New Year, New Books: The 14 Best Environmental Books of January
By John R. Platt
It's a new year, and many of us have made our resolutions for the months ahead. Well, here's one more for you: Resolve to read about the critical environmental issues that will affect us not just this year but in the years to come.
Publishers have you covered for that resolution this month, with a wide array of interesting new books about climate change, wildlife, environmental history and sustainable food. Check out the list below for our picks for the 14 best eco-books of January 2019, with titles for everyone from wildlife-loving kids to professional conservationists. As usual our links are to publishers' or authors' websites, but you can also find any of these titles at your favorite bookseller or library.
Wildlife and Endangered SpeciesGiphy
The Snow Leopard Project and Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation by Alex Dehgan — A stunning true story about efforts to protect these endangered cats and other rare species while also helping to defend the human culture around them — and strengthening the bond between people and nature in the process.
Make a Home for Wildlife: Creating Habitat on Your Land by Charles Fergus — Whether you've got a tiny backyard or several acres, this could be a great book to make the most of the land around you.
A Puget Sound Orca in Captivity: The Fight to Bring Lolita Home by Sandra Pollard — If you want to understand the current plight of Southern Resident killer whales, it helps to start with their history. This is an important piece of that story, by the author of 2014's Puget Sound Whales for Sale.
Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, Slime and Nature's Other Decomposers by Anita Sanchez & Gilbert Ford — A fun kids' book about gross stuff like maggots and fungi, because what better way is there to get kids interested in nature?
The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail — A former war reporter takes his journalism skills to a new battle, traveling around the world to see the impacts of climate change firsthand.
Sudden Spring: Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South by Rick Van Noy — Tales of people and places already adapting to climate change — to help show the rest of us what we need to do sooner rather than later.
Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere edited by Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah — Famed biologist Edward O. Wilson provides the foreword to this massive new book addressing how climate change will impact extinction risks, food webs, invasive species, migration routes, forests and much more — and how conservationists and policymakers can respond.
The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World by Patrick Nunn — This isn't specifically about climate change, but it's still an important look at how traditional and indigenous folk stories and knowledge are full of valuable science about floods, shifting coastlines and other changing environments — in other words, information that can help us learn to adapt to future threats.
Climate Change and the People's Health by Sharon Friel — An academic book providing a framework for addressing both climate change and social inequality, since the former drives the latter and harms peoples' health in the process.
Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax Is Good for America by Gilbert E. Metcalf — Can market principles get us out of this climate change mess? An economist argues that they can. (Or, I don't know, we could just stop emitting carbon?)
Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis by David Loy — An important and thought-provoking call to action for Buddhists to save the planet, reflecting not just on the history of Buddhism but what it can do in the future.
Signs on the Earth: Islam, Modernity and the Climate Crisis by Fazlun Khalid — A religious case for an end to consumerism and industrialization, written by the founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science.
Sustainable Agriculture & FoodGiphy
One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl's Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture by Stephanie Anderson — We all want farming to be green and planet-healthy. Anderson explores farms around the country that are using nontraditional agricultural techniques and are giving back to the land in the process.
Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It? by Eric Holt-Gimenez — That's a good question! This short book (really a long essay) digs into the issues and argues that we already produce enough food to feed everyone on the planet, we're just growing and distributing it all wrong. Moving away from the existing exploitative system, Holt-Gimmenez argues, will both feed the planet and protect it from climate change and related threats.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Revelator.
- 19 Books to Take the Food System Back - EcoWatch ›
- How Can You Talk to Kids About Factory Farming? These Books ... ›
- Extremely Rare Leopard Cubs Born in Connecticut Zoo - EcoWatch ›
- Small Wild Cats Face Big Threats Including Lack of Conservation ... ›
- 5 Species Bouncing Back From the Brink of Extinction - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Julia Conley
A new campaign unveiled this weekend by the nonprofit organization Fossil Free Media aims to expand on the goals of the fossil fuel divestment movement, cutting into oil and gas companies' profit margins through their public relations and ad campaigns.
