy Volc

 

 

 

 

Thomas Locker

John Muir 
Amerca's Naturalist 

Fulcrum Publishing
32 pages

In a series of richly painted landscapes, Thomas Locker brings the world and words of John Muir to readers of all ages. Equally at home in the wilderness of California and Alaska, Muir was a fervid naturalist who wrote inspiring lyrical descriptions of nature for the benefit of future generations. He also founded the Sierra Club to encourage citizens to protect what he considered our greatest treasure: the natural world.

 With text and illustrations accompanied by excerpts from Muir's writings, John Muir allows readers to experience Muir's adventures in nature and his contagious passion for wild lands. He recognized that wilderness should not only be appreciated but should be fought for, and his life and work eventually sparked the preservationist movement in the United States and throughout the world. Includes excerpts from Muir's work and a time line of major events in his life.

 

 

 

Ian McCallum

Ecological Intelligence  Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature

First published 2005, Africa Geographic 
US edition 2008, Fulcrum Publishing 
Paperback, 256 pages

Ecological Intelligence defines a new way of thinking about the unprecedented environmental pressures of our day. The book explores the relationship between nature and humans from both a biological and a poetic perspective, arguing that understanding and reinforcing the evolutionary bonds will lead to a greater sense of our place in the world. The notion of ecological intelligence is a wild and ethical imperative—a reminder that we are intrinsically linked to the land, that the history of every living creature is within us, that we are a mindful species that must not be the creatures of our own undoing.

Excerpt Have we forgotten that wilderness is not a place but a pattern of soul where every tree, every bird and beast is a soul marker? Have we not forgotten that wilderness is not a place but a moving feast of stars, footprints, scales and beginnings? Since when did we become afraid of the night and that only the bright stars count? Or that a moon is not a moon unless it is full?

 

 

 

 

Ron Melchiore

Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wildernes

New from Moon Willow Press, Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness, is about the journey Ron Melchiore undertook as a young man from the city, who first homesteaded in northern Maine and then lived in the bush of northern Saskatchewan. Living off grid since 1980 Melchiore speaks candidly about the joys and tribulations of his chosen lifestyle. He shares the diversity of his experiences in an easy-to-read, humorous, and sometimes harrowing narrative that includes hiking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail in winter, bicycling across the United States, homesteading off grid, and the terror of being surrounded by a wildfire and surprise encounters with bears, and more. Melchiore hopes to inspire others to “take the road less traveled.” He and his wife Johanna have lived off grid for many decades and currently reside in their Saskatchewan wilderness home that they built themselves. They rely on solar energy, a wind turbine, and growing their own vegetables. More information is available here.

 

 

 

 

Barbara J. Moritsch

The Soul of Yosemite

Finding, Defending, and Saving the Valley's Sacred Wild Nature
2012, CJM Books
Paperback, Kindle

Yosemite Valley's finely-woven ecological fabric is unraveling due to a combination of too many visitors and too much development. Barbara J. Moritsch gained a stunning insider's view of park management when she worked as a biologist in Yosemite Valley between 2002 and 2005. In The Soul of Yosemite, she shares her passion for the Valley, addresses management decisions that resulted in severely degraded natural resources, and presents a new vision that will fully embrace the Valley's incredible uniqueness and restore its wild nature. Moritsch strongly urges the National Park Service to reduce the impact of humans on Yosemite Valley once and for all, to bring their management focus back to the basics: natural beauty and wildness, and to recognize Yosemite's unique role as an emissary for wildness in the world--a much more important role than serving as a playground for the masses.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Mulvenna

WILD ROOTS: Coming Alive in the French Amazon

2016, Naturebased Publishing
160 pages, Kindle edition, in English

As we join the author, she has made tentative steps in our artificial culture, maybe even making a few false starts as we all have, and is settling into a guarded lifestyle when she meets a new man. No, this isn't a romance novel, unless you think of such as a romance with what life can be. The immersing experiences are related in an at first seemingly naïve voice evoking awe, with a magical blend of subtle humor, touMches of irony, sense of place, and insight, delivered at a quick pace. Quick to me at least, as I lost track of time reading this book. Getting further into the book, one realizes how much enlightening experience and breadth of knowledge is being served up. Only those overly full of themselves could resist being pulled along.
There are questioning natural world and biodiversity threads, subtle with a ring of hopefulness. And for the inquiring mind, there's also a fair amount of interesting fact asides cleverly interspersed. For example, do you know why French Guiana's geographical location is ideal for launching satellite rockets?

