A Reading List for Earth Day 2022

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University presses like Chicago are committed to making available books that not only keep us informed, but also help us better understand the world and climate around us. To celebrate Earth Day, we’ve put together a reading list of recent books from Chicago and our client publishers that help shed light on different aspects of our planet.

For these and other recent and upcoming Earth Day inspirational titles, please visit our store at Librairie.org.

Animals’ Best Friends: Bringing Compassion to Animals in Captivity and the Wild

Barbara J. King / (Chicago)

“Kings animal best friends is the most comprehensive exploration I’ve read of the complex relationship between human and non-human, full of great ideas and practical information. Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times book review“According to the rules”

The Porch: Meditations on the Edge of Nature

Charlie Hailey / (Chicago)

the porch is a poignant, multi-sensory feast in the great tradition of nature writing by the likes of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, told from an architectural perspective. . . . [A] a tangible sense of the power of porches – even through words – to provide a deep sense of mindfulness and connection with the natural world. Architect magazine

Extraordinary orchids

Sandra Knapp, Foreword by Mark W. Chase / (Chicago)

“Meticulously researched – as you would expect from Knapp, senior research botanist at the Natural History Museum – this book is also lavishly animated with an abundance of artwork by a roll call of leading botanical illustrators. … Full of exciting surprises and interesting information about this huge, diverse family of flowering plants. BBC Wildlife

Nature Fast and Nature Slow: how life works, from fractions of a second to billions of years

Nicholas P. Money / (Reaktion Books)

“It’s a beautiful concept, a cosmic zoom of biology, where the zoom is not in space but in time. Each chapter examines the biological actions that occur within a particular time frame, starting with those that occur in a fraction of a second and up to billions of years. popularscience.co.uk

What kind of ancestor do you want to be?

John Hausdoerffer, Brooke Parry Hecht, Melissa K. Nelson and Katherine Kassouf Cummings / (Chicago)

“A wonderfully unclassifiable book, What kind of ancestor do you want to be? challenges us to live not just for tomorrow or for our children, but for many generations to come. Featuring interviews and essays by thinkers from all social disciplines – anthropologists, environmental activists, Indigenous leaders, sociologists, and more. Book Culture Blog

Terrible Beauty: Elephant – Human – Ivory

Stiftung Humboldt Forum Im Berliner Schloss / (Hirmer Publishers)

Piano keys. Chess pieces. Jewelry. Ivory has been in high demand for centuries and in all cultures, but at a high cost to the elephants from which it comes. What type of material is ivory? How has it been used in the past and present? And what can we do today to protect the world’s largest land mammals from poachers? This lavishly illustrated volume traces the cultural history of ivory as a decorative object and the cause of elephants’ place for decades on the endangered species list. The book approaches its subject critically and asks what exactly is our responsibility towards ivory as a beautiful material with cruel origins.

The Curse of the Nutmeg: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Amitav Ghosh / (Chicago)

“Enlightening. . . . [Ghosh] wants us to take into account broader power structures, involving “the physical subjugation of people and territory” and, above all, “the idea of ​​conquest, as a process of extraction”. The world-as-resource perspective not only depletes our environment of the raw materials we crave; it ends up making it meaningless. New Yorker

Strange Bright Flowers: A History of Cut Flowers

Randy Malamud / (Reaktion Books)

“Examining all things floral, from paintings, fashion and pressed flowers to decorative church hats and flower power, this lavishly illustrated book takes snippets from one aspect of the human urge to tame and conserve nature.” Apollo

Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species of the Anthropocene

Nancy Langston / (Brandeis University Press)

“Langston brings to his readers a profound message of warning and encouragement to action, of the potential for tragedy and the potential for renewal. While what has already happened cannot be changed, what is happening then it can be, but to act wisely, one must come to understand these species in themselves as well as their existence in their environment. Climate ghosts is clearly a step towards such knowledge. Well-read naturalist

Tropical Arctic: lost plants, future climates and the discovery of ancient Greenland

Jennifer C. McElwain, Marlene Hill Donnelly and Ian J. Glasspool / (Chicago)

tropical arctic recreates an ecosystem that collapsed 200 million years ago with detailed and beautiful words and visuals. . . . Warning that humans have become “a geological-scale force acting on our entire Earth system”, this timely book is gripping as it relays the dangers of overstepping the limits of plant and animal resilience and overheating. an Earth already too hot”. Foreword Notice

We are all whalers: the plight of whales and our responsibility

Michael J. Moore / (Chicago)

“Marine scientist and veterinarian Moore makes a compelling case that the survival of whales depends on all of us, not just those who venture out on ships, hunting whales for their meat and blubber. It’s sobering to tackle the ways we might be unwittingly contributing to the demise of mammals, such as by eating commercially caught seafood. But Moore also offers reason for hope, including new technology for ropeless fishing. Washington Post

The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health

Lina Zeldovich / (Chicago)

The other dark matter does not shy away from the enormity of the problems, but suggests that solutions are achievable, on scales ranging from individuals to entire countries. Paced quickly with prose enlivened by on-the-spot reporting and the author’s personal experiences, the book is far from a grim chore in the sewers of the world – it’s more of a thrilling tour in a fueled balloon to biogas. Salon

Avian Illuminations: A Cultural History of Birds

Boria Sax / (Reaktion Books)

“Sax thinks ‘these interconnections are so deep. . . that a world without birds would effectively mean the end of humanity, even if we continued to pass on some approximation of our DNA. To this end, he draws on a rich assemblage of examples from ornithology, history, folklore, literature, popular culture and the graphic arts to weave together what he calls his ” bird’s nest” of facts, stories, myths and images. Times Literary Supplement

Naturally brilliant color

Andrew Parker / (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

“Incredible . . . This new technology is an example of bio-inspiration, art and science combined; producing the most vivid colors found in nature such as those seen in hummingbirds, birds of paradise, fish tropical plants and butterflies. Not only are they mesmerizingly beautiful, but they have the potential to replace pigments that cannot always be sustainably or ethically sourced. This would be a major step forward for an industry striving to create products that are commercial, beautiful and respectful of the planet. PANTONE.com

Fascinating Seashells: An Introduction to 121 of the World’s Most Wonderful Shellfish

Andreia Salvador / (Chicago)

“Beautifully illustrated with photographs of mollusc shells held by the Natural History Museum in London, this engaging book educates and inspires simply by showing and telling us about the animals that created these stunning works of art. Who ever thought that could a person learn so much about natural history and evolution, about human culture and human nature by learning about mollusk shells?” GrrlScientist, Forbes

Power in nature: the subtle and not-so-subtle ways animals strive to control others

Lee Alan Dugatkin / (Chicago)

“Current and fascinating. . . . Dugatkin’s book is excellent food for thought on the nature of power, equality and fairness, the origins of justice and the origins of sociality in animals, including including our own species. Nature ecology and evolution

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