Grassroots Rising by Ronnie Cummins, founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association, will be available January 28. This is one of the most important books Chelsea Green has published, and we are offering activists and organizations the special discounts listed below.
$17.95 paperback – 208 pages – ISBN 9781603589758 – Available January 28, 2020
“This is a book that should be in the hands of every activist working on food and farming, climate change, and the Green New Deal.” —Vandana Shiva, scientist, environmentalist, social activist; author of Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil, and Stolen Harvest
“Burning Worlds” is a new monthly column dedicated to examining important trends in climate change fiction, or “cli-fi.”
It astonishes to think just how long humans have known that the Earth is getting warmer. The term “global warming” didn’t enter public consciousness until the 1970s, but scientists have studied our planet’s natural greenhouse effect since at least the 1820s. In 1896, a Swedish chemist named Svante Arrheniussome concluded that human activity (like coal burning) contributed to the effect, warming the planet further.
And yet, here we find ourselves in 2017, still wrestling with man-made climate change like it’s a new phenomenon. Why have we not acted sooner? The answer may lie in what Indian author Amitav Ghosh calls humanity’s “great derangement”: our inability to perceive the enormity of the catastrophe that awaits us.
That’s where fiction writers come in.*
For years, authors have been writing climate change fiction, or “cli-fi,” a genre of literature that imagines the past, present, and future effects of climate change. Their work crosses literary boundaries in terms of style and content, landing on shelves marked “sci-fi” and “literary fiction.” Perhaps you’ve read one of the classics: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain. Then there’s Ian McEwan’s Solar and J. G. Ballard’s 1965 novel The Burning World, from which this column derives its name. Each of these novels—like others in the genre—help us to “see” possible futures lived out on a burning, drowning, or dying planet.
Here at the Chicago Review of Books, we feel it’s time to give cli-fi more attention. To that end, we bring you “Burning Worlds,” a new monthly column dedicated to examining what’s hot (sorry) in cli-fi. It’ll feature interviews, reviews, and analyses of the genre with the hope of generating a larger conversation about climate change and why imagined depictions of the phenomenon are vital to the literary community—and beyond.
Kicking us off is an interview with journalist and former teacher Dan Bloom, the man who coined the term “cli-fi” (read more about Bloom in his interview with Literary Hub). Bloom founded and maintains The Cli-Fi Report, the web’s most comprehensive site dedicated to cli-fi. He is a tireless crusader for the genre, a self-proclaimed “cli-fi missionary.” In this interview, we discuss what inspired his passion for climate change fiction, why he thinks the term “cli-fi” caught on, and what he recommends we all read next.
Summoning a chorus of over 125 diverse poetic voices—including Mary Oliver, Robert Hass, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Ross Gay, W.S. Merwin, Natalie Diaz, Kimiko Hahn, and others—this anthology approaches the impending environmental crisis with a sense of urgency and hopefulness.
Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out.
Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature — issued
in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic — was the first
book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that:
even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can
exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics
threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.
the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that
keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on
McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global
citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways
out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history — and we’ll
either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears
built slip away.
Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.
The Compassion Campaign of Clallam County is co-sponsoring this 2019 Compassion Winter Read
As a scholar of world religions, Armstrong extends an invitation to explore the particular place of compassion in religious and ethical teachings. She specifically focuses on the Golden Rule as expressed in each one, which served as common ground for the Charter of Compassion. As she acquaints the reader with various perspectives, she also describes compassion as “Love in Action.”
Invite people from work, organizations, neighbors, friends and family!
SIGN UP NOW: To facilitate or join a group at CompassionCampaignCC@gmail.com or call Marilyn at 360-477-0681
You will receive specific info for that group when you sign up.
More groups are forming. Maybe start an online ZOOM group (We can help with that!)
Groups begin the week of January 6th and run twelve (12) weeks.
SEQUIM Sundays, 2-3:30pm, OUUF, 1033 N. Barr Rd. Mondays, 10am-Noon (1st meeting only) 2-4pm all other weeks, Sequim Library Wednesdays, 10am-Noon, Trinity United Methodist Church
AGNEW Wednesdays, 10-11:30am, Monterra in Agnew
PORT ANGELES Sundays, 11am-Noon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Wednesdays, 10-11:30pm, Eash Home Wednesdays, 1-2:30pm, CSLPA, 254 N. Bagley Creek Rd. Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Street Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm, CSLPA, 254 N. Bagley Creek Rd. Thursdays, 10:30am-Noon, Port Angeles Library, 2210 W. Peabody St.
“Celebration of the Journey”, April 6, 2019, 1-3pm at the Shipley Center in Sequim, where all groups can share what we’ve learned and “what’s next.”
