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Environmental Chemistry


Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak

Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak Lowest new price: $13.91
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Author: Lynda V. Mapes
Brand: Bloomsbury USA

An intimate look at one majestic hundred-year-old oak tree through four seasons--and the reality of global climate change it reveals.

In the life of this one grand oak, we can see for ourselves the results of one hundred years of rapid environmental change. It's leafing out earlier, and dropping its leaves later as the climate warms. Even the inner workings of individual leaves have changed to accommodate more CO2 in our atmosphere.

Climate science can seem dense, remote, and abstract. But through the lens of this one tree, it becomes immediate and intimate. In Witness Tree, environmental reporter Lynda V. Mapes takes us through her year living with one red oak at the Harvard Forest. We learn about carbon cycles and leaf physiology, but also experience the seasons as people have for centuries, watching for each new bud, and listening for each new bird and frog call in spring. We savor the cadence of falling autumn leaves, and glory of snow and starry winter nights. Lynda takes us along as she climbs high into the oak's swaying boughs, and scientists core deep into the oak's heartwood, dig into its roots and probe the teeming life of the soil. She brings us eye-level with garter snakes and newts, and alongside the squirrels and jays devouring the oak's acorns. Season by season she reveals the secrets of trees, how they work, and sustain a vast community of lives, including our own.

The oak is a living timeline and witness to climate change. While stark in its implications, Witness Tree is a beautiful and lyrical read, rich in detail, sweeps of weather, history, people, and animals. It is a story rooted in hope, beauty, wonder, and the possibility of renewal in people's connection to nature.

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America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

America's Public Lands: From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond Lowest new price: $26.05
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Author: Randall K. Wilson
Brand: Wilson Randall K

How is it that the United States—the country that cherishes the ideal of private property more than any other in the world—has chosen to set aside nearly one-third of its territory as public lands? Considering this intriguing question, Randall K. Wilson traces the often-forgotten ideas of nature that have shaped the evolution of America’s public land system. The result is a fresh and probing account of the most pressing policy and management challenges facing national parks, forests, rangelands, and wildlife refuges today.

The author explores the dramatic story of the origins of the public domain, including the century-long push toward privatization and the subsequent emergence of a national conservation ideal. Arguing that we cannot fully understand one type of public land without understanding its relation to the rest of the system, he provides in-depth accounts of the different types of public lands. Including chapters on national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management lands, and wilderness areas, Wilson examines key turning points and major policy debates for each land type. He considers questions of bison and elk management and recent disputes over fire policy, roadless areas, mining claims, and grazing fees. This comprehensive overview offers a chance to rethink our relationship with America’s public lands, including what it says about the way we relate to, and value, nature in the United States.

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  • America s Public Lands From Yellowstone to Smokey Bear and Beyond

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Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life

Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life Lowest new price: $5.16
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Author: George Monbiot
Brand: Monbiot George

To be an environmentalist early in the twenty-first century is always to be defending, arguing, acknowledging the hurdles we face in our efforts to protect wild places and fight climate change. But let’s be honest: hedging has never inspired anyone.
 
So what if we stopped hedging? What if we grounded our efforts to solve environmental problems in hope instead, and let nature make our case for us? That’s what George Monbiot does in Feral, a lyrical, unabashedly romantic vision of how, by inviting nature back into our lives, we can simultaneously cure our “ecological boredom” and begin repairing centuries of environmental damage. Monbiot takes readers on an enchanting journey around the world to explore ecosystems that have been “rewilded”: freed from human intervention and allowed—in some cases for the first time in millennia—to resume their natural ecological processes. We share his awe, and wonder, as he kayaks among dolphins and seabirds off the coast of Wales and wanders the forests of Eastern Europe, where lynx and wolf packs are reclaiming their ancient hunting grounds. Through his eyes, we see environmental success—and begin to envision a future world where humans and nature are no longer separate and antagonistic, but are together part of a single, healing world.
 
Monbiot’s commitment is fierce, his passion infectious, his writing compelling. Readers willing to leave the confines of civilization and join him on his bewitching journey will emerge changed—and ready to change our world for the better.