As another example of immersive writing, in this snippet the author is transitioning from a "civilized" world mindset to appreciating Amazonian Nature.
"It wasn’t long before illusions of following in the footsteps of eighteenth-century botanist Jean-Baptiste Aublet took root, and I tentatively slipped from the hammock to sit on the grass. However, rather than appreciate the nature around me, I anxiously looked about for armies of man-eating ants or hordes of tail-waving scorpions, cringing the moment so much as a breeze brushed against me."

Oh, and you think you have problems with wildlife in your yard? Try catching an enormous iguana making its way to the chicken pen, or helplessly watching as a colony of cassava ants make off with a good part of your garden.

So you don't get the idea that only wildlife falls under the microscope, here's an example of the author's wry humor.

"French Guiana is also a bureaucratic and bungling nightmare, and that is being optimistic. It took six months to open a bank account and longer for a debit card to arrive. On one occasion the wait was so long I asked, “Do you have a toilet?” “Yes, I will show you where it is,” said the clerk. Finding the door locked I asked, “May I have the key please?” “Oh no,” she said. “We can’t give out the key because one of our colleagues got murdered in there!” And at that moment I could understand why something like that may have happened."

Everything in these pages melds together in an exciting journey and enjoyable balanced learning experience, and I applaud how the author both entertains the surface reader and speaks to those that realize there is much more to life on our exciting little blue canoe than we're conscious of.

I truly hope that for all our sakes some of the author’s insight and passion finds its way into the minds and hearts of readers.

--From a review by L. G. Cullens

 

 

 

Ian Player

Zulu Wilderness

First published 1998, Fulcrum Publishing
Paperback, 320 pages

This is a book about Ian Player and his lifelong mentor, Magqubu Ntombela, a Zulu chief and game guard who spent almost all of his life in the service of wilderness conservation. It is also the story of South Africa, of civilization and wilderness, and of learning about nature and ourselves, about the past and the future. The last half-century has been an important time in the development of ideas about the importance of wilderness and its preservation. Ian Player is one of the most important individual in this fight. This book describes his and Magqubu’s friendship and experiences in South Africa.

Excerpt On frequent trips to Europe, the United States, and the Far East, I have noticed that among people, there is a weariness caused by travel without purpose. Instead of pilgrimages there are escapes. Africa can reintroduce this pilgrimage and give a new dimension to travel linked to our new age of exploration not only of outer space but also of the inner dimensions of humaness.

 

 

Bernard Quetchenbach:

Contributed an essay to an anthology entitled 
Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Greater Yellowstone

Contributors include Rick Bass, Terry Tempest Williams (foreword), and Jim Harrison. The book is published by Elk River Books. He also has two new books that will be released soon: a collection of essays called Accidental Gravity: Residents, Travelers, and the Landscape of Memory, in April from Oregon State University Press, and he edited a collection of poems called The Bunch Grass Motel: The Collected Poems of Randall Gloege, University of Montana Press, due out now.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 
Susan Richardson

Creatures of the Intertidal Zone 

Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature 
2008, Cinnamon Press
Paperback, 93 pages

A collection of poetry, Creatures of the Intertidal Zone, was inspired by Richardson’s journey through Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland in the footsteps of an intrepid eleventh century female Viking. One of the collection’s central themes is the impact of climate change and other environmental issues on the landscape of the arctic and sub-arctic.