The award winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer
Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have fought at the
frontlines of climate denialism for most of their careers. They have
witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political
interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that
affect the well-being of millions. The lessons they have learned have
been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from
the madhouse of the climate wars.
Through satire, “The Madhouse Effect” portrays the intellectual
pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the
clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles’s
cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased
components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies.
Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a
debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific
consensus. The synergy of these two commonsense crusaders enlivens the
gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books–and may even convert a
few of the faithful to the right side of science.
If you or someone you know is the kind of person who calls winter “reading season,” this list is for you.
If you or someone you know is the kind of person who handles a
wrapped gift and bursts with excitement when it becomes evident that, “Ooh! It’sa book!” this
is the kind of article you should casually leave open on your screen as
an–ah-hem!–hint to your family members in case they happen to be
hunting for gift ideas.
At Sightline, we’re readers. Books are our friends. And without
further ado, these are some of our favorite reads this year, from
novels, sci-fi, nonfiction, poetry, and more. If you have a book you
loved best this year, leave the title and author in the comments section
Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke Image by Penguin Books Publishing
The best book I read this year was an old one: Rilke’s book,
based on a correspondence he carried out between 1902 and 1908. The
letters work as meditations on many subjects: the life of the mind,
professional struggle, loneliness, and learning how to swim against the
current of conventional wisdom. It’s good fare for the Northwest’s long
Alan Durning, Executive Director
This year, when liberal democracy is
under siege near and far, I have been reading about totalitarianism of
both the left and the right. I recommend two books by the same author,
historian Adam Hochschild.
This first book details the epochal
left-right showdown on the Iberian peninsula in the years leading up to
World War II. It was a dress rehearsal for that great war: Adolf Hitler
and Benito Mussolini armed and sent troops to the Spanish generals,
ultimately led by General Francisco Franco, who sought to overthrow the
elected government. The West dithered endlessly, and only the Soviet
Union helped the Spanish government. Hochschild casts light on the
massive, organized brutality that marked the birth of the Franco
dictatorship, but he also illuminates the purges that decimated the
Spanish Left during the civil war—murders and disappearances ordered not
only by the Right but by Communists who took directions from Moscow. In
this conflict, American (and Canadian) combatants were idealistic,
zealous, and sometimes credulous volunteers. To their credit, they went
to fight the fascists when Western governments refused to do so. Had
France, the United Kingdom, and the United States supported the
government and its troops—or even just cut off oil shipments to Franco
from the United States—Franco might never have risen to power. Indeed,
Spain might have fought with the Allies in World War II. To the
volunteers’ discredit, too many turned a blind eye to the cancerous
barbarism that Soviet Communism had already become.
The second book documents the purges that
killed perhaps 20 million people in the first few decades of the Soviet
Union. Two things linger with me from this sobering book: the scale of
the genocide (exceeding even the Nazi Holocaust in its macabre toll) and
the way that psychopathy came dressed in the political ideology of
equality and liberation. The pervasiveness of denunciations, purity
testing, and thought policing made Joseph Stalin’s death camps an
especially potent reminder that tolerance for dissent, whether from the
cant of the Left or the Right, is among the indispensable virtues of any
civilization. A good reminder in a time of deep divisions in the United
OK, that’s kind of a downer. So here’s a bonus book: something more uplifting. Hochschild also wrote my favorite history ever. Bury The Chains chronicles
the implausible victory of the British anti-slavery movement. It’s a
profile of dissenters who changed the world. Inspiring and a happy
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, by Adam Hochschild Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin, by Adam Hochschild Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers
Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Kristin Eberhard, Senior researcher
The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. Image by Orbit Publishing
The Broken Earth Trilogy
I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy:The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky.
All three books won the prestigious science-fiction Hugo Award, as they
should have. This is an epic story of almost-magic, what it means to be
human, to be part of a family, to love, set in a world that we can
easily imagine could be our own. The protagonist is a middle-aged woman
and the author is an African-American woman who weaves themes of race
and womanhood seamlessly throughout.
Infomocracy by Malka Older Image by Tor.com Publishing
Naomi Alderman, a protégé of Margaret
Atwood, knocks it out of the park with this piece of feminist science
fiction. It is a short, breezy read, but packs a punch about how power
changes us, and what people do when they have it.
Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Image by Penguin Random House
These Truths: A History of the United States Image by W. W. Norton & Company
Anna Fahey, Director of strategic communication
I adore Jill Lepore. Over the years, I have devoured her writing in The New Yorker
on American history, law, literature, and politics, but only recently
tucked into her books. I started with her clever recasting of America’s
founding decades via a charming portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest
sister, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.