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  • Feral Rewilding the Land the Sea and Human Life

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First Along the River: A Brief History of the U.S. Environmental Movement

First Along the River: A Brief History of the U.S. Environmental Movement Lowest new price: $21.01
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Author: Benjamin Kline
Brand: Benjamin Kline

First Along the River introduces students to the U.S. environmental movement. Concise, accessible, and informative, this book provides students with a balanced, historical perspective on the history of the environmental movement in relation to major social and political events in U.S. history. The book highlights important people and events, places critical concepts in context, and shows the impact of government, industry, and population on the American landscape. The fourth edition includes a new chapter that covers the entire environmental record of the George W. Bush administration, and the early record of the Obama administration.

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Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service

Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service Lowest new price: $11.39
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Author: Daren Worcester
Brand: DOWN EAST

Before reality TV, GPS devices, and dashboard computers, there was a coming of age for the Maine Warden Service. It was a time when a compass, map, and one's wits were what mattered most in the field. Every day offered the potential for an exciting new adventure, many of which endangered the wardens' lives.

Recreating the full warden experience, Open Season includes 20 stories from two former colonels, two lieutenants, two sergeants, four district wardens, a warden pilot, and one currently active-duty corporal. Altogether, their cumulative experiences account for more than 300 years of north woods law.

In addition to hair-raising, life-and-death scenarios, the collection covers moments such as a child innocently outing his parents as “looking for deer” at night, the doldrums of a stakeout, and the grief of tragedy. You'll live through the eyes of these twelve wardens and feel the excitement of a twig snapped in the dark...the frustration of second guessing yourself when lives are at stake...and the duty to do what's right, even when it means breaking the law.

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No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process Lowest new price: $2.00
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Author: Colin Beavan
Brand: Picador

What does it really take to live eco-effectively? For one year, Colin Beavan swore off plastic and toxins, turned off his electricity, went organic, became a bicycle nut, and tried to save the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his young daughter and his Prada-wearing wife along for the ride. Together they attempted to make zero impact on the environment while living right in the heart of Manhattan, and this is the sensational, funny, and consciousness-raising story of how they did it. With No Impact Man, Beavan found that no-impact living is worthwhile--and richer, fuller, and more satisfying in the bargain.

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The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods Lowest new price: $6.00
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Author: Julia Hill
Brand: HarperOne

On December 18, 1999, Julia Butterfly Hill's feet touched the ground for the first time in over two years, as she descended from "Luna," a thousandyear-old redwood in Humboldt County, California.

Hill had climbed 180 feet up into the tree high on a mountain on December 10, 1997, for what she thought would be a two- to three-week-long "tree-sit." The action was intended to stop Pacific Lumber, a division of the Maxxam Corporation, from the environmentally destructive process of clear-cutting the ancient redwood and the trees around it. The area immediately next to Luna had already been stripped and, because, as many believed, nothing was left to hold the soil to the mountain, a huge part of the hill had slid into the town of Stafford, wiping out many homes.

Over the course of what turned into an historic civil action, Hill endured El Nino storms, helicopter harassment, a ten-day siege by company security guards, and the tremendous sorrow brought about by an old-growth forest's destruction. This story--written while she lived on a tiny platform eighteen stories off the ground--is one that only she can tell.

Twenty-five-year-old Julia Butterfly Hill never planned to become what some have called her--the Rosa Parks of the environmental movement. Shenever expected to be honored as one of Good Housekeeping's "Most Admired Women of 1998" and George magazine's "20 Most Interesting Women in Politics," to be featured in People magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" issue, or to receive hundreds of letters weekly from young people around the world. Indeed, when she first climbed into Luna, she had no way of knowing the harrowing weather conditions and the attacks on her and her cause. She had no idea of the loneliness she would face or that her feet wouldn't touch ground for more than two years. She couldn't predict the pain of being an eyewitness to the attempted destruction of one of the last ancient redwood forests in the world, nor could she anticipate the immeasurable strength she would gain or the life lessons she would learn from Luna. Although her brave vigil and indomitable spirit have made her a heroine in the eyes of many, Julia's story is a simple, heartening tale of love, conviction, and the profound courage she has summoned to fight for our earth's legacy.

