Warmth, by Daniel Sherrell

Staff Pick

As other writers have recently done, Sherrell homes in on troubling issues by framing his timely book around a letter to an unborn child. In this case the issue is climate change and the child is a real question. As Sherrell, an activist with NY Renews, struggles to determine what he “owe[s]” a future family, he turns the Problem—as he calls it throughout this deeply felt and uneasy meditation—from every conceivable angle; starting with the powerful account of a man whose self-immolation caused the briefest flutter in attention to that Problem, he examines his own growing up in a changing world; the anachronistic connection of young children to stuffed figures of animals they may never actually see; the troublesome term “environmentalist,” which he feels shows “the cheapening of a god into a religion”; the anniversary of Katrina as a model for commemoration of those lost to climate, where loss is perhaps salvaged if the moment of silence is viewed as “not the absence of sound but the presence of something that cannot be spoken”; and much more. Though feeling language is “plainly inadequate to any real consideration of the Problem,” Sherrell’s own often takes a lyrical bent, and he lavishes care and attention on describing the natural world, as if to make it—and us—linger here long enough so we can find a way through this unfathomable time.

 

Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143136538
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - August 3rd, 2021

Believers, by Lisa Wells

Staff Pick

Seeing the natural landscape she loved as a child succumb to the concrete of suburbia “radicalized” Wells at an early age; she understood “environment” not as an abstraction, but “where we lived,” and dropped out of school in tenth grade, unwilling to be complicit in civilization’s “unsustainable expansionist system.”  Her thought-provoking and capacious book examines how and why we let this system turn a paradise of natural abundance into a “near dead world.” But even as that process also kills something inside us, we don’t have to live lives as depleted as that of the places we’ve desertified. Surveying a range of art and literature including Gilgamesh, the Bible, and Salgado’s photos of Brazilian mines, she tracks the shifting relationship between humanity and nature; from this conceptual foundation she explores a range of alternatives to mainstream capitalist business as usual, from desert “outlaws” living off the grid to alternative spiritual communities to environmentalists rewilding devastated landscapes. Ultimately, her fascinating book leaves us hopeful: if we can stop dominating and imposing ourselves like colonizers and instead cooperate and adapt, like migrants, we can restore both ourselves and the planet.

Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374110253
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - July 20th, 2021

Diary of a Young Naturalist, by Dara McAnulty

Staff Pick

At sixteen an internationally recognized wildlife activist, McAnulty is the Northern Irish counterpart of Sweden’s Greta Thunberg. He's also like her in being on the spectrum, and his Diary is an often wrenching account of the anguish he suffers trying to navigate the noise of confusing social demands andhis schoolmates' bullying. But the sensitivity that makes ordinary life painful makes nature a place of solace and wonder. McAnulty experiences the wild thoroughly and deeply—studying a centuries’ old great oak, he feels “our rhythms intertwine”—and evokes its sounds, sights, and smells in language as lyrical as it is scientifically precise; McAnulty is an expert in both the habits of butterflies, otters, and birds ranging from ravens to corncrakes and hen harriers (he was smitten with raptors at age six), and the folklore associated with them. But is this enough to raise awareness of our essential bonds to nature and stop the relentless “growing for growth” that has hurt so many of the creatures McAnulty loves? Is “noticing an act of rebellion, a resistance?” McAnulty’s passion and eloquence—his ability to show us, and make us care about, how “a wall is an entire world to an insect,” for instance—makes the answer a resounding “yes.”

 

Diary of a Young Naturalist Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781571311801
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Milkweed Editions - June 8th, 2021

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