By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz
With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.
1. Be My Guest: Reflections on Food, Community, and the Meaning of Generosity by Priya Basil (forthcoming November 2020)<p>Priya Basil explores the meaning of hospitality within a variety of cultural, linguistic, and sociopolitical contexts in this short read. Basil uses her cross-cultural experience to illustrate how food amplifies discourse within families and touches on the hospitality and the lack thereof that migrants and refugees experience. <em>Be My Guest </em>is at once an enjoyable read and a hopeful meditation on how food and hospitality can make a positive difference in our world.</p>
2. Biodiversity, Food and Nutrition: A New Agenda for Sustainable Food Systems by Danny Hunter, Teresa Borelli, and Eliot Gee<p>In <em>Biodiversity, Food and Nutrition</em>, leading professionals from Bioversity International examine the positive impacts of biodiversity on nutrition and sustainability. The book highlights agrobiodiversity initiatives in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, featuring research from the <a href="https://www.bioversityinternational.org/research-portfolio/diet-diversity/biodiversity-for-food-and-nutrition/" target="_blank">Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project </a>(BFN) of the <a href="https://www.bioversityinternational.org/alliance/" target="_blank">Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT</a>. Through this analysis, the authors propose that the localized activities in these countries are not only benefiting communities, but are transferable to other regions.</p>
3. Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C. by Ashanté M. Reese<p>In <em>Black Food Geographies, </em>Ashanté Reese draws on her fieldwork to highlight community agency in response to unequal food access. Focusing on a majority-Black neighborhood in Washington, DC, Reese explores issues of racism, gentrification, and urban food access. Through her analysis, she argues that racism impacts and exacerbates issues of unequal food distribution systems.</p>
4. Black Food Matters: Racial Justice in the Wake of Food Justice edited by Hanna Garth and Ashanté M. Reese (forthcoming October 2020)<p>Access, equity, justice, and privilege are the central themes in this forthcoming collection of essays. The food justice movement often ignores the voices of Black communities and white food norms shape the notions of healthy food. Named for Black Lives Matter, <em>Black Food Matters </em>highlights the history and impact of Black communities and their food cultures in the food justice movement.</p>
5. Diners Dudes & Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture by Emily J.H. Contois (forthcoming November 2020)<p>In <em>Diners, Dudes & Diets</em>, Emily Contois looks at media's influence on eating habits and gendered perceptions of food. Focusing on the concept of dude foods, the book follows the evolution of food marketing for men. In doing so, Contois shows how industries used masculine stereotypes to sell diet and weight loss products to a new demographic. She argues that this has influenced both the way consumers think about food and their own identities.</p>
6. Feeding the Crisis: Care and Abandonment in America’s Food Safety Net by Maggie Dickinson<p>The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is essential for individuals who face food insecurity on a daily basis. Still, the program fails to reach many, including those who are unemployed, underemployed, or undocumented. <em>Feeding the Crisis</em> provides a historical overview of SNAP's expansion and traces the lives of eight families who must navigate the changing landscape of welfare policy in the United States.</p>
7. Feeding the Other: Whiteness, Privilege, and Neoliberal Stigma in Food Pantries by Rebecca T. de Souza<p>In <em>Feeding the Other</em>, Rebecca de Souza explores the relationship between food pantries and people dependent on their services. Throughout the work, de Souza underscores the structural failures that contribute to hunger and poverty, the racial dynamics within pantries, and the charged idea of a handout. She argues that while food pantries currently stigmatize clients, there is an opportunity to make them agents of food justice.</p>
8. Feeding the People: The Politics of the Potato by Rebecca Earle<p>In <em>Feeding the People,</em> Rebecca Earle tells the story of the potato and its journey from a relatively unknown crop to a staple in modern diets around the world. Earle's work highlights the importance of the potato during famines, war, and explains the politics behind consumers' embrace of this food. Interspersed throughout are also potato recipes that any reader can try.</p>
9. Food in Cuba: The Pursuit of a Decent Meal by Hanna Garth<p>In <em>Food in Cuba</em>, Dr. Hannah Garth looks at food security and food sovereignty in the context of Cuba's second largest city, Santiago de Cuba. Throughout the work, Garth defines a decent meal as one that is culturally appropriate and of high quality. And through stories about families' sociopolitical barriers to food access, Garth shows how ideas of food and moral character become intimately linked.</p>
10. Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain<p>Scholar, speaker, and strategist Marcia Chatelain provides readers insight into the ways fast food restaurants expanded throughout Black communities. Dr. Chatelain traces their growth during the 20th century and their intersection with Black capitalists and the civil rights movement. This book highlights the dichotomy between fast food's negative impacts on Black communities and the potential economic and political opportunities that the businesses offered them.</p>
11. Honey And Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper by Andrew Coté<p>In <em>Honey and Venom,</em> Andrew Coté provides a history of beekeeping while taking the reader through his own trajectory in the industry. A manager of over one hundred beehives, Coté raises colonies across New York City, on the rooftops of churches, schools, and more. Coté's<em> </em>passion for beekeeping comes through clearly as he narrates the challenges and rewards of his career.</p>
