books

John Muir, full-length portrait, facing right, seated on rock with lake and trees in background, circa 1902. Photo: unknbown via Library of Congress (Public Domain).

Divine ecstasy of Nature: Selected Writings by John Muir

Terry Tempest Williams
| 17th May 2017
May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved.

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Footbridge over the Coapa River in Chiapas, Mexico, which supports local silvopasture (forestry and livestock grazing). Photo: Lameirasb via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

To conserve tropical forests and wildlife, protect the rights of people who rely on them

Prakash Kashwan
University of Connecticut
| 26th April 2017
Who are the best guardians of forests and other wild places? Governments? Conservation NGOs? Corporations? No, writes Prakash Kashwan, it's the indigenous peoples who have lived in harmony with their environment for millennia. But to be able do so, they must first be accorded rights to their historic lands and resources, both in law and in practice. Among the countries leading the way, Mexico. Among the laggards, Kenya and India.

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Badgered to death? Photo: Andrew Gray via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Badgered to Death? Now MPs have no excuse for ignorance

Dominic Dyer
| 20th March 2017
The badger cull is a clear failure on scientific, cost and humanity grounds, writes Dominic Dyer. Yet the government is planning a major extension of the cull in 2017. That's why he has just sent a copy of his acclaimed book to every British MP, before they debate the issue next week. Write to yours now demanding an end to the slaughter!

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From front cover of 'Slugs and Snails by Robert Cameron, published by Harper Collins.

Slugs and snails

Martin Spray
| 7th March 2017
In this long-anticipated volume, Robert Cameron introduces us to the natural history of slugs and snails of the British Isles, writes Martin Spray, also venturing across the world to explore the wide range of structures and ways of life of slugs and snails, particularly their sometimes bizarre mating habits, which in turn help to illuminate the ways in which evolution has shaped the living world.

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Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat. Image - from website: bobbythebrownlong-earedbat.co.uk.

Twinkle, twinkle ... Bobby the Brown Long-Eared Bat

Lesley Docksey
| 17th January 2017
This charming and beautifully illustrated story book will give pleasure to children everywhere, writes Lesley Docksey. It will also open their eyes (and with luck, those of parents and siblings) to the wonderful world of bats, and what we can do to look after them.

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From front cover of 'The man who ate the zoo' by Richard Girling, published by Chatto & Windus.

Frank Buckland: 'the man who ate the zoo'

Martin Spray
| 8th November 2016
As Victorian eccentrics go, Frank Buckland was a prime specimen, writes Martin Spray. But this new book about his rich and remarkable life is much more than a collection of anecdotes about his extraordinary doings, his inordinate curiosity about the natural world, and the animals he kept - and ate: a stimulating companion for wet days, cold evenings and wakeful nights.

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Cover shot of trapped badger used for the new edition of 'The Fate of the Badger' by Richard Meyer, published by Fire-raven Writing.

'The Fate of the Badger': the great badger scapegoating conspiracy

Lesley Docksey
| 11th October 2016
Thirty years ago, there was no evidence that badgers spread bovine TB among cattle, writes Lesley Docksey. Nor is there now. Yet badgers are still being slaughtered in a futile attempt to control the disease. This timely republication of Richard Meyer's 1986 book reveals the belligerent ignorance of the officials, politicians and farmers driving the failed policy.

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How the US saw the Japanese people in 1942. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Japan? The racism of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Linda Pentz Gunter
| 17th August 2016
As we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month 71 years ago, we have largely forgotten the racist propaganda that made it possible, writes LINDA PENZ GUNTER. We have likewise sanitised history to exclude the voices of African Americans who loudly protested the use of nuclear weapons, connecting them to American colonialism abroad and racism at home.

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The Greenpeace ship James Bay was widely used in Greenpeace's iconic 'Save the Whale' campaign of the mid-1970s to obstruct the activities of killer boats intent on taking the last great whales. Photo: still from 'How to Change the World' (film by Greenpe

Changing the world with creative non-violence

Rex Weyler
| 12th August 2016
The Green movement is above all about leading social change, writes Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler. While facts and arguments are important, the main task is to replace mainstream justifications of the status quo with new, compelling narratives of a higher moral order. And the most powerful means of achieving this is by symbolic, non-violent direct action.

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From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen
| 27th April 2016
We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end.

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Yanomami girl. Photo: Sam valadi via Flickr (CC BY).

