Book Review: Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics

A decade ago, not long after moving to Oregon, I traveled to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park where I entered an old-growth coast redwood forest for the first time. To say it was a moving experience is an understatement. The photographs I took were also an understatement; no picture can capture the enormity of these …

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Writing Opportunity: Poetry and essays for on plant poetics

Here’s an opportunity for contributions to a special issue on plant poetics. Submissions are open from November 1st to December 27th.  Poems and scholarly essays are invited in response to the following prompt from guest editor John Ryan: A novel area of science called plant cognition is showing us that plants are more than photosynthetic androids or …

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What I’m reading in the New York Times

A few articles that I bookmarked in the Times over the past two weeks… How Do the New Plant-Based Burgers Stack Up? We Taste-Tested Them I agree that Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat rank highest, though I’ve also been a long-time fan of Field Roast. But I always find it odd when taste tests include …

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Book Review: The Humane Gardener

What in the world could be inhumane about gardening? Plenty, it turns out, thanks to this beautifully produced and incredibly important book by Nancy Lawson: The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife. The Humane Gardener makes a persuasive case for rethinking conventional knowledge about what a garden or yard should look like and …

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Braiding Sweetgrass: Finding a way through environmental despair

At the ASLE conference earlier this summer I heard this book referenced in a number of sessions. And now, having read it, I realize why. Braiding Sweetgrass is a rich collection of essays about plants and animals, indigenous and scientific awareness, and our tenuous relationship with nature. But more than that, it is the story …

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Notes from the ASLE Conference in Davis, California

ASLE is the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Every other year, the organization hosts a conference; this year it was at the University of California at Davis, and we drove down to participate. I’m told there were more than 1,200 attendees, a conference record, and a sign that environmental literature is …

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Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment: And our irrational, insatiable, unsustainable desire to control nature

I feel ashamed to admit this, but until recently I had not read, end to end, Silent Spring. I had read parts of the book over the years and have been acutely aware of what the book is about — and perhaps this was the reason I avoided it for so long.  But when I saw …

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Book Review: The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail’s The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption is at once a memoir of the author’s experiences in nature and a report of the state of the planet amid rapid climate change. This well-researched, passionate book is about the end of more than ice—Jamail takes us …

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LitHub’s climate change library

If we lived on this planet only one day a year then perhaps celebrating one “Earth Day” a year would make more sense. But as LitHub points out, every day is earth day. And they are assembling an ambitious list of 365 books for your climate change library, beginning with the classics. It’s nice to …

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