12. Life on the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont by Teresa M. Mares<p>Agriculture, immigration, and Central American and Mexican farm workers may conjure ideas of the Mexico-U.S. border, but in <em>Life on the Other Border</em>, Teresa Mares gives a voice to those laboring much farther north. Mares introduces the readers to the Latinx immigrants who work in Vermont's dairy industry while they advocate for themselves and navigate life as undocumented workers. This is an inspiring read that touches on the intersection of food justice, immigration, and labor policy.</p>
13. Meals Matter: A Radical Economics Through Gastronomy by Michael Symons<p>In <em>Meals Matter</em>, Michael Symons argues that economics used to be, in its essence, about feeding the world but has since become fixated with the pursuit of money. Symons introduces readers to gastronomic liberalism and applies the ideas of philosophers like Epicurus and John Locke to the food system. Through this approach, he seeks to understand how large corporations gained control of the market and challenges readers to rethink their understanding of food economics.</p>
14. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg<p>Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit and has since been a global symbol of environmental activism. Her community organizing and impassioned speeches are uncompromising as she argues that climate change is an existential crisis that needs to be confronted immediately. <em>No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference </em>includes Thunberg's speeches and includes her 2019 address to the United Nations.</p>
15. Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It by Tom Philpott (forthcoming August 2020)<p>In <em>Perilous Bounty</em>, journalist Tom Philpott critically analyzes the centralized food system in the U.S. and argues that it is headed for disaster unless it sees some much-needed changes. Philpot argues that actors within the U.S. food system are prioritizing themselves over the nation's wellbeing and provides well-researched data to back up his claims. Providing readers insight into the experiences of activists, farmers, and scientists, this is a great read for those starting to learn about the state of the country's food system and for those who are already deeply involved.</p>
16. Plucked: Chicken, Antibiotics, And How Big Business Changed The Way The World Eats by Maryn McKenna<p>In this exposé on the chicken industry, acclaimed author Maryn McKenna explains the role antibiotics played in making chicken a global commodity. <em>Plucked </em>makes it clear that food choices matter and show how consumers' desire for meat, especially chicken, has impacted human health. McKenna also offers a way forward and outlines ways that stakeholders can make food safer again.</p>
17. Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice by Lana Dee Povitz<p>Between 1970 and 2000, food activists in New York City pushed to improve public school lunches, provide meals to those impacted by the AIDS epidemic, and established food co-ops. In <em>Stirrings</em>,<em> </em>Lana Dee Povitz draws on oral histories and archives to recount the stories of individuals who led these efforts. She highlights the successes of grassroots movements and reminds readers of the many women leaders in the New York food justice movement.</p>
18. The New American Farmer: Immigration, Race, and the Struggle for Sustainability by Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern<p>In <em>The New American Farmer</em>, Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern offers a look at farm labor in the U.S. Although most farm owners are white Americans, farm workers are overwhelmingly immigrants and people of color. In this book, Minkoff-Zern details the experiences of farm laborers who are becoming farm owners themselves and outlines the many barriers that workers must overcome during this transition. Through interviews with farmers and organizers, Minkoff-Zern shows that these farmers bring sustainable agricultural practices that can benefit our food system.</p>
19. The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren<p>Hope Jahren breaks down climate change for readers in an accessible and data-driven book. <em>The Story of More </em>explains<em> </em>how greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of natural resources in developed nations exacerbate climate change and outlines the consequences of these actions. Although she argues that the planet is in danger, she also provides a variety of everyday actions, like decreasing meat consumption, that consumers can take to make a difference.</p>
20. Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry<p>Author, chef, and food justice activist Bryant Terry provides readers with over a hundred recipes to create approachable and flavorful vegan dishes, without relying on meat alternatives. This book is a wonderfully practical recipe book that begins with a list of recommended tools, is organized by ingredients, and even includes a music playlist. Vegans and non-vegans alike will appreciate Chef Terry's <em>Vegetable Kingdom</em>.</p><a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Make+this+summer+a+season+of+reflection+and+self-education+with+Food+Tank%27s+reading+list+%E2%80%94+new+and+important+books+from+%40AMReese07%2C+%40GretaThunberg%2C+%40EmilyContois%2C+%40BryantTerry%2C+%40DrMChatelain%2C+and+more&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffoodtank.com%2Fnews%2F2020%2F07%2Ffood-tanks-summer-2020-reading-list%2F&via=foodtank"><span></span></a>
By John R. Platt
When things get tough, many of us often turn to books for new information, inspiration or simple entertainment. Well, we've got you covered on all three counts, with 14 great new environmental books coming out this month. The list includes books for eco-interested kids, dedicated activists and everyone in between.
