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A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Toms for the iconic New Dimensions radio show. Toms, often called the Socrates of Radio, showed up for the interview with a legal pad that was completely filled with tiny handwritten notes and queries about my book Crow Planet. He knew [...]
Congrats to our contest winners, Agustin (and Jessica!), Antonio, and Byron who will receive a copy of John Farndon's Atlas of Oceans! You may have tuned in last week to PRI's The Worldto catch Farndon's interview and the related Geo Quiz about the newly identified fifth ocean, but these winners were quick to identify the landmasses on the book's cover. They are: the disputed Kuril Islands and the eastern end of Hokkaido in Japan.
With our contest series, we're looking to emphasize David Rogers' COLLABORATE advice, to allow our followers to join the fun that we have publishing these books. Be sure to check out the Representing Justice contest for the most recent chance to win a free YUP book.
Remember: you must correctly identify the landmasses on the cover image and live in North America to win. Submit your answer and e-mail address as a comment to our blog (not on Facebook). The most specific answers will win, so there's still a chance you can bump someone less descriptive out of the winner's circle.
Contest closes on Wednesday at 6pm, EST. Good luck!
Amid recent reports that climate change skeptic Patrick Michaels had financial ties to big polluters, Yale University Press author Howard Friel finds himself in a tangle with another big-name climate skeptic, Danish statistician Bjørn Lomborg.
Friel's new book, The Lomborg Deception, probes and questions the research underpinning Lomborg's two bestsellers, The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001) and Cool It (2007), meticulously checking every data point and note to argue that Lomborg employs deceptive analysis and sourcing methods to arrive at faulty conclusions about climate change. Last week, Lomborg responded to Friel's claims with a document posted on his website, lomborg.org. This week, Friel countered with his own response, writing:
Bjørn Lomborg’s comments about my book. . . display all of the features that characterize [his] two books. . . .Before I read Cool It in fall 2007, my experience in the hermeneutics of deception mostly dealt with books and texts that sought to justify war. Lomborg’s books are no worse than those, but they are no better. Perhaps twenty or fifty years from now, if and when the fuller impacts of man-made global warming are more apparent, people might argue that they were worse.
In her recent Newsweek column, Sharon Begley took a closer look at the developing debate by analyzing three of Lomborg's contested claims related to polar bear populations, the effect of global warming on disease, and the breakup of Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf. Through her own fact checking, Begley took issue with a number of Lomborg's citations and found that "Friel pretty much blows [Lomborg's claims] out of the water".
Though her review of The Lomborg Deception is not without its own critiques, Begley's main qualms focus on Friel's tendency to at times exchange "reader-friendliness" for his commitment to thoroughness. Yet, in his concerted search for truth about the climate, we're fairly certain that that's criticism Friel is willing to accept.
At the close of the UN Summit on Climate Change, diplomats may have left Copenhagen frustrated by the slow pace of progress, but as Yale professor of environmental policy, risk analysis, and political science John Wargo writesin his new book, Green Intelligence, the keys to environmental safety often begin with the actions we take in our own homes.
As Wargo explains in this interview with WNYC's Leonard Lopate, potentially harmful man-made chemicals surround us, not only when we step out of doors, but often also inside our own homes. Who hasn't sprayed an aerosol can inside or called an exterminator to control indoor pests? Yet, in doing so, we are often inviting unknown toxins quite literally into our own homes. Plastics, though now more widely understood as a potential chemical danger, seem particularly difficult to avoid. Take, for instance, Wargo's near-impossible challenge to his students to avoid plastics for a full semester:
For more about Wargo's research and Green Intelligence, be sure to check out this excellent video produced by Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Earlier this week, Stephen Colbert tapped Yale professor and YUP author Dan Esty to discuss the latest international hot topic: global warming. As a professor of Environmental Law and Policy with appointments at both
the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental
Studies, Esty offered a multi-faceted perspective on climate change leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference set to begin on Monday, December 7 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Fans of Esty's book Green to Gold and those unconvinced by the so-called "Climategate" scandal Colbert references at the top of the segment should also look out for Howard Friel's new book The Lomborg Deception, which is the first major response to the work of leading climate-change skeptic Bjørn Lomborg, known for his books The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It. Publishing in February, Friel's book is certain to keep the climate change debate embroiled in controversy long after the conference closes in Copenhagen.
Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize earlier today for their efforts to increase awareness of climate change. (See a video of the announcement.)
We at Yale University Press want to congratulate them on their work and their achievement. For those who want to follow in Mr. Gore's footsteps, YUP offers an assortment of books in science and environmental topics.
In Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment, renowned environmental leader James Gustave Speth warns that despite all the international negotiations of the past two decades, efforts to protect Earth’s environment are not succeeding. He explains why this is so and presents eight specific steps that governments and citizens can take to achieve a sustainable future.