Reviews:
Here is poetry...driven from within into the shape best suited to its purpose. Internal rhyme and assonance...sing out when the poems are read aloud. This is free verse at its finest....Poems in this collection fly without difficulty...I can still feel their impact on my heart.
 —poet Ann Drysdale

Susan Richardson beautifully marries the landscape of the polar regions with their--and her own--emotional topography. I particularly admire her spirited recreation of Gudrid, that enchanting eleventh century Viking heroine.                 
—-travel writer Sara Wheeler

Susan Richardson's journey to the ice, a voyage of personal discovery, has yielded an intriguing harvest.
—travel writer and broadcaster Trevor Fishlock

 

 

 

Susan Richardson

Skindancing

2015, Cinnamon Press

Paperback, 96 pages

Susan Richardson knows her poems off by heart. She doesn’t read them; she performs them. When you hear the words, it’s easy to understand why. Her words fit together; pick one up and you pick up the whole concatenation. Not only are the vowels and consonants locked together but the ideas, too, flow as indivisibly – and refreshingly – as water in a stream.

If a lion could speak,
we’d tire of his whinges of wardrobes and witches,
of how Richard filched his heart
and how his rampant act on flags
has knackered his hips.The ideas in Richardson’s latest poetry collection, Skindancing, are all of a piece too. They are to do with mutation or, to pick a more positive, grander word, transformation. This is a planet where change is fast and unpredictable, as if the evolution button is stuck on fast-forward. Adolescent girls change into seals (‘I found I could no longer part / my knees and thighs’), a woman changes into a doe and will ‘out-wood’ her fiancé-turned-hunter and a mother grows a beak.

As well as metamorphoses, there are new relationships between humans and animals too (indeed, one of Richardson’s poems is entitled ‘Humanimal’); there is a Harry Potter-esque hippo under the stairs, an emeritus professor translating Lionese and a porcine heart transplanted into a human.

Richardson creates new relationships between words as well. She is an expert at punning and while word play is integral to the sumptuous fabric of her poetry, this playfulness could occasionally risk distracting us from the poem’s story. Instead, we may find ourselves thinking about the flexible fun of language or the poet’s marvellous mind. For example, the enjoyable ‘Witch Fulfilment’ in which Richardson’s ‘herb-perfect’ witch has refined the art of ‘casting churls into swine’.

Yet this poet clearly wants to draw our attention to language. She is reminding us that language is a contrivance developed by humans, just as we crafted tools from stone and organised ourselves into social groups. Richardson invents delicious Carrollian words (‘closhi swush’, ‘hurble and blursh’) and beautiful words (windwhim, stillsea). She compresses words in a way that feels like a geological shorthand (‘how to happyeverafter’), as if the weight of centuries of human language has squeezed out all unnecessary air between letters and phrases (‘quicker than an ear’s fear-prick’).

There is much that is anthropological about Skindancing. The references to Waitrose, MGM, ladyshaves and Strepsils document human life as it is now. Yet when, in ‘Homophoca Vox Pop’, a photographer lies on the sand to take pictures of a seal and then turns into one, or when in ‘Zoomorphic’ someone shares a bed with an ‘insomnia llama’ that feels curiously real rather than a metaphor, we are being reminded that evolution is ongoing and that, although this is how we are now, there are many other ways we as a species could have developed and may still develop.

Skindancing is indeed so jam-packed with ideas, the reader can fear missing something. ‘Quappen’ is not, after all, one of Richardson’s made up words. Google reveals that it is a fish (and an articulated loader). Cernunnos may be familiar but what about Youwarkee? Not having a broad enough vocabulary – or a classical education – can feel intimidating. Nevertheless, the pleasure of the language and the accessibility of so many of the ideas means the reader doesn’t have to have a dictionary – or internet connection – at hand to be able to delight in this collection.

Deepening this enjoyment are the moments of beauty where jokiness is put aside and a more profound emotional connection can be made, arguably because language is so effectively serving the idea.