1. Nature Obscura: A City’s Hidden Natural World by Kelly Brenner<p>With many of us currently restricted to our homes or neighborhoods, now's the perfect time to become a backyard naturalist (<a href="https://therevelator.org/backyard-naturalist-birding/" target="_blank">as we wrote recently</a>). This magnificent book offers stories about the varied plants and wildlife that lives around us — even in the hearts of big cities — and ideas about how to make our urban ecosystems even wilder.</p>
2. The Not BAD Animals by Sophie Corrigan<p>An utterly delightful kids' book that tries (and succeeds) to soften the reputation of the critters "that make us squirm and wriggle in our seats," but which, beneath their sharp teeth and odd habits, fulfill important roles in the world. You'll never look at a spider or vulture the same way again.</p>
3 - 4. Becoming Wild and Beyond Words by Carl Safina<p>Two new books from the famed ecologist and bestselling author. The first, for adult audiences, examines "how animal cultures raise families, create beauty and achieve peace." The second, for younger readers, adapts one of Safina's earlier adult books and discusses the inner lives of wolves and dogs. Both are must-reads.</p>
5. Green Meat? Sustaining Eaters, Animals and the Planet edited by Ryan M. Katz-Rosene and Sarah J. Martin<p>This book tackles some tough questions about meat, examining issues related to production and consumption through a wide and varied set of lenses. Throughout, the book and its contributors invite readers to examine what they eat, where it comes from and how it's produced. You won't find easy answers inside, but it'll give you something to chew on.</p>
6 - 7. A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety by Sarah Jaquette Ray and Facing the Climate Emergency by Margaret Klein Salamon<p>"Climate grief" is both real and draining. These two complementary titles offer readers some great psychological tools necessary to keep going in these trying times — and beyond. <em>Field Guide</em> is aimed more at young adults ("the climate generation"), but both books provide key tips for turning your negative emotions into powerful action.</p>
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber and Elon Musk by James Wilt<p>Public transportation was already in crisis before the pandemic, thanks in no small part to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/26/koch-activists-phoenix-ban-light-rail" target="_blank">Koch brothers' assault on local transit systems</a>. Things could get even worse now, with ridership in trains and busses <a href="https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-public-transportation-subway-bus-ridership-9f039bd9-459b-45f9-954c-b26380a037dc.html" target="_blank">on the decline</a> while we maintain safe distance from each other, a trend that could undermine critical low-carbon transportation initiatives. This book, which addresses issues ranging from transit to electric cars to ridesharing, aims to provide a model for a greener future.</p>
9 - 10. How Birds Work and How Insects Work by Marianne Taylor<p>These two heavily illustrated science books provide great insight into both intriguing groups of species. Taken together or individually, they may offer hours of fun educational opportunities in this era of home-schooling.</p>
11. Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson<p>The pandemic reinforces the tragic reality that our systems are terribly broken. Many experts and activists feel that this crisis — which comes on top of the already existing climate and wildlife crises — also provides an opportunity for change. This book offers an ever-so-timely economic model, along with working examples, for a safer and more just future. (Expect several more books on similar topics in the months ahead.)</p>
12. Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park by Conor Knighton<p>We probably shouldn't personally be visiting <a href="https://therevelator.org/pandemic-parks/" target="_blank">national parks during the pandemic</a>, but here's the next best thing. This thoroughly delightful travelogue (from a <em>CBS Sunday Morning</em> correspondent) brings national parks to you and delivers a deeply personal and revelatory take on what makes America's natural spaces so important.</p>
13. The Human Planet: Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene by George Steinmetz and Andrew Revkin<p>Steinmetz is renowned for his aerial photography projects, which often capture the stark reality of climate change, agriculture and sea-level rise. Revkin is a prominent environmental journalist and educator. Together they've delivered a beautiful, haunting coffee-table book that provides a powerful portrait of the ways we're changing the planet.</p>
14. Sea Otters: A Survival Story by Isabelle Groc<p>Your required dose of cuteness combined with important conservation messages, all wrapped up in a fun and heavily illustrated book for teen readers. Dame Judy Dench provides the foreword, which may be the most unexpected fact in this whole column.</p>
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By John R. Platt
The New Year got off to a rocky start, with deadly fires throughout Australia and international political tensions rising to a frightening level.
The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success by Mark Jaccard<p>Ever feel paralyzed by the scope and threat of climate change? You're not alone, but this new book aims to turn that around and get people moving. Part of it discusses the best individual actions we can all take, while the rest focuses on identifying the most important societal and political actions to prioritize. Along the way the book busts some myths perpetuated by the climate-denier industry and even debunks a few misconceptions held by well-meaning environmentalists. Jaccard can be a bit <em>too</em> provocative at times, but he backs his conclusions up with the latest science and delivers a book worth reading and discussing — not to mention acting upon. (<em>Guide</em> is out in paperback this month, with a <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/citizens-guide-to-climate-success/49D99FBCBD6FCACD5F3D58A7ED80882D" target="_blank">free open-access PDF available in February</a>.)</p>
Climate Change From the Streets by Michael Méndez<p>Méndez argues that the climate crisis is also a crisis for public health, especially in lower-income communities of color, and that both problems can only be solved by addressing issues of environmental justice. His book, subtitled "How Conflict and Collaboration Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement," taps into Méndez's own research into California communities and grassroots activism to show how the problems that plague us can also bring us together — but only if we invite everyone to the table.</p>
Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work by Robert H. Frank<p>This broadly themed book addresses the complexities of our <em>social</em> environments — for example, how group behavior gives rise to bullying — but a lot of what it discusses applies to worldwide environmental issues, too. The result is a combination of psychology and economics that illustrates how the human "herd instinct" can be put to good use to solve the climate crisis and other problems.</p>
It’s Earth Day, Cookie Monster! by Mary Lindeen<p>Every day is Earth Day, just as every day is another opportunity to eat a cookie — or help teach kids to take care of the planet. This is the sixth book in the deliciously fun "Go Green with Sesame Street" series, which just goes to show you that "C is for Conservation."</p>
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther by Craig Pittman<p>Pittman has done more than probably any other newspaper journalist to document the twists and turns of efforts to conserve and protect the Florida panther — not to mention the failures we've had along the way. Now he revisits the history of these critically endangered big cats and the people who helped them in this remarkable work of longform reporting.</p>
And Here We Are: Stories From the Sixth Extinction by Bil Zelman<p>A stunningly beautiful photo book — shot like a moody black-and-white movie — showcasing endangered species and the fragile, human-influenced environments in which they precariously hang on. Biologist E.O. Wilson (<em>Half-Earth</em>) provides the foreword.</p>
The Nib: Animals<p>Here's something different: a thick, square-bound magazine from the folks behind <em>The Nib</em>, the web's best political cartooning site (which often covers environmental topics). This collection includes short stories, art and gags by more than three dozen writers and cartoonists, covering topics like extinction, wildlife trafficking, livestock and our relationships with our pets. The result is a heady mix of politics, journalism, philosophy and eye-opening humor.</p>
The Pollinator Victory Garden by Kim Eierman<p>Victory gardens helped feed communities and troops during the first and second world wars. This book aims to translate that success to a similar effort: establishing year-round pollinator-friendly gardens in our backyards to help boost populations of bees, birds, bats, butterflies and other species — and in the process help "win the war against pollinator decline." It's not just for backyards, though; Eierman also discusses lawn alternatives (get rid of that grass!) and how to apply the same ideas to other areas throughout our developed communities. The book includes a resource list to help readers apply its recommendations to the needs of plants and wildlife in various parts of the country.</p>
By Rob Moore
As the planet heated up to record-breaking levels, the seas continued to rise and wildfires, storms, floods or other manifestations of climate change made headlines every single day, the stream of climate change literature turned into a deluge.