Edited by Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah, Climate Change and Biodiversity was selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006. Leading researchers discuss what is now known about past climate changes in different areas of the world. They examine recent trends in and projections about climate change; ways that particular organisms are responding to climate change; conservation challenges, including social and policy issues; and more.
And keep an eye out for the upcoming book Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology, selected, edited, and with introductions by Glenn Adelson, James Engell, Brent Ranalli, and K. P. Van Anglen. This major, definitive anthology of writings is a complete and up-to-date guide to environmental literacy. The first to be organized around the idea that environmental studies must be interdisciplinary, the collection demonstrates how the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities all contribute to a balanced understanding of the natural world and our relationships to it. Watch for this title's release on December 31, 2007.
Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research, told The New York Times that, while Firor was director of the National Center of Atmospheric Research, "he called attention to the importance of human impact on the environment, when such a connection was still considered a fairly radical idea." An important thinker and a leader in the field, Firor had also been chairman of the board of Envrionmental Defense, and was a trustee and founding board member of the World Resources Institute.
Firor's first book, The Changing Atmosphere, was winner of the 1992 Louis J. Batten Author’s Award given by the American Meteorological Society. Firor, a widely known authority in atmospheric research, describes the causes of acid rain, ozone depletion, and global warming and the evidence for each one's recent acceleration, and he provides practical and long-range suggestions for controlling these and other forms of atmospheric deterioration.
The Crowded Greenhouse,Firor's second book, focuses on two critical global issues—rapid population growth and a human-induced climate change. Firor and Judith Jacobsen summarize the current status of these two issues, show how they are related to one another, and prescribe steps that governments, economies, societies, and individuals can adopt to stabilize both population and climate.
Realizing that he had happily fished his entire life only around his home of Easton, Connecticut, James Prosek decided to take a fishing trip around the world along the 41st parallel — that’s where trout thrive.
He headed east, traveling through southern Europe, the Balkans, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Japan, and returning through the western United States, stopping frequently along the way to indulge his passion for fishing.
Tight Lines, illustrated by James Prosek; Edited by Joseph Furia, Wyatt Golding, David Haltom, Steven Hayhurst, Joseph Kingsbery, and Alexis Surovov; With a Foreword by Nick Lyons; With a Preface by James Prosek and Joseph Furia
Since the first copy of the Yale Anglers’ Journal appeared in 1996, readers with an interest in fish and fishing have opened the pages of each issue with anticipation and delight. YAJ’s founders suspected that others would share their passion for literature and art...
...related to angling; what they had not fully anticipated was the intensity of enthusiasm from readers and writers everywhere. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been surprised. Statistics tell us that 35 million Americans regularly fish, and among their numbers are presidents and students, old and young, the famous and the unknown, the busy and the idle.
This anthology presents a selection of 50 stories, recollections, essays, and poems featured in the Yale Anglers’ Journal during its first remarkable decade. Accompanied by original artwork from James Prosek, these writings all celebrate fish and the experience of fishing, yet they could hardly be more diverse. Some evoke a nostalgic earlier time, others vibrate with excitement, and still others offer a humorous view of life’s surprises. The contributions come from well-known current writers, little-known newcomers, and even authors of antiquity, such as Homer, who had a thing to say about fishing. Anyone who has felt a line pull tight, or is curious to know why the experience has inspired anglers throughout human history, will want to open the pages of this inviting book.
In light of continued media coverage about the U.S.'s relationship with Iran, Trita Parsi's attention-grabbing Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States was reviewed by both Salon and Bloomberg News. Gary Kamiya of Salon calls it "an important new book," addressing a "fundamental misunderstanding of the country" of Iran. Celestine Bohlen of Bloomberg News admires the book for "tackling the complex question of Israel's role in what has become a triangular relationship" between Iran, the U.S., and Israel.
This intriguing book examines the often surprising ways that crows and ravens and humans interact. Featuring more than 100 striking illustrations, the book recounts lively stories about crows and ravens throughout history and around the world, and the authors challenge us to reconsider our thinking not only about these compelling birds but also about ourselves.
Slate contributor Tyler Cowen named it as one of "the best books of 2007," calling it "the unheralded science book of the year." He additionally wrote about this "fascinating book" on his blog, Marginal Revolution.
For their holiday gift list, Seattle Times suggests the "terrific" In the Company of Crows and Ravens, citing the numerous honors given to the book, including "rave reviews for this blend of science, art and anthropology" and "a first prize in book illustration and an overall prize for best work in the Victoria and Albert Museum's illustration contest."
Read an excerpt of the book, or view the table of contents.