She will lick what she births
into a mix of huffs and words,

It is in these moments in particular where the human and the animal fuse, where a transformation occurs in both directions. Ultimately, Skindancing is poetry of celebration and of warning. Of knowing what we have been, what we are and what we may become.

— Joanna Lilley

The Dark Mountain Project

 

 

 

Susan Richardson

Where the Air is Rarefied 

Cinnamon Press (2011)

Where the Air is Rarefied  is the culmination of a long-term collaboration between Susan Richardson and printmaker Pat Gregory, which explores environmental and mythological themes relating to the idea of “the North”. In the process of making the work, and engaging with ideas around climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion, both poet and artist have drawn on a wide variety of sources, including Inuit Folk Tales and polar explorers' narratives, as well as on their own travels in Northern, sub-Arctic and Arctic regions. The book is available here

Review: The subject matter of this collaboration builds on the concerns and subjects of Susan Richardson's previous volume, Creatures of the Intertidal Zone, but the interplay with visual art has stimulated a new freedom and experiment with language ... pushing her work well beyond her previous comfort zones and ... making her emergence into a new breadth and vividness of voice, a new stage in her life as a poet.

—Philip Gross, poet

 

 

 

Lori Robinson

Saving Wild
Inspiration From 50 Leading Conservationists

Foreword by Jane Goodall
2016, New Insights Press
Paperback, 176 pages

According to scientists, we are entering the sixth great mass extinction event. Full of inspiration and hope, this book is an antidote for anyone who suffers from ecological despair over the current state of our planets wildlife and wild places. Lori Robinson sought out fifty of the world’s leading conservationists, men and women who have devoted their lives to saving some of the most endangered species and the most threatened areas on earth. To each she posed the question: How do you stay inspired? This book is the result. Among the people Robinson interviewed are wildlife filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert, elephant experts Daphne Sheldrick, Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, and ocean warrior Paul Watson. She spoke with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, and with Laura Turner, daughter of one of America’s most prominent conservationists. In the foreword Jane Goodall explains that she finds hope in the indomitable human spirit “embodied in the people who tackle seemingly impossible problems, and refuse to give up, and who so often succeed— like the inspirational people in this book.”

Lori Robinson holds degrees in environmental studies, biology and psychology. She writes about conservation for various blogs and magazines, including Africa Geographic and her own site, SavingWild.com and is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. She lives alongside deer, coyote, rabbits, and bear in a small old adobe home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is her second book. Info

Reviews:  “Climate change, biodiversity loss, overexploitation—these may seem like insurmountable problems. As a lover of some of the last wilderness areas in Africa, it frightens me that they could disappear forever. Yet Lori Robinson’s idea—to ask conservationists and activists how they stay inspired — should give hope and encouragement to us all. Forest ecologist Meg Lowman reminds us that “it takes the same amount of energy to complain as it does to exclaim,” yet the results are so different. This book will shine a spotlight on the issues and, I hope, inspire readers to become part of the solution.”
—Roxanne Reid
Author of Travels in the Kalahari and A Walk in the Park

 

“Thankfully, many people work hard and selflessly to protect our ecosystems, natural resources, and biodiversity. In so doing they also address poverty, hunger and thirst, thus spreading peace. It is easy to despair over what seem to be dismally stark issues; but the many threads of hope in this book are intoxicating and fortifying, thus enhancing our ability to protect this planet — since there is no Planet B.”
—Alison M. Jones
Conservation photographer and founding director of No Water No Life, LLC

 

 

 

 

Lori Robinson (ILCW member) and Janie Chodosh

Wild Lives

Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love

2017, Skyhorse Publishing
Hardcover, 224 pages
Passionate and inspiring, Wild Lives is an important and timely reminder of the beauty and fragility of our world and the obligation that every person has towards preserving it.

“Almost every day we hear one more story about a species facing extinction, a habitat destroyed. And indeed, planet earth has never been so threatened by human actions. This is why Wild Lives is so desperately important. The people in this book are united by their belief that it is not too late to turn things around. You will be inspired by their stories. You will realize that there is hope for the future if we join the fight, if each of us does our bit.”