<div id="1dcf1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5e39a5a3812bc2589ba8aa0563756e0"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1330177734799208465" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">PR and ad companies' work for the fossil fuel industry is pushing the planet past the breaking point.… https://t.co/wOuDBM26ne</div> — Clean Creatives (@Clean Creatives)<a href="https://twitter.com/cleancreatives/statuses/1330177734799208465">1605974060.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="21b90" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bdc23e69ff18075b4fb5df6d4939b9f5"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1330205383848288257" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Porter Novelli isn't some small shop: they've got offices and clients in 60 countries and are part of @Omnicom, the… https://t.co/iw0BCmrdzx</div> — Jamie Henn (@Jamie Henn)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieclimate/statuses/1330205383848288257">1605980652.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's a BIG deal that they're dropping fossil fuel clients—let's make sure it's the drop that starts a flood," wrote Henn. </p>
- Fossil Fuel Industry Is Now 'in the Death Knell Phase': CNBC's Jim ... ›
- Dozens of Faith Institutions Announce Divestment From Fossil Fuels ... ›
- All Renewables Will Be Cost Competitive With Fossil Fuels by 2020 ... ›
By Jason Farley
COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives, and it is poised to completely disrupt the holiday season. As people make holiday plans and think about ways to reduce the risks to their loved ones, a strategy is essential.
Are masks really necessary at family gatherings?<p>If you're gathering with friends and family who don't live in your home, yes. Just because you're with people you know doesn't mean you're safe from the coronavirus. Infection rates are <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases-50-states" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">higher now than they have ever been</a> in the U.S., and <a href="https://youtu.be/ehdgceGzQxs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">small gatherings have been a source</a> of viral spread. All it takes is one infected person who doesn't know they have the coronavirus to infect others.</p><p>Remember, people can be <a href="https://medical.mit.edu/covid-19-updates/2020/07/how-long-symptom-onset-person-contagious" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">contagious two to three days</a> before symptoms show – that's one thing that makes this virus so hard to stop. And it's why, even if you feel fine, you should wear a mask.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that when both people are wearing masks, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank">likelihood of infection is low</a>.</p>
Who am I protecting when I wear a mask?<p>In a word: everyone. The coronavirus <a href="https://theconversation.com/aerosols-are-a-bigger-coronavirus-threat-than-who-guidelines-suggest-heres-what-you-need-to-know-142233" target="_blank">spreads through respiratory droplets</a> that you send out into the air when you talk, sing or even just breathe. The tiniest of these droplets can float on air currents for long periods.</p><p>Face masks stop many of those droplets, reducing the amount of virus in the air. That lowers your chances of getting infected, and it also lowers the chances that you'll infect someone else.</p><p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank">Studies of people who had prolonged exposure</a> to others with COVID-19 have demonstrated how masks can reduce the chance of the virus spreading. In general, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">well-fitted cloth masks</a> made up of multiple layers can stop most large droplets and at least half of the tiny ones. Plastic <a href="https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.05.20207241" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">face shields</a> alone are far less effective. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/13/cdc-mask-guidance-masks-valves/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Face masks with valves or vents</a> might be good for construction work, but they don't stop the wearer from breathing out virus into the air.</p>
Can I reuse a mask and when should I replace it?<p>Reusable masks should be kept clean and dry. We're moving into cold and flu season, and noses get drippy. A rule of thumb: Anytime a mask is wet to the point that you can discern the wetness, it's time for a new one if it's disposable, or it's time to clean your reusable mask.</p><p>Wetness allows viruses to more easily move through paper or fabric because it allows the threads to move and may reduce the electrostatic charge in the masks that add extra protection with some fabrics.</p><p>In general, you can use a mask that stays clean and dry for about a week before you need to wash or discard it.</p>