A young woman named Julia Butterfly Hill climbed a 200-foot redwood in December 1997. She didn't come down for 738 days. The tree, dubbed Luna, grows in the coastal hills of Northern California, on land owned by the Maxxam Corporation. In 1985 Maxxam acquired the previous landlord, Pacific Lumber, then proceeded to "liquidate its assets" to pay off the debt--in other words, clear-cut the old-growth redwood forest. Environmentalists charged the company with harvesting timber at a nonsustainable level. Earth First! in particular devised tree sit-ins to protest the logging. When Hill arrived on the scene after traveling cross-country on a whim, loggers were preparing to clear-cut the hillside where Luna had been growing for 1,000 years. The Legacy of Luna, part diary, part treatise, and part New Age spiritual journey, is the story of Julia Butterfly Hill's two-year arboreal odyssey.

The daughter of an itinerant preacher, Hill writes of her chance meeting with California logging protesters, the blur of events leading to her ascent of the redwood, and the daily privations of living in the tallest treehouse on earth. She weathers everything from El Niño rainstorms to shock-jock media storms. More frightening are her interactions with the loggers below, who escalate the game of chicken by cutting dangerously close to Luna (eventually succeeding at killing another activist with such tactics). "'You'd better get ready for a bad hair day!'" one logger shouts up, grimly anticipating the illegal helicopter hazing she would soon get. Celebrity environmentalists like Joan Baez and Woody Harrelson stop by, too. The notoriety has, on balance, been good to Hill and her cause. George magazine named her one of the "Ten Most Fascinating People in Politics," Good Housekeeping readers nominated her one of the "Most Admired Women" in 1998, and she was featured in People's "Most Intriguing People of the Year" issue. As a result, more Americans know about controversial forestry practices; it remains to be seen, however, whether public outrage is enough to save California's unprotected and ever-shrinking groves of redwoods. While an agreement allowed Hill to descend from her aerie and Luna to escape the saw, most of the surrounding old-growth forest in the region has been felled or will fall shortly. Still, Hill is optimistic: "Luna is only one tree. We will save her, but we will lose others. The more we stand up and demand change, though, the more things will improve." --Langdon Cook

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The Aliens Among Us: How Invasive Species Are Transforming the Planet―and Ourselves

The Aliens Among Us: How Invasive Species Are Transforming the Planet―and Ourselves Lowest new price: $16.84
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Author: Leslie Anthony

A thoughtful, accessible look at the rapidly growing issue of invasive plants, animals, and microbes around the globe with a focus on the scientific issues and ecological, health, and other challenges

From an award-winning adventure and science journalist comes an eye-opening exploration of a burgeoning environmental phenomenon and the science coalescing around it. Leslie Anthony leads readers on adventures physical and philosophical as he explores how and why invasive species are hijacking ecosystems around the globe. Weaving science, travel, history, and humor with diverse examples to chart and describe the phases of species invasion and human response, Anthony introduces field researchers and managers who seek to understand the biological, social, and economic aspects of this complex issue, and whose work collectively suggests the emergence of a global shadow economy centered on invasives.
 
With tales of pythons in the Everglades, Asian carp and lamprey in the Great Lakes, Japanese knotweed seemingly everywhere, and the invasive organisms we don’t see—pathogens and microbes such as the Zika virus—this book rivets attention on a new ecological reality. 


Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oce ans

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oce ans Lowest new price: $7.71
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Author: Charles Moore
Brand: Brand: Avery Trade

A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age.

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast “oceanic desert” where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a “plastic soup.”  He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet—a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean’s food base, by a factor of six to one.

In Plastic Ocean, Moore recounts his ominous findings and unveils the secret life and hidden proper ties of plastics. From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough  to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected  of contributing to a host of ailments, including  infertility, autism, thyroid  dysfunction, and some cancers. An urgent call to action, Moore’s sobering revelations will be embraced by activists, concerned  parents, and anyone concerned about the deadly impact and implications of this man-made blight.

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Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, 2nd Edition

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, 2nd Edition Lowest new price: $6.44
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Author: Alan Weisman
Brand: Weisman, Alan

Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas.

In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.

Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.”

Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.

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