Major Climate Reports<ul> <li><em></em><a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/" target="_blank"><em>Special Report on Climate Change and Land</em></a>, International Panel on Climate Change</li></ul><ul> <li><a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/" target="_blank"><em>Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate</em></a>, International Panel on Climate Change</li></ul><ul> <li><a href="https://ipbes.net/global-assessment-report-biodiversity-ecosystem-services" target="_blank"><em>Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services</em></a>, IPBES</li></ul><ul><li><a href="https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/27687/Arctic_Graphics.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank"><em>Global Linkages: a graphic look at the changing Arctic</em></a>, UN Environment Programme</li></ul><p>These reports detailed just how much the world has changed with 1 degree C of warming in the rearview mirror and how much more dire the situation could become. Widespread changes are already apparent on land, in the oceans, in the cryosphere (that's a fancy word for areas that are always cold), and for all life on Planet Earth. These reports are the most comprehensive view yet on the impacts we're already feeling, those that are unavoidable, and the ones we have to make sure we never realize.</p><p><strong>Takeaway: </strong>The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge just how big of a problem you're dealing with. And we've got big problems. On the plus side, we've got a good idea of what the big solutions are.</p>
Climate Fiction<ul> <li><a href="https://www.guernicamag.com/climate-fiction/" target="_blank"><em>Climate Fiction: A Special Issue</em></a>, Guernica Magazine, Amy Brady, Editor</li></ul><ul><li><a href="https://store.mcsweeneys.net/products/mcsweeney-s-issue-58-2040-ad-climate-fiction?taxon_id=1" target="_blank"><em>Issue 58: 2040 AD</em></a>, McSweeney's, Claire Boyle, Editor</li></ul><p>Climate fiction is the hot genre to be writing in these days! This year, both Guernica and McSweeney's elevated the profile of climate fiction with special editions. Addressing the multiple challenges of climate change isn't just a scientific or technical problem … it's also a cultural problem. That's why it's so encouraging that writers, artists and other creative-types are incorporating climate themes into their works, reaching broader and more diverse audiences and subtly helping bring about those cultural changes.</p><p><strong>Side-note: </strong>I had the distinct privilege of working with <a href="https://twitter.com/ingredient_x" target="_blank">Amy Brady</a> at Guernica on an event around <a href="https://www.guernicamag.com/four-storytellers-tackle-climate-change/" target="_blank">climate change and storytelling</a> this year, and was part of a <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/rob-moore/mcsweeneys-and-nrdcs-climate-collaboration" target="_blank">team of people at NRDC that worked with Claire Boyle at McSweeney's on Issue 58</a>. These were such amazing enjoyable projects to be a part of and many thanks to the amazing Elizabeth Corr for coordinating NRDC's involvement in both.</p><p><strong>Takeaway:</strong> Diving deep into climate science isn't for everybody, but everybody shares stories. The stories contained in these editions give all of us a new place that we can start the climate conversation from.</p><ul><li><em><a href="https://www.amitavghosh.com/" target="_blank">Gun Island</a></em>, Amitav Ghosh</li></ul><span></span><p>This book had garnered an enormous amount of attention since it's release and is making many of the "Best Books of 2019" lists. Deservedly so, because it's an arresting and beautifully crafted novel that draws upon Bengali folklore, linguistic history and a globe-spanning story that intersects multiple manifestations of our altered climate.</p><p><strong>Takeaway: </strong>"Amid the freak cyclones and oxygen-starved waters comes the story — or stories — of migration across the ages; tales of escapology, of deprivation and persecution, of impossible yearnings for a new world that bring us, inexorably, to the terrified refugees on the Mediterranean." — <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jun/05/gun-island-amitav-ghosh-review" target="_blank">The Guardian</a></p>
Climate Journalism<ul><li><a href="https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25112019/american-climate-shared-experience-disaster-essays-science-video-project" target="_blank"><em>American Climate: The Shared Experience of Disaster</em></a>, Inside Climate News</li></ul><em></em><p>Stories of people whose lives have been deeply affected by climate change aren't just the subject of fiction, they're an all too real part of the world we live in. Inside Climate News collected these first-hand accounts from survivors of the wildfires in Paradise, California; Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida; and from those affected by widespread flooding throughout the Midwest.</p><p><strong>Takeaway: </strong>These personal stories are a visceral reminder that the impacts of climate change aren't some theoretical possibility but are already a reality for many in the U.S.</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/the-other-kind-of-climate-denialism" target="_blank"><em>The Other Kind of Climate Denialism</em></a>, Rachel Reiderer, The New Yorker</li></ul><p>When faced with the enormity of the challenges of climate change, people can enter a form of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/climate-denial">climate denialism</a>. No, not denying that it's occurring or that humans are the cause; but denying that anything can be done about it. This essay examines David Wallace-Wells' book, <em>The Uninhabitable Earth</em>, and the work of many others, including NRDC's own <a href="https://twitter.com/MaryHeglar" target="_blank">Mary Heglar</a>, to examine how we overcome this social-psychological barrier to action.</p><p><span></span><strong>Takeaway:</strong> Hey, it's okay to be fearful, or feel overwhelmed, or be angry because those are the feelings that inspire us to act.</p><p><a href="http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/despairing-about-climate-crisis/" target="_blank"><em>Despairing About the Climate Crisis? Read This</em></a>, Earth Island Journal, Interview with Dr. Susi Moser by Laurie Mazur<br></p><p>Along the same lines, this interview with Dr. Susi Moser, "talks about communicating bad climate news, the benefits of 'functional denial,' the varied flavors of hope, and the better world we can build in the wreckage of life as we know it." Dr. Moser has been working on climate change issues for a long time from multiple angles. She's seen her share of failures, or at least things that have not come fully to fruition. Still, she remains hopeful because there are so many things we can do, but just haven't yet.</p><p><span></span><strong>Takeaway: </strong>It's not whether you fall down or fail. It's whether you pick yourself up and keep trying.</p>