In this vivid memoir of a life in science, ecologist Paul Colinvaux takes his readers from the Alaskan tundra to steamy Amazon jungles, from the Galapagos Islands (before tourists had arrived) to the high Andes and the Darien Gap in Panama. He recounts an adventurous tale of exploration in the days before GPS and satellite mapping, and a tale no less exhilarating of his battle to disprove a hypothesis endorsed by most of the scientific community.
Colinvaux’s grand endeavor, begun in the 1960s, was to find fossil evidence of the ice-age climate and vegetation of the entire American equator, from Pacific to Atlantic. The accomplishment of the task by the author and his colleagues involved finding unknown ancient lakes, lugging drilling equipment through uncharted Amazon jungle, operating hand drills from rubber boats in water 40 meters deep, and inventing a pollen analysis for a land with 80,000 species of plants. Colinvaux’s years of arduous travel and research ultimately disproved a hotly defended hypothesis explaining bird distribution peculiarities in the Amazon forest. The story of how he arrived at a new understanding of the Amazon is at once an adventurous saga, an account of science as it is conducted in the field, and a cautionary tale about the temptation to treat a favored hypothesis with a reverence that subverts unbiased research.
This is a comprehensive account of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, told for the first time by an Iraqi insider. Ali Allawi, former Iraqi Minister of Defense and Finance, writes from the perspective of both principal and observer, shedding new light on the story behind the invasion, the shambolic aftermath and attempts at stabilization, and why events have failed to unfold as planned.
On February 29, 2008, Yale Press author Tom McCarthy appeared on the Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC) to discuss his new book Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment. You can download the segment or listen with the embedded player below. For more information on the segment, or to hear the entire program, click here.
Spanning the automobile’s entire history, this book is the first to relate consumer behavior to the wider environmental impact of cars—from raw materials and manufacturing to use and disposal. It shows that America’s disappointing response to automobile-related environmental issues stems from the interplay of politics, economics, and desire.
In Episode 13, Chris Gondek speaks with (1) Richard Sennett, winner of the 2006 Hegel Prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and social sciences, about the art of craftsmanship; and (2) Gus Speth, dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale, about how the free market system will need to adjust in the face of serious environmental changes.
Download it for free here, on iTunes, and everywhere else that podcasts can be found.
Taking a cue from Thaler and Sunstein, Tierney suggests a piece of jewelry that measures the wearer's carbon footprint and displays it to the world on a scale from red to green. Writing a blog post for TierneyLab, Tierney nudged his readers to help him out with this project: "Do you have a better name, or a better nudge of kind? The best suggestion will be rewarded with a copy of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago." Click here to read the entire post or enter the contest.
For more information about nudges, check out Nudge or the website for the book, www.nudges.org, with news, reviews, a blog and even a glossary.
James Gustave Speth, a distinguished leader and founder of environmental institutions over the past four decades, is dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He was awarded Japan’s Blue Planet Prize for “a lifetime of creative and visionary leadership in the search for science-based solutions to global environmental problems.” He lives in New Haven, CT.
The New York Sun and the New York Observer, both running pieces on Creating Central Park by Morrison H. Heckscher, have decided to emphasize different parts of the story: one real estate, the other art.
The Real Estate section of the New York Observer contained a Q&A with Heckscher about the book. Heckscher begins, "I would like to start by saying that the whole issue of the park has to do with open space in Manhattan. Central Park is, shall we say, the conclusion of 50 years of political machinations of how to provide, for the city and Manhattan, open space mostly for health reasons—for air and space for the health of the public, and recreation." Read the entire interview here.
The year 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the design of Central Park, the first and arguably the most famous of America’s urban landscape parks. In October 1857 the new park’s board of commissioners announced a public design competition, and the following April the imaginative yet practicable “Greensward” plan submitted by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted was selected.
This book tells the fascinating story of how an extraordinary work of public art emerged from the crucible of New York City politics. From William Cullen Bryant’s 1844 editorial calling for “a pleasure ground of shade and recreation” to the completion of construction in 1870, the history of Central Park is an urban epic––a tale not only of animosity, political intrigue, and desire but also of idealism, sacrifice, and genius.
U.S. Governors and top environmental officials will meet tomorrow here at Yale University to exchange ideas on how states and the federal government can combat global warming and develop a strategy for future action.
The gathering, organized in part by Yale Press author Gus Speth, will also celebrate the centennial of President Theodore Roosevelt’s landmark 1908 Conference of Governors, which launched the modern conservation movement, planted the seed for the National Parks System, and inspired significant state efforts to protect land.
Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World,Speth collaborated with other Yale organizations and state officials to commemorate that landmark 1908 conference. Last night at 8pm, Speth introduced keynote speakers Theodore Roosevelt IV and Gifford Pinchot III, the descendants of the original organizers of that 1908 conference.