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE,
and UN Messenger of Peace,
founder of the Jane Goodall Institute

 

 

  

 

Doug Scott

Our Wilderness 

America’s Common Ground 
Fulcrum Publishing, 2009 
Paperback, 64 pages

In the seventeenth century, America was wilderness except for a small strip along the Atlantic Ocean. Through the westward migration, increases in population, and modern industry and mining, much of it disappeared. Yet throughout the twentieth century, and especially in the 1950s through the 1980s, many people fought for wilderness, clean air, and clean water. Our Wilderness is a visual and verbal celebration of the importance and joy of wilderness. This book should be read by everyone who cares about wilderness and recognizes the obligation to preserve wilderness for our grandchildren.

Excerpt Of the many values wilderness offers, none is more important than stimulating our understanding of the natural world, on a small as well as a large scale. In wilderness areas we protect the natural communities of plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species. Here wildflowers bloom in dazzling displays and wildlife can be found “pasturing freely,” in Thoreau’s phrase—including species such as mountain goats, elk, spawning salmon, woodpeckers, wolverine, and grizzlies, which require large, undisturbed habits to survive. Thus preserving wilderness areas helps maintain life-sustaining biodiversity.

 

 

 

Mike Shanahan

Ladders to Heaven: How fig trees shaped our history, fed our imaginations  and can enrich our future 

(European ed.) 2016, 224 pages, Unbound, (European Ed.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Shanahan

Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees (No. American ed.)

2016, 208 pages, Chelsea Green Publishing (No. Am. Ed.)
Hardcover and Ebook

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Ladders to Heaven / Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story. Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles in the dawn of civilization. They feature in every major religion, starring alongside Adam and Eve, Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. This is no coincidence – fig trees are special. They evolved when giant dinosaurs still roamed and have been shaping our world ever since. These trees intrigued Aristotle and amazed Alexander the Great. They were instrumental in Kenya’s struggle for independence and helped restore life after Krakatoa’s catastrophic eruption. Egypt’s Pharaohs hoped to meet fig trees in the afterlife and Queen Elizabeth II was asleep in one when she ascended the throne. And all because 80 million years ago these trees cut a curious deal with some tiny wasps. Thanks to this deal, figs sustain more species of birds and mammals than any other trees, making them vital to rainforests. In a time of falling trees and rising temperatures, their story offers hope. Ultimately, it’s a story about humanity’s relationship with nature. The story of the fig trees stretches back tens of millions of years, but it is as relevant to our future as it is to our past.

Praise for the book:

“Surprising, engrossing, disturbing, and promising, Gods, Wasps and Stranglers combines masterful storytelling and spellbinding science. This is a beautifully-written and important book about trees that have shaped human destiny.”
—Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus

“The complex web of ecological connections between fig trees, tropical forest animals and plants, as well as people and human culture is nothing short of a marvel. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers is a page-turner and a revelation: You will never again think of a fig as just something to eat. There is no better way to introduce the complexity and wonder of nature—and our intricate relationship with it. A must read.”
— Thomas E. Lovejoy, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University; fellow, National Geographic Society

“A real labour of love, concisely and elegantly told.”
—Fred Pearce, author of The New Wild; environmental consultant for New Scientist

 

 

 

 

Bill Sherwonit

Changing Paths 

Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness
University of Alaska Press, 2009 
Paperback, 212 pages

Written in three parts, Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness explores author Bill Sherwonit's long-running and life-changing relationship with the Central Brooks Range. The narrative is framed by a two-week, 50-mile solo trek that Sherwonit took through Alaska's northernmost mountain chain at age 50. Within that framework, he moves across space and time to explore both his own and our culture's evolving relationship with wilderness and, more generally, wild nature. Part 1 describes Sherwonit's introduction to the Brooks Range, his years as an exploration geologist, and the narrative's key scene or transforming moment: a discovery he makes in the Ambler River Valley. Part 2 takes the author deeper into the past, to explore his childhood roots in rural Connecticut and his recognition of wild nature as refuge. Part 3 follows Sherwonit as he becomes a nature writer and wilderness advocate, moving steadily deeper into the wilderness, both physically and spiritually. Here the narrative "opens up" to include reflections on the larger importance of wilderness to humans and the essential value of wild nature, in and of itself. The story also reflects upon Bob Marshall's wilderness-preservation legacy, the creation of Gates of the Arctic National park, the Nunamiut Eskimo people who live here, the necessity of solitude, and much more.