Lepore’s alternative vantage on well-worn stories and historical
figures was so refreshing, I’m now making my way through her latest, These Truths,
a comprehensive history of the American experiment that through obscure
archival documents gives voice to forgotten characters and reexamines
everything from Age of Discovery to present-day manipulations of our
founding myths (by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump alike) through a
feminist and social justice lens. Plus, the prose is stunning. Lepore’s
language has a poetic rhythm and depth that almost makes you forget
you’re struggling to keep a 4.5-pound history text propped in your lap.
Land Mammals and Sea Creatures: A Novel Image by ECW Press
As Pacific Northwest rains set in this fall, I also enjoyed curling
up with British Columbian Jen Neale’s debut novel. I found the surprise
of the book’s “magical realism” well balanced with the comforting
familiarity of the characters and the Cascadian places Neale lovingly
Aven Frey, Development associate
The Ends of the World by Peter Branna Image by Harper Collins Publishing
It may be kind of perverse, but in these
times of great climate uncertainty, I’ve actually found comfort in
reading Peter Brannen’s book. Going over each of the last five mass
extinction events in Earth’s history, the author discusses the plants
and creatures that existed during each epoch, the fossil record of their
disappearances, and the current scientific evidence that exists for the
cause of each event. Spoiler alert: climate change has played a major
role, each and every time our biosphere has experienced a massive
species die-off. How is this comforting? Well, so far biodiversity has
come back quite spectacularly after even the most thorough annihilation,
so it’s reassuring to know the planet will bounce back after we’re done
Maddi’s Fridge, written by Seattle teacher and author Lois
Brandt, teaches kids about what happens when a family doesn’t have
enough money to buy food, and how we can all help out so that no kid has
to go to bed hungry.
If you haven’t yet heard about Marlon Bundo, presented by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight fame, you should go buy a copy right now, whether you have kids in your life or not. For one, all proceeds benefit The Trevor Project and AIDS United,
and for another, how can you resist a story about Mike Pence’s gay pet
bunny finding his true love and leading an insurrection against an
intolerant (and suspiciously familiar-looking) stink bug who says being
different is bad?
Before a recent work trip, I pulled
Cramer’s book off my shelf at home in order to have something to read
during quieter moments in Seattle. The book is a sprawling, engrossing
account of the 1988 presidential election, with a focus on six
candidates—George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Joe Biden, Dick
Gephardt, and Michael Dukakis. Before there was Game Change, there was What It Takes, and I would argue Cramer not only did it first, he did it better.
The fact that President Bush died only
weeks after I revisited this book is an eerie coincidence. But part of
the reason I note it here is because, unlike most US presidents, Bush
did not write a memoir. And thus, any penetrating accounts of him in
book form are trickier to come by (the Washington Postwrote about this point about
a week after he died). So in the wake of renewed interest in Bush’s
life, I would recommend Cramer’s book, which captured a snapshot of Bush
the Vice President (and the presidential candidate).
Kelsey Hamlin, Communications associate
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein Liveright Publishing
This is an astounding and straight-forward book about housing
segregation, a pretty huge front skipped over by the Civil Rights
movement. The US narrative concluded it was all de facto segregation,
thanks to private prejudices, but the federal government clearly had
racially explicit incentives and programs for public housing. It’s a
“yes and” type of situation, but the fact of the matter is the US
government wasn’t held accountable for its unconstitutional housing
3) Feminist. It’s a quick read but hits so many nails on the head.
The book goes through her journey of accepting her own body, the
obstacles that prevented her from doing so, and the shared strain of so
many women today.
Intern Nation: How to earn nothing and learn little in the brave new economy, by Ross Perlin Image(license)
This book starts off a little slow but really picks up the heat after
one chapter. It analyzes all of the nuance behind unpaid and underpaid
internships, and how they ultimately don’t follow any part of the law
under labor standards and yet persist. He details how the system upholds
itself through multiple facets. There was clearly a lot of reporting
behind this book because he references so many peoples’ real stories but
keeps them with pseudonyms, and he references so many bits of the law
(like the differences of volunteering standards vs labor standards,
individual court cases, and a really weird network of colleges and
Admittedly, I do prefer the latter of the two. It’s a bunch of short
poems, some of which definitely made me cry. Trigger warning: rape. It’s
raw and beautiful and disparaging and uplifting all at the same time.
Kelsey McComas, Development associate
Just Kids by Patti Smith Image by Harper Collins Publishers
Just Kidsby the
multi-talented artist/singer/author Patti Smith, chronicles her rise to
fame through the New York art scene in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
More important, the book is a tribute to her relationship with the late
photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, who pioneered the use of erotic
imagery in photography. With brutal honesty and clarity she tells the
story of her and Robert’s unique—and definitely
unconventional—partnership, from being broke and struggling artists to
Robert’s premature death from AIDS in 1989. I finished the novel in
tears from the beauty of it all.
Don’t Call Us Dead, by Danez Smith Image by Gray Wolf Press