NRDC Flood Reports<ul><li><em></em><a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anna-weber/going-under-post-flood-buyouts-take-years-complete" target="_blank"><em>Going Under: Long Wait Times for Post-Flood Buyouts Leave Homeowners Underwater</em></a>, Anna Weber and Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council</li></ul><span></span><p>As sea levels rise, flooding becomes more prevalent and other types of hazards lead people to the conclusion that it's time to relocate, what assistance is available to help make that happen? This report examined more than 30 years of FEMA data on that agency's efforts to finance buyouts of flood prone homes. The typical project takes more than five years to complete after a flood happens. That's not gonna cut it — and the current paradigm for doing buyouts definitely can't scale up to meet the future demand driven by climate change. Inside this report you'll find several recommendations for how buyouts could become more equitable, more efficient and more widely available.</p><p><strong>Takeaway: </strong>As the old saying goes, "Build it and they will come." With buyouts the corollary is, "If people want to leave, we should unbuild it." Okay, that's not too snappy a phrase, but we'll keep working on it. Meanwhile, you can hear about the buyout experience directly from Kentucky resident <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-long-does-it-take-get-fema-buyout-flooded-home" target="_blank">Olga McKissic</a>, who pursued a buyout for years before her repeatedly flooded home was finally demolished this summer.</p><ul><li><em><a href="https://www.eli.org/vibrant-environment-blog/changing-flood-insurance-changing-climate" target="_blank">Changing the National Flood Insurance Program for a Changing Climate</a>, </em>Environmental Law Reporter, Michael Burger and Dena Adler, Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Joel Scata and Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council</li></ul><span></span><p>This paper lays out ways to fix a program that we should already be relying upon to adapt to the growing number of floods that come with climate change. Some of the fixes? Give people accurate information about flood risks and past damages to their home or a home they're buying. Improve community compliance with minimum standards and codes. And if people want to move to higher ground (and doing so would actually save the flood insurance program some dough) then why aren't we doing that?! </p><p><strong>Takeaway:</strong> The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. And, currently, that's what the flood insurance program is all about: flood, rebuild, repeat. But it doesn't have to be that way. Congress just keeps it that way.</p>
Climate Non-Fiction<p><em><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/building-a-resilient-tomorrow-9780190909345?cc=us&lang=en&" target="_blank">Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption</a></em>, Alice Hill & Leonardo Martinez-Diaz</p><p>With the world already having warmed by 1 degree C, the impacts of climate change are being felt in the U.S. This insightful book offers up some real solutions for how communities can cope with the vulnerabilities that have already been exposed and those that will be in the future.</p><p><strong>Takeaway</strong><strong>:</strong> If you were to boil this down to two sentences: First, don't make your problems worse by making bad decisions that you'll regret in the future. Second, start figuring out how to address the vulnerabilities you know you have, then the ones that are foreseeable.</p><p><em><a href="http://michaelklare.com/" target="_blank">All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change</a></em>, Michael Klare</p><p>As the Trump administration has dismantled our nation's response to climate change, the Pentagon has been remarkably successful at continuing to address the issue in its own way. This fascinating book looks at why the Pentagon views climate change as a huge national security risk. Climate change threatens its bases, climate change puts additional operational pressure on the military, and climate change may hasten the destabilization of governments, exacerbating regional tensions.</p><p><strong>Takeaway:</strong> Keep this close by for the climate throwdown with your conservative national security conscious family members. It may just bring them around.</p>
What I Should Have Read, Am Still Going to Read, and You Should Read Too!<ul> <li><em><a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374160807" target="_blank">The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts</a></em>, Gil Gaul</li></ul><ul> <li><em><a href="https://islandpress.org/books/new-coast" target="_blank">A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas</a></em>, Jeffrey Peterson</li></ul><ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/sea-level-rise" target="_blank">Sea Level Rise: A Slow Tsunami on America's Shores</a></em>, Orrin Pilkey and Keith Pilkey</li></ul><ul><li><em><a href="https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/an-ecotopian-lexicon" target="_blank">An Ecotopian Lexicon</a></em>, Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Ryan Bellamy, Editors</li></ul>
By Jennifer Weeks
From climate change to omnipresent plastic waste, 2019 delivered a lot of discouraging environmental news. Several special reports this year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documented how global warming is altering the planet's lands, forests, oceans and frozen regions.