The author of Red Sky at Morning would be the first to agree that we are in deep environmental trouble, but he offers hope that there is still time to avert global catastrophe. Gus Speth explores a wide variety of promising and even radical ideas for transforming modern capitalism so as to protect and restore the natural world.
This month's issue of E/The Environmental Magazine, features an interview with Yale Press author and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies dean Gus Speth. Drawing upon his arguments in The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth proposes a serious shift in the way we think about today's environmental movement:
E: What is your message to today's environmental community? Speth: Mainstream environmentalism is very incremental, it's very wonkish in the sense that it's very technical. But the problem is, it's like swimming upstream???we get stronger and we think we're going to master the current and make headway against the current, but the truth is the current is getting stronger faster than we are. [...] So my urging to the environmental community is to step outside the system, to develop a more stinging, more in-depth critique and to begin to do some things which the environmental community hasn't been willing to take on so far.
You can read a complete transcript of the interview here.
There are lots of great ways to celebrate Earth Day. Bike to work, recycle, or show off your green thumb and plant a tree, like our commander-in-chief. But, in our minds, there's no better way to celebrate Mother Earth than learning more about her through a good book.
When it comes to saving the planet, few people know more than James Gustave Speth, co-founder of the NRDC and dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. In his book The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth argues that modern capitalism's obsession with consumption and GDP growth has gone too far, now causing more harm—to environment, social fabric, and world
security—than good. His bold plan is laid out in this inspired book, which is now available in paperback. And fear not, defenders of poor, defenseless trees! Speth's book is printed on acid free recycled paper with vegetable based ink.
Though environmental appreciation through the written word is all well and good, a picture contains a thousand words, or in Robert Poole's case, an entire book. Poole's book, Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth, takes the iconic "blue marble" photographs from NASA's Apollo missions as a starting point and tells the elaborate and surprising story of how these images came to be. From an environmentalist perspective, the photographs of Earth represented a turning point, Poole contends. In a strange way, we had to leave the planet to turn our focus back toward Earth, our beautiful and fragile home.
Matthew Klingle's book, Emerald City, tells the story of a community that has managed to weave together seamlessly its natural beauty and urban development. In this award-winning book, Klingle explores the role of nature in the development of the city of Seattle from the earliest days of its settlement to the present day, showing how this Pacific Northwest metropolis can be a model for our nation's greening cities.
Finally, for all you literary green freaks, check out an Earth Day/Poetry Month double-whammy, Can Poetry Save the Earth? by John Felstiner and Janet Malcolm's arrestingly beautiful collection of botanical portraits in her photographic work, Burdock. And, once again, happy Earth Day!
While the recent climate change legislation passed in the House of Representatives represents the first time Congress has approved a bill targeted at global warming, its passage does not come without controversy. The focus of the bill is a cap-and-trade system in which the total amount of emission pollution is capped and companies can trade pollution permits. Over time, the cap decreases, theoretically driving up the cost of emissions and encouraging companies to develop cleaner technologies’; however, the system has been criticized as a tax by Republicans.
In his book A Question of Balance, William Nordhaus seeks out a solution to the problems of climate change through economic analysis. He provides a thorough breakdown of the costs and benefits of a variety of policy options. The economic models that he uses provide insight into the complexity of the problem and the difficulty in finding a solution. We hope Nordhaus' next book will detail ways to avoid the wasteful "compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts" that seem to accompany the passage of every bill.
For those old enough to remember, the 40th anniversary of the moon landing brings back memories of “One small step,” lunar bootprints, and the first grainy photos of an American flag flown some 240,000 miles from home. But the photos sent back from the Apollo missions were not only of the lunar landscape. In Earthrise: How We First Saw Ourselves, Robert Poole reminds us that the late 1960s also marked the first time man that man viewed Earth from space.
Command Module Pilot Michael Collins of the Apollo 11 mission remembered, “I looked out of my window and tried to find Earth. The little planet is so small out there in the vastness that at first I couldn’t even locate it. And when I did, a tingling of awe spread over me. There it was, shining like a jewel in a black sky. I looked at it in wonderment, suddenly aware of how its uniqueness is stamped in every atom of my body. . .”
It is no coincidence, Poole contends, that the years following the space missions saw the inauguration of the first Earth Day and the rise of the environmental movement. With the image of our beautiful “blue marble” beamed to households all over the world, the race to the moon became a long look back at the starting line. In Earthrise, Poole lets us witness this marble again, 40 years later, but no less amazing.
See the footage below for a glimpse of the other-worldly view from a moon lander.
In Episode 9, Chris Gondek speaks with (1) Trita Parsi about his behind-the scenes revelations about events in the Middle East, and (2) James Prosek about his passion and devotion to capturing the beauty of fly fishing.
Download it for free here, on iTunes, and everywhere else that podcasts can be found.