Beavers, National Parks and Trump’s Attacks on Science: 16 New Environmental Books for June
By John R. Platt
We've made it past Memorial Day weekend, which means that for many of us it's time to start planning our summer reading lists. Luckily there are plenty of new environmentally themed books coming out in June—more than any one person could read at the beach or by the campfire, but enough for everyone to easily pick out a few titles that appeal to them.
Here's our list of the 16 best-looking books being published this month, including books about whales, beavers, sea-level rise, national parks, the Trump administration's attacks on science, the history of radical environmentalism and a whole lot more. As usual, we've tried to pick a wide range of titles for dedicated environmentalists, nature-loving kids, mystery fans and everyone in between.
Wildlife, Animals and Endangered Species:
North America's ecosystems are messed up, and the eradication of beavers is often to blame. Millions of these crafty critters were trapped and killed for their fur, leaving the ecosystems that depended on them up a creek without a beaver. Goldfarb looks at the consequences of the loss of beavers, as well as the people who are trying to restore their populations. (Related: read Goldfarb's recent essay, Can Wildlife Services Learn to Believe in Beavers?)
The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine's Greatest Fishery? by Christopher White
As someone who spent eight years living in coastal Maine, I know how utterly reliant the local economy is on lobster fishing. But that industry, currently booming, could soon crash as a result of climate change and warming oceans. White bites into this critical issue and talks to the lobstermen who are working their tails off now but already bracing for an uncertain future.
How did whales evolve, and can they continue to survive in the face of climate change and other threats to the world's oceans? Pyenson, one of the world's most influential marine mammal researchers, dives deep into these issues in his important new book.
The Animal Lover's Guide to Changing the World by Stephanie Feldstein
Subtitled "Practical Advice and Everyday Actions for a More Sustainable, Humane and Compassionate Planet," this book by Feldstein, an activist with the Center for Biological Diversity (publishers of The Revelator) takes fans of pets and wildlife through the actions they can take to protect the planet and all of its denizens.
The Intrinsic Value of Endangered Species by Ian A. Smith
This academic book, from a series on studies in ethics and moral theory, argues that species have a right to exist because they are capable of existing and reproducing in the first place. Sounds like a good argument.
Squidtoons: Exploring Ocean Science with Comics by Garfield Kwan, Dana Song
Kids love weird creatures, and the ocean is full of them. So is this book. The illustrations are pretty neat, too.
Science and Politics:
Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology and Politics in Science (Revised & Expanded) by John Grant
I was a huge fan of this book when it was first released as a small hardcover 10 years ago. Now it's back in a much larger and massively updated format. Grant (an award-winning science-fiction writer and editor) looks at centuries of history to expose how science has been misused and misrepresented since the age of Galileo—and into the modern climate-change denial movement and the Trump administration.
What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha
A first-person account of how the author, a pediatrician and activist, helped to uncover and expose the devastating lead-water contaminant crisis in Flint, Michigan.
National Parks and Public Lands:
Yosemite Fall: A National Park Mystery by Scott Graham
A mystery novel, book four in a series set in national parks, about an archeologist trying to solve two murders: one from 150 years ago and another, in the present day, in which he's just been implicated.
Where the Fire Falls: A Vintage National Parks Novel by Karen Barnett
Here's another mystery set in a national park, this time a romantic thriller that takes place in Yellowstone during the 1920s.
This month's third and final work of fiction set in a national park, this time an epoch-leaping kids' book that explores thousands of years of history of Maine's Acadia National Park.
This heavily researched book—nonfiction, to set it apart from the others in this category—lays out the arguments for privatizing public land … and then obliterates them, showing why these landscapes are an asset for the country and its people.
Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush
A heavily reported look at the plants, animals and people in the United States who are already being affected by climate change and sea-level rise. Billed as "a shimmering meditation on vulnerability and vulnerable communities," as well as a look at "how to let go of the places we love." Uh-oh.
Environmentalism and Sustainability:
The Ecocentrists: A History of Radical Environmentalism by Keith Makoto Woodhouse
A look at the radical environmentalism movement that arose during the 1980s, from Earth First! and beyond.
What the heck are we eating, and what's happening to our bodies as a result? Lawless looks at the deteriorating nutritional content of our food, the chemicals it's packaged with, and how that's reshaping our brains, microbiota and genes.
A New Reality: Human Evolution for a Sustainable Future by Jonas Salk and Jonathan Salk
A look at the future of human population and related issues, with Jonathan Salk expanding upon ideas developed by his father, the famous creator of the polio vaccine.
That's it for this month, but there are lots more recent books waiting for you at your local bookstore or library. Check out our previous "Revelator Reads" columns for dozens of additional recent recommendations—and feel free to recommend your own recent favorites in the comments.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Revelator.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
- Annual Whale Slaughter Still a Tradition on the Faroe Islands ... ›
- Hundreds of Pilot Whales Die in Devastating Mass Stranding in New ... ›
- Green Group Tests Facebook With Ad Claiming Conservatives Back ... ›
- Illegal Wildlife Trade Thrives on Facebook, Internet Forums ... ›
- Facebook Loophole Allows Climate Deniers to Spread Misinformation ›
- Facebook Hires Koch-Funded Climate Deniers for 'Fact-Checking ... ›
By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
- Sweden to Become One of World's First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation s ... ›
- These Countries Are Leading the Transition to Sustainable Energy ... ›
- Sweden Shuts Down Its Last Coal Plant Two Years Early - EcoWatch ›
By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Oxford Endowment Ditches Fossil Fuels in 'Historic' Decision ... ›
- Fossil Fuel Divestment Debates on Campus Spotlight Societal Role ... ›
- London and New York Mayors Call on Other World Cities to Divest ... ›