1. Cooling the Planet and Saving Species<p>Climate change and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/biodiversity">biodiversity loss</a> are interconnected problems that together can seem overwhelming. But in a study published in April, 18 scientists proposed a "<a href="https://theconversation.com/to-solve-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss-we-need-a-global-deal-for-nature-115557" target="_blank">Global Deal for Nature</a>" that can help avert both catastrophic climate change and mass extinction.</p><p>The plan identifies about a thousand "ecoregions" on land and sea that each contain unique ensembles of species and ecosystems, and also help curb climate change by storing carbon.</p><p>"Our plan would require a budget of some US$100 billion per year. This may sound like a lot, but for comparison, Silicon Valley companies earned nearly $60 billion in 2017 just from selling apps," Arizona State University conservation scientist <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=sPyLa9oAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Greg Asner</a>, a co-author of the report, wrote for The Conversation. "Today, however, our global society is spending less than a tenth of that amount to save Earth's biodiversity."</p><p><span></span>"Forests, grasslands, peatlands, mangroves and a few other types of ecosystems pull the most carbon from the air per acre of land," Asner noted. "Protecting and expanding their range is far more scalable and far less expensive than engineering the climate to slow the pace of warming. And there is no time to lose."</p>
2. Stemming the Tide of Plastic Trash<p>Global markets for scrap material, including recyclables, have been in turmoil since early 2018, when China — which was importing a large share of the world's scrap — shut that window almost completely. This year other Asian countries followed suit, saying they would no longer accept materials they were ill-equipped to handle.</p><p>These shocks have left U.S. scrap dealers searching for markets. Many are sending plastics – the hardest materials to recycle — to landfills.</p><p>Alarmed by these developments and the growing scale of plastic waste, many communities and businesses are intensifying the <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-more-developing-countries-reject-plastic-waste-exports-wealthy-nations-seek-solutions-at-home-117163" target="_blank">search for new solutions</a>.</p>
3. A New New Deal for U.S. Farmers<p>Severe weather, corporate consolidation in agriculture and a trade war with China put heavy pressure on U.S. farmers in 2019. Farm bankruptcies are at <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/11/10/778097948/farm-bankruptcies-surge" target="_blank">historic highs</a>, and many experts wonder where the next generation of farmers will come from.</p>
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.
1. Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson, illustrated by Mary Azarian<p>Adopted by the USDA's Agriculture in the Classroom program, <em>Before We Eat</em> shows that before food gets to the table, many people work hard to make our plates full. The book reminds readers that nourishing one person involves a team of fishers, farmers, ranchers and farm workers to enrich our food system. The expanded edition includes features about school gardens and the farm-to-school movement for budding activists and community leaders ready to make a change.</p>
2. Can You Eat? by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman<p>Food critic Joshua David Stein rhymes through familiar foods and other goofy, common items for a simple and fun exploration of what can — and cannot — be eaten. Through laughter and smiles, children will see how fun it is to have variety in their diet and explore the abundance of biodiversity in the edible world.</p>
3. Everyone Eats! by Julia Kuo<p><em>Everyone Eats</em> explores a diversity of eaters: the cute animals and critters that make up our ecosystem. Kuo features each animal and the foods they eat that are familiar, edible and even nutritious to readers. Each page will show toddlers how to be fearless in eating these healthy snacks and also that humans and animals are more alike than they thought — therefore, it is important to protect their habitats.</p>
4. Farm Anatomy, Nature Anatomy, and Food Anatomy by Julia Rothman<p>This collection of books from Julia Rothman joins intricate illustrations with entertaining facts and guides about the food world. Covering topics from life on a farm and the natural world to global kitchens and cuisines, Rothman shows how food, farms and nature intersect to create a delicate — but exciting — system. Readers of all ages will be able to add to their knowledge of history, practical skills, and understanding of the food system and ecosystem.</p>
5. Farming by Gail Gibbons<p>Gibbons' introduction to farming shows that farming is a busy practice throughout the year. Not only are animals born, fields tended, and crops harvested, but farmers are also incorporating new technologies and adapting to the forces of nature. The newest edition of <em>Farming</em> uses the same bright colors and simple illustrations, with added expertise on agricultural science and updated farming procedures.</p>
6. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal<p><em>Fry Bread</em> tells the story of a modern Native American family through the role fry bread plays in their family and community. The powerful poetry shows that even a staple food can say so much about family, history, memory and community. In the end, Maillard shows how the bread serves as a tool to promote connectivity between communities and among nations.</p>
7. Just Ask! By Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López<p>Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor joins with López on a book that celebrates not only diversity in a garden, but also diversity in mankind. In <em>Just Ask</em>, children can celebrate the different abilities that kids have by reading about children starting a community garden. In building the garden, the kids ask each other often-ignored questions to encourage readers to do the same: This book shows children that when encountering someone different than them, it is best to just ask and celebrate everyone's unique abilities. In the end, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor hopes children realize that, just like in a garden, diversity makes the world more vibrant and wonderful.</p>