The myth of the 'brutal savage' and the mindset of conquest

Stephen Corry
| 21st April 2016
The 'brutal savage' meme has enjoyed a resurgence in popular culture and establishment narratives, writes Stephen Corry, despite abundant evidence that it's fundamentally wrong. But it suits today's dominant mindset of conquest, conflict and colonialism all too well, and serves to justify the ongoing genocide and expropriation of surviving Indigenous Peoples today.

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Contemporary illustration of Alexander von Humboldt - used in the cover of 'The Invention of Nature'.

The Invention of Nature: adventures of Alexander Humboldt, lost hero of science

Matt Mellen
| 3rd March 2016
Andrea Wulf's book about the remarkable 19th century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt is welcome, opportune and a pleasure to read, writes Matt Mellen, packed as it is with high adventure and amazing discoveries. We have much to learn from him today in tackling the world's environmental crises; reading this book is an excellent - and enjoyable - way to begin.

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From front cover of 'Killing the Host' by Michael Hudson.

'Killing the Host': the financial system is destroying the global economy

Paul Craig Roberts
| 12th February 2016
The main engine of economic exploitation is the financial system's ever increasing extraction of value through interest payments, according to economist Michael Hudson. Paul Craig Roberts finds his analysis all too accurate, as the over-financialized economies of western countries head down a spiral of poverty, decline, injustice and despair.

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From front cover of HUMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

HUMAN. A portrait of our world

Martin Spray
| 15th December 2015
Yann Arthus-Bertrand's latest book, 'Human', revisits the territory of 'Earth from Above', but with a harder edge, writes Martin Spray. Yes, the photographs are lovely, even inspirational, but often mix uneasily with the testimonies of suffering and desperate demands for change they illustrate.

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The real trick is happening where you're not looking. 'The conjurer' by Hieronymus Bosch, painted between 1496 and 1520, is now at the Musée Municipal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia.

'Credo': economics is a belief system - and we are ruled by fundamentalists

Paul Mobbs
| 6th November 2015
Economics is much more than the study of money, writes Paul Mobbs. It is a belief system, and in its 'mainstream' incarnation, one that serves a very useful purpose - for those that reap the benefits. But as Brian Davey shows in his insightful new book, it's letting the rest of us down: failing to deliver human wellbeing, while driving ecological calamity.

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PostCapitalism by Paul Mason, published by Penguin / Allen Lane.

PostCapitalism: is it what we Greens have always wanted?

Caroline Lucas
| 2nd October 2015
Will we ever be able to say goodbye to capitalism? In his new book Paul Mason argues that its demise is inevitable, writes Caroline Lucas: neoliberalism contains the seeds of its own destruction, and it's up to ordinary people to replace it with a green, sustainable and cooperative society. So let's do it!

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Aiko Ikemoto on 6th October 1945, as an outpatient at Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. Shielded from the blast by brick walls, she survived the explosion a few miles from its epicentre, but died of cancer on 21st January 1965 at the age of 29 shortly after g

Hiroshima: the 'blinding flash' that changed the world forever

Daniel Cordle
| 6th August 2015
This day in 1945, the explosion of a nuclear bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, changed the world forever, writes Daniel Cordle. A remarkable article in the New Yorker by John Hersey has shaped the way the world perceives the event, and nuclear weapons generally, by illuminating the humanity of its victims in clear, simple prose.

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'Landmarks' by Robert MacFarlane from cover (cut).

Words of wonder: openings to the natural world

Caspar Henderson
| 28th July 2015
All too often language is used to objectify nature, writes Caspar Henderson. But there's another, older vocabulary - introduced in this 'counter-desecration phrasebook' - that achieves the reverse: connecting us with the wonders of life and arousing delight in the natural world.

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From the front cover of 'The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy' by Michael McCarthy.

The Moth Snowstorm: nature, joy, and the great thinning

Chris Rose
| 30th June 2015
In his new book environmental journalist Michael McCarthy bears witness to the astonishing decline in the once common wildlife of our countryside of the last few decades. But as Chris Rose writes, he does far more than bemoan the losses as he shares with us the joy that he still discovers in nature.

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From the front cover of 'Adventures in the Anthropocene' by Gaia Vince, published by Random House.

Adventures in the Anthropocene - a journey to the heart of the planet

Robert Hunziker
| 2nd June 2015
Gaia Vince's remarkable book is far more than a litany of the problems of global warming and mass extinction, writes Robert Hunziker. It's also an inspiring account of how people can respond to such crises in wonderful, imaginative, creative ways, achieving seemingly impossible tasks from seeding glaciers in the Himalayas, to holding back the desert with dew.

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