How should I clean a cloth mask?<p>Washing your mask is like washing your clothes. You know when it is time.</p><p>In general, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html" target="_blank">cleaning your mask weekly</a> should be sufficient. If odors develop before then, it's a good idea to wash it sooner. Odor generally means bacterial buildup.</p><p>Cleaning your mask by hand with soap and water is your best option. Using a general detergent on a gentle cycle in the washing machine is also fine, but that may increase the risk of damage, depending on the quality of the material. COVID-19 is not a hardy virus. Any soap or detergent should work fine. There's no need for special chemicals, bleach or harsh soaps.</p><p>Be careful to remove any inserts before washing. Inserted filters are generally not washable.</p><p>Air drying masks works best. Remember, masks should be completely dry before use. So be sure to have a replacement mask handy while the one you just washed dries.</p><p>Sunlight is always a great source of heat to dry your mask. Also, sunlight has ultraviolet radiation, which has been shown to <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/php.13293" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eliminate coronavirus</a> and is also known to have antibacterial properties.</p>
Can I wear the mask below my nose?<p>Wearing your mask below your nose is, frankly, ridiculous.</p><p>Think about it. If you are breathing through your nose and only covering your mouth, you are effectively eliminating the point of the mask. Properly wearing a mask requires covering both your nose and mouth at all times.</p><p>Studies show that wearing a proper cloth mask or surgical mask while exercising <a href="http://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202008-990CME" target="_blank">doesn't affect the flow of oxygen</a> or carbon dioxide in any detectable way. So, unless you have serious heart and lung problems, that isn't an excuse.</p>
How do I safely remove my mask if I’m going to eat or drink?<p>When you <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html" target="_blank">take your mask off</a>, remove it carefully by the straps without touching anything else and put it somewhere safe, like wrapped in paper in a purse, bag or pocket. Then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. When you put it back on, wash your hands again.</p>
So, how can I have a safe holiday gathering?<p>The safest way to celebrate this year is to do so with members only within your household. The <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CDC is now stressing that point</a>, as well. If you do celebrate with friends and relatives from outside your household, you need an action plan to reduce the risk of exposure.</p><p>Here are five recommendations:</p><ul><li>Limit the number of people – fewer people means fewer opportunities for exposure, and you'll have more room to spread out.</li><li>Require masks when not eating or drinking.</li><li>Use physical distancing when eating. Try to seat people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3223" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least 6 feet apart</a>. Eat outside if you can.</li><li>Consider being tested for COVID-19 before traveling or gathering. It's not a guarantee, but it can help flag illnesses. Remember to self-isolate between the test and the event.</li><li>Be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days after traveling or participating in any event that involves people from outside your home.</li></ul><p>[<em>Research into coronavirus and other news from science</em> <a href="https://theconversation.com/us/newsletters/science-editors-picks-71/?utm_source=TCUS&utm_medium=inline-link&utm_campaign=newsletter-text&utm_content=science-corona-research" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Subscribe to The Conversation's new science newsletter</a>.]</p><p><em>The map has been updated with New Hampshire announcing a mask mandate effective Nov. 20.</em></p><p><em>Jason Farley is a professor, infectious disease-trained epidemiologist and nurse practitioner at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.<br></em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, ANP-BC, FAAN receives funding from the National Institutes of Health on the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for COVID-19 and Becton Dickinson for studies on SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-face-masks-belong-at-your-thanksgiving-gathering-7-things-you-need-to-know-about-wearing-them-150130" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
- Does laundry need to be treated differently and disinfected ... ›
- Reusable Cups, Bags and Containers Can Be Safe During COVID ... ›
- How to Host a Safe Holiday Meal During Coronavirus – an ... ›
Despite being a well-known port of call on the Caribbean cruise circuit, the City of Key West voted to ban large cruise ships from visiting and to restrict foot traffic from vessels. Supporters and opponents disagreed about the safety, environmental and economic merits of the proposals.
- Leading Cruise Lines Face Lawsuits Following Handling of COVID ... ›
- Thousands of Ships Use 'Cheat Devices' to Dump Toxic Wastewater ... ›
- Environmental Report Card Grades Cruise Ships - EcoWatch ›
- Coral Rescue Team Races to Save Endangered Corals From ... ›