Reviews:
Changing Paths is a fetching and affecting backcountry chronicle by a humble and unassuming man who loves low adventure as much as high, and loves the wilderness as much as anyone I know. Bill Sherwonit, a pillar and a pro among Alaska writers, walked deep into the Brooks Range and brought back what he found with naked honesty and keen attention. He gives us animal and plant, rock and mountain, with a personal immediacy and clarity reminiscent of the closest encounters with this great land, even those of the Muries themselves. If Sherwonit's is a journey of the heart as much as tussock and ledge, full of his own doubts, demons, and dooneraks, it is also a report of rare and informed constancy, perception, and reverence. As one who has set foot in the Brooks, but only once, I feel much the richer for this clear-eyed naturalist's devoted account. I am certain it will lure me back to this none-too-barren ground.
--Robert Michael Pyle, author of Mariposa Road: The First Big Butterfly Year
Wintergreen, Chasing Monarchs, and Sky Time in Gray's River

Alaska's Brooks Range is one of the world's most self-willed (i.e. "wild") places on the planet. Maintaining the opportunity for extended self-reliant, unmechanized trips in this country should be one of the nation's top priorities in environmental policy. Bill Sherwonit's exciting book tells why. He has gone "into the wild" in the tradition of Bob Marshall and the Muries. For an answer to the question "why wilderness?" turn to this book rather than to the hair-splitting of academics or the clumsy account of Chris McCandless.
--Dr. Roderick Frazier Nash, professor Emeritus of History and Environmental Studies, 
University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Wilderness and the American Mind

Bill Sherwonit writes with the clarity of a journalist, the technical precision of a geologist, and the narrative energy of a natural storyteller--throwing in the occasional flash of poetry. Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness is a vivid contribution to American nature writing, in the tradition of Barry Lopez and Richard Nelson, that will help readers understand why wild places are so important to our inner lives.
--Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility

 

 

 

Seamus Shortt

Montevivo

2013, publisher

Paperback, 325 pages, color photos, illustrations and map


Montevivo follows in the genre of anthropomorphised animal fiction classics such as The Wind in the Willows or Watership Downand targets everyone who loves animals, nature and the countryside. The novel begins with a mysterious character's miraculous escape from death. Reading on, one is submerged into the idyllic world of Montevivo; a remote mountain which could be in any temperate wilderness on Earth. The protagonists are talking animals who have developed a culture based on literacy, self-sufficiency, farming, barter and crafts. Events are narrated through the eyes of the protagonist who is saved by a noble brown bear whom he loyally accompanies through many adventures. These would appear to culminate with the Montevivo annual Harvest and Music festival which brings together hundreds of other animal characters from the surrounding sierras. However passions for food, poetry, partying, music and romance have to be put to one side when a vile crime is perpetrated. Thereafter the suspense of a brutal thriller engulfs the reader.This story spans 33 chapters, and includes more than 30 colour original pictures created by the author (etchings, paintings, lithographs, ink and graphite works of art all digitally enhanced using computer graphics). Wildlife conservation and environmental awareness are woven into this story and the environmental focus is complemented by a factual Wildlife Glossary with colour photographs that details the conservation status of the 42 animal species appearing in Montevivo.  More information

 

 

 

Meera Subramanian

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

2015, Public Affairs
(In South Asia, the HarperCollins edition is available -- Elemental India: The Natural World in Crisis)
Hardback, 352 pages

Meera Subramanian is a US-based journalist and Fulbright-Nehru senior research fellow writes about culture, faith and the environment for newspapers and magazines around the world. The narrative nonfiction explores the human and global health implications of India’s ravaged environmental landscape in stories framed around the five elements. Publishers’ Weekly gave it a starred review, Kirkus Reviews called it “right thinking and accusatory in all the right places,” and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert said it is “at once sweeping and intimate—a smart, informative, richly reported book full of memorable characters.”

