Review: Building a Better World in Your Backyard

When it comes to nonfiction environmental books these days, I feel that we’re reaching “peek dystopia.” Or, at least I hope we are. Because it seems that between books about our warming planet, animal extinction, water shortages and wars, I’m sufficiently enlightened and depressed. What we don’t have enough of these days are hands-on books …

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New Podcast: John Yunker joins The Afterword for a Chat About Environmental Stories

Author and EcoLit Books co-founder John Yunker joined guest Joelle Teachey, executive director of Trees Upstate, for a podcast focused on environmental literature. The Afterword is a podcast devoted to the “future of words” and is hosted by Amy Bowling and Holland Webb. You can listen to it here. You can also subscribe via iTunes.

The list of outlets for environmental writing turns 70

As in there are now 70 of them. Thanks for everyone who contributed. We actually just received another contribution today so the list will be turning 71 shortly. The next challenge is how best to organize this list. Alpha sorting is a nice start but I’d love to improve upon it. Any suggestions are welcome…

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 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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