8. My Food, Your Food by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Christine M. Schneider<p>In <em>My Food, Your Food</em>, leading character Manuel enjoys food week in class. As each child reminisces about a special meal their family cooks and eats — and special ways they eat them — Manuel realizes that food across cultures is incredibly different. But by enjoying the diverse food traditions, eating with chopsticks, forks and hands, Manuel realizes that eaters across cultures are actually surprisingly alike.</p>
9. Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfasts Around the World by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Tomoko Suzuki<p><em>Pancakes to Parathas</em> explores unique breakfasts from country to country. Although the breakfasts differ across the twelve countries, like Australia, India, Japan, and Brazil, readers will find that the meal joins eaters at dawn to get their day started. The bold illustrations help children imagine breakfasts like soured soybeans and coffee — with lots of milk — as they explore what children around the world feast on in the morning.</p>
10. Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by Renee Kurilla<p>Detlefsen offers children a look at where food comes from before they see it in stores and restaurants. Whenever a child says they're hungry right this very minute, this book will remind them of food's incredible journey, from farmer to plate. Showing the variety of farmers involved in making different meals — including orchardists, beekeepers, and livestock, grain, and vegetable farmers — the book reminds children that the supply chain connects them to farmers all around the world.</p>
11. See What We Eat!: A First Book of Healthy Eating by Scot Ritchie<p>In <em>See What We Eat</em>, character Yulee and her four friends take a tour of her aunt's farm, pick apples and make apple crisp for a potluck dinner. Each stop on the tour helps the children understand more about an important component of a balanced meal: fields of grain, gardens of vegetables, hen houses and the barn for dairy and protein, and an orchard of fruit. Finally, the characters come together with a multicultural group of neighbors for a big potluck meal.</p>
12. The Good Egg by Jory John and Pete Oswald<p>In <em>The Good Egg</em>, an extremely good egg finds it hard to keep being good when the other eggs are being rotten. In his dozen, the other 11 eggs behave badly, so the good egg attempts to take charge to perfect the bunch. However, the pressure starts to wear its shell; the good egg self-reflects and eventually realizes that not everyone can be perfect and it is important to be good to others — no matter if they have brief moments of rottenness.</p>
13. The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola<p>Twins Tony and Tiny in <em>The Popcorn Book</em> love popcorn — but don't know how or where it is made. The twins join together to cook and learn about their favorite snack, exploring what exactly it is, how it is stored and its cultural significance in legends and stories from North America and Europe. In this 40th anniversary edition, however, dePaola joins with experts to present expanded historical facts, highlighting the role popcorn historically played in Native American communities and how they prepared the snack.</p>
14. We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines<p>In <em>We Are the Gardeners</em>, Gaines and her children describe their experience starting their family garden, from challenges and hurdles to new wisdom they hope to share. The family details their experience starting with a single fern plant, joining together to protect pollinators and soil dwellers, and standing up to the face of adversity: the faces of pesky rabbits who gnaw at their vegetables. Throughout the book, readers can learn how challenging — yet rewarding — starting a garden can be.</p>
15. What’s On Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Christiane Engel<p>Stewart takes readers on a tour through the food traditions of 14 countries, highlighting that plates around the world are incredibly diverse. Exploring Brazil, Spain, Morocco, India, China and more, Stewart explores the people, cooking practices, food, and ways of thinking that make each place unique. And with easy recipes, readers will be able to try the meals that are connecting them to families around the globe.</p><a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=This+holiday+season%2C+give+the+children+in+your+life+the+gift+of+knowledge+about+the+food+system%21+%23FoodTank+is+highlighting+15+books+that+help+young+people+learn+about+agriculture+and+food+traditions.&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffoodtank.com%2Fnews%2F2019%2F12%2F15-childrens-books-celebrating-food%2F&via=foodtank"><span></span></a>
By Tara Lohan
Three years into the Trump administration, its anti-climate and anti-science agenda is well established. Despite dire warnings from the world's leading scientists about the threats from rising greenhouse gas emissions, the administration has stubbornly continued to deny climate change, obstructed and undermined efforts to curb it, and moved again and again to roll back existing regulations that help reduce emissions.
By Alex Robinson
Youngstown, Ohio probably doesn't strike most people as a destination for foodies. But Mark Winne begs to differ.
By Lindsay Campbell
From pastries to plant-based—we've got you covered.
By John R. Platt
Things are heating up — and not just because it's August. This past June was the hottest June on record, and as of this writing July was shaping up to follow. That makes this month's new books about climate change essential reading, along with other important new titles on pollution, wildlife, oceans and Indigenous peoples.