Reviews “Exemplary...Subramanian’s writing is thoughtful and often lyrical as she balances current science with narrative journalism from her travels, switching modes to great effect. While reporting on environmental issues can sometimes overwhelm or burden the reader with guilt, Subramanian thwarts this risk by providing refreshing glimpses of individuals and organizations working against the problems India faces. Her work is engaging, informative, and eminently readable.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This is investigative journalism as story: fact-filled but optimistic, rueful and inviting. The author writes with warm intelligence, and she challenges readers.… In each chapter, as well, Subramanian offers specific antidotes as anecdotes, narrating in a measured, conversational, welcoming voice… Each of the stories is comprehensive while nimble, as well as provocative. Promising prescriptions to five of India's baneful environmental cases—right thinking and accusatory in all the right places.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Tom Turner

David Brower
The Making of the Environmental Movement

2015, University of California Press
Hardcover, 320 pages and ebook

In this first comprehensive authorized biography of David Brower, a dynamic leader in the environmental movement over the last half of the twentieth century, Tom Turner explores Brower's impact on the movement from its beginnings until his death in 2000. Frequently compared to John Muir, David Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth, and helped secure passage of the Wilderness Act, among other key achievements. Tapping his passion for wilderness and for the mountains he scaled in his youth, he was a central figure in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore and of the North Cascades and Redwood national parks. In addition, Brower worked tirelessly in successful efforts to keep dams from being built in Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon.
Tom Turner began working with David Brower in 1968 and remained close to him until Brower’s death. As an insider, Turner creates an intimate portrait of Brower the man and the decisive role he played in the development of the environmental movement. Culling material from Brower’s diaries, notebooks, articles, books, and published interviews, and conducting his own interviews with many of Brower’s admirers, opponents, and colleagues, Turner brings to life one of the movement's most controversial and complex figures.

 

 

 

Marianne D. Wallace 
America’s Forests 
Guide to Plants and Animals 
Fulcrum Publishing, 2009 
Paperback, 48 pages

The 6th book in the America's Ecosystems series by Marianne D. Wallace explores everything from ponderosa pines of the West to the tropical rain forests of Central America. A great resource for budding naturalists and their families, including clear, informative text and superb illustrations by the author.

Did you know there are forests all over North America that provide homes to thousands of unique trees, plants and animals? This fun, informative book gives color pictures and lively description of many different kinds of forests, along with guides to discovering new and interesting animals. The whole family can have fun learning about forest layers, changing seasons and diverse habitats with this fascinating guide.
--Skipping Stones Magazine

 

 

 

Julianne Lutz Warren

Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey, Tenth Anniversary Edition
Rediscovering the Author of A Sand County Almanac

Island Press, May 2016
Paperback and Ebook, 528 pages, 6x9

With a new preface and foreword by Bill McKibben, Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey, Tenth Anniversary Edition, underscores the ever-growing importance of Leopold’s ideas in an increasingly human-dominated landscape. Drawing on unpublished archives, Julianne Lutz Warren traces Leopold’s quest to define and preserve land health. Leopold's journey took him from Iowa to Yale to the Southwest to Wisconsin, with fascinating stops along the way to probe the causes of early land settlement failures, contribute to the emerging science of ecology, and craft a new vision for land use. Leopold’s life was dedicated to one fundamental dilemma: how can people live prosperously on the land and keep it healthy, too? For anyone compelled by this question, the Tenth Anniversary Edition of Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey offers insight and inspiration. 

 

 

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