Category Archives: Book Reviews

A Book Can Still Make a Difference

Spine-Continent_CVRLast night Kirsten and went to a lecture by Michael Soule’, father of the conservation biology movement. I credit Soule for adding value back to his science of ecology by doing something about it, including founding the Wildlands Network to create wildlife corridors that enable adequate migration to protect species’ necessary genetic diversity.

The fight to conserve the environment is a never ending battle but one Soule’, quoting the Dalai Lama, reminds us to never give up on. Soule’ mentioned it is tougher now because with the advent of smart phones people read less. Conservation can be a bit complex but it is hard to get such ideas across in a tweet. Yet he did have a success story. Our friend Mary Ellen Hannibal’s recent book, The Spine of the Continentwhile not quite on best seller lists was nonetheless read by Jody Allen, billionaire Paul Allen’s sister and Ms. Allen is perhaps interested in pointing some money in the direction of Wildlands Network.  Soule was obviously thrilled.

We fortuitously met Mary Ellen when she was researching the book, camping with her and other friends of the Grand Canyon Trust in the high forests of southern Utah.  It will be fun to watch how any contribution Wildlands Network might get as a result of Mary Ellen’s book works out.  I’ll keep an eye out.

The Third Industrial Revolution

The ever increasing extent of industrial/political cronyism in the U.S. economy is a serious concern.  Seeking Alpha is a website from my old investment world which looks for trends and places to earn increased returns.  Hazel Henderson reviews Jeremy Rifkin’s new book there, The Third Industrial Revolution.  In an alarming statement Henderson says, “My colleague Dr. James Fletcher on the Technology Assessment Advisory Board to the US Congress told us at a meeting in the 1970s that if the US had subsidized solar-based energies to the same extent it subsidized oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy, that our country would already be run on solar and renewables. Fletcher went on to become Administrator of NASA, the US space program. . . . However, as I found in the 1980s, the barriers were the incumbent fossil and nuclear industries whose influence over Congress kept their huge subsidies and forced renewables to climb a steeply-tilted playing field.”  Rifkin has solutions.  Let me know if you read the book.  . . . more>>

The Wisdom of Wilderness

According to The Christian Science Monitor in a reader recommendation, psychiatrist, contemplative theologian, counselor, teacher, writer, and Shalem Institute fellow Gerald G. May wrote his last book, The Wisdom of Wilderness, as he was dying. We journey with him into the wilderness, which he says is “not just a place; [but] also a state of being.” He guides us to what is natural and wild in our own lives – and to the healing grace of nature. Sounds good, I haven’t read it yet, if anyone does, please let us know your thoughts.

Environmental Economist

Gernot Wagner is, as he admits amusingly, a seeming contradiction: an environmental economist. Readers will perceive a second contradiction: he’s an economist and policy wonk who you would actually want to talk to at a party.  Unintended consequences are always a bugaboo with government policy.  Wagner explains  in his new book But Will the Planet Notice, How Smart Economics Can Save the Worldwhy the no expenses spared aspect of the Endangered Species Act makes it do more harm than good, but why a cap and trade is imperative.  . . . more>>

Fracking Good Read

At Torrey House Press we hope to create wider appreciation for the conservation issues in the American West through philosophy and literature.  People’s Press came out with a novel this year that is a good prototype of the kind of thing we would like to publish down the road.  Buried by the Roan is a murder mystery set in the Flat Tops Wilderness in western Colorado.   The mountain wild and the oil and gas industry’s hydraulic fracking both play major roles in the drama.  Congratulations to author Mark Stevens.  . . . . more>> Reviewed in the Colorado Springs Independent here and in High Country News here.

Chas. S. Clifton on Eric Blehm’s THE LAST SEASON

. . . backcountry rangers are like the adjunct professors who teach more than half all all university classes.. They do the work, but they have no job security from one year to the next. They have no pension plans and far fewer benefits than permanent employees. And Randy Morgenson was past the middle of his career.  His marriage was going downhill.  One day, he missed his radio check, part of the routine for backcountry rangers who camped out and worked alone. And the next day.  His colleagues grew worried . . . more>>

It’s a Global Garden

It doesn’t have to be pure wilderness to be valuable as natural landscape.  “We are already running the whole Earth, whether we admit it or not. To run it consciously and effectively, we must admit our role and even embrace it. We must temper our romantic notion of untrammeled wilderness and find room next to it for the more nuanced notion of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden, tended by us.”  From Emma Marris’s new book  Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World   more>>