Climate Change:<p><a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Kochland/Christopher-Leonard/9781476775388" target="_blank"><em>Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America</em></a> by Christopher Leonard — The scary true story of how one private company stalled action on climate change, bought influence in the government, widened the gap between rich and poor, killed unions and so much more.</p><p><a href="https://www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=A4825C" target="_blank"><em>Leave It in the Ground: The Politics of Coal and Climate</em></a> by John C. Berg — Want to know why we need to get rid of coal — and how we do it? This book lays out the science in clear, understandable language and reveals the truth about the politics and economics of the coal industry. Berg then provides a roadmap for how activists and governments can dismantle it.</p><p><a href="https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/bryan-walsh/end-times/9780316449618/" target="_blank"><em>End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World</em></a> by Bryan Walsh — This isn't strictly a climate-change book — it also covers apocalyptic volcanos, nuclear war, disease outbreaks and other terrifying scenarios — but it does showcase the people working to understand how the world could end and what they're doing to prevent it. Which, you know, is kind of an important job.</p><p><a href="https://www.grandcentralpublishing.com/titles/tatiana-schlossberg/inconspicuous-consumption/9781538747094/" target="_blank"><em>Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have</em></a> by Tatiana Schlossberg — How do your fashion sense, your lunch and your taste in Netflix movies contribute to climate change? A former <em>New York Times</em> science writer lays out the hidden effects of our daily lives and shows how informed and empowered consumers can make a difference.</p>
Wildlife & Conservation:<p><a href="https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/future-bluefin-tunas" target="_blank"><em>The Future of Bluefin Tunas</em></a> edited by Barbara A. Block — Dozens of experts from 15 countries contribute to this exhaustive examination of the threats facing all three species of bluefin tuna and what's being done to save them.</p><p><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/extinction-a-very-short-introduction-9780198807285?cc=us&lang=en&" target="_blank"><em>Extinction: A Very Short Introduction</em></a>by Paul B. Wignall — A slim book about a big topic: Why do species die out? Covering historic mass extinctions and the current biodiversity crisis, this book offers what you need to know about what we're losing.</p><p><em><a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250143129" target="_blank">Science Comics: Cats</a> </em>by Andy Hirsch — A fun focus on our feline friends, looking at the science of everything from tigers to housecats. As with the rest of the "Science Comics" series, this is perfect for young readers or graphic-novel fans of all ages.</p><p><a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/tracking-the-highland-tiger-9781472900920/" target="_blank"><em>Tracking the Highland Tiger: In Search of Scottish Wildcats</em></a> by Marianne Taylor — Persecution by farmers and hybridization with housecats have made the Scottish wildcat one of the <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/scottish-wildcat-kittens/" target="_blank">rarest and most threatened felines on the planet</a>. This book comes out at a time when conservation efforts to save the species are starting to pay off. Will they be in time?</p><p><a href="https://garethstevens.com/series/Life-Without-Animals" target="_blank"><em>Life Without Animals</em></a> by Theresa Emminizer — This six-book series for young readers (available individually or as a set) asks what would happen if species such as elephants, sea otters, prairie dogs and tigers disappeared and examines the ecological effects of their extinctions.</p>
Pollution:<p><a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520305281/wilted" target="_blank"><em>Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry</em></a> by Julie Guthman — A truly eye-opening book about the often exploitative industry that produces one of the world's most mouth-watering fruits.</p><p><a href="https://www.capstonepub.com/library/products/you-are-eating-plastic-every-day-1/" target="_blank"><em>You Are Eating Plastic Every Day: What's in Our Food?</em></a> by Danielle Smith-Llera — Middle-school students may never eat at the school cafeteria again after reading this book.</p>
Oceans:<p><a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538736/the-outlaw-ocean-by-ian-urbina/9780451492944/" target="_blank"><em>The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier</em></a> by Ian Urbina — The high seas exist outside of international law, which means they can also be quite lawless. The author spent five years reporting around the world to expose the crime and exploitation that run rampant through the fishing, oil and shipping industries.</p><p><span></span><em><a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062691545/into-the-planet/" target="_blank">I</a></em><a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062691545/into-the-planet/" target="_blank"><em>nto the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver</em></a> by Jill Heinerth — Science and adventure far beneath the sea. This must-read memoir looks back at an amazing career and provides insight into parts of the world that few of us will ever see in person.</p><p><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/ocean-recovery-9780198839767?q=ocean%20recovery&lang=en&cc=us" target="_blank"><em>Ocean Recovery</em></a> by Ray Hilborn and Ulrike Hilborn — Which of the world's fisheries are sustainable, and why? This book offers the scientific context for what we know about the status and ecological impact of global fishing operations.</p><p><a href="https://www.wwnorton.com/books/9780393635164" target="_blank"><em>Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait</em></a> by Bathsheba Demuth — The Bering Straits are known for their Arctic waters, amazing wildlife and Indigenous peoples, but they're also the site of a clash between capitalism and communism for control of the natural world's finite resources.</p>
Indigenous Peoples:<p><a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank"><em>Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States</em></a> edited by Devon A. Mihesuah and Elizabeth Hoover — The subtitle of this book is "Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health," which pretty much says it all. Noted activist Winona LaDuke provides the foreword.</p><p><a href="https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/standing-with-standing-rock" target="_blank"><em>Standing With Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement</em></a> edited by Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon — An essential volume to understand the history and significance of the famous resistance action, combining everything from essays and interviews to poems and photography.</p><p>That's our list for this month, but check out dozens of other recent eco-books in the <a href="https://therevelator.org/tag/revelator-reads/" target="_blank">"Revelator Reads" archive</a>.</p><p> <em>Reposted with permission from our media associate <a href="https://therevelator.org/environmental-books-august-2019/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Revelator</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Michael Svoboda
August is prime time for escape reading. But that designation need not be limited to fiction; books written for the general reader on topics outside one's area of expertise can also provide passage to exciting new places.
This month's bookshelf includes nine non-fiction titles, two novels and one collection of short stories. Three of the non-fiction books re-examine NASA's space program, and its cultural legacy, in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20.