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Books & Authors

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the belief that people have a right to live, work, and play in an environment that is safe, healthy, and is free from danger. But while the environment is something we live in, and are a part of, it is also a resource used for profit. Historically, these conflicting interests have harmed communities and the people that belong to them. The issues involved are complex but the following books can provide an idea of what it means to be denied environmental justice and how to rectify it.


Living Downstream : An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment by Sandra Steingraber
The first edition of Living Downstream--an exquisite blend of precise science and engaging narrative--set a new standard for scientific writing. The updated science in this exciting new edition strengthens the case for banning poisons now pervasive in our air, our food, and our bodies. Because synthetic chemicals linked to cancer come mostly from petroleum and coal, Steingraber shows that investing in green energy also helps prevent cancer. Saving the planet becomes a matter of saving ourselves and an issue of human rights.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
The classic that launched the environmental movement.

What the Eyes Don't See : A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha
Flint was already a troubled city in 2014 when the state of Michigan shifted the source of its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Citizens began complaining about the water that flowed from their taps, but officials insisted that the water was fine. Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at the city's public hospital, took state officials at their word. Then leaked documents from an environmental inspector, and the activism of a concerned mother, raised red flags about lead. This is the story of how a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders proved that Flint's kids were exposed to lead-- and fought the government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world.

Our History Is the Future : Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes
In this title, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance leading to the #NoDAPL movement from the days of the Missouri River trading forts through the Indian Wars, the Pick-Sloan dams, the American Indian Movement, and the campaign for Indigenous rights at the United Nations. While a historian by trade, Estes also draws on observations from the encampments and from growing up as a citizen of the Oceti Sakowin (the Nation of the Seven Council Fires), making Our History is the Future at once a work of history, a personal story, and a manifesto

This Radical Land : A Natural History of American Dissent by Daegan Miller
Daegan Miller is our guide on a beautifully written, revelatory trip across the continent during which we encounter radical thinkers, settlers, and artists who grounded their ideas of freedom, justice, and progress in the very landscapes around them, even as the runaway engine of capitalism sought to steamroll everything in its path. At every turn, everyday radicals looked to landscape for the language of their dissent - drawing crucial early links between the environment and social justice, links we're still struggling to strengthen today.

Kivalina : A Climate Change Story by Christine Shearer
For the people of Kivalina, Alaska, the price of further climate change denial could be the complete devastation of their lives and culture. Their village must be relocated to survive, and neither the fossil fuel giants nor the U.S. government are willing to take full responsibility.

Climate Justice : Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson
Powerful and deeply humane, Climate Justice is a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.

The Scars of Project 459 : The Environmental Story of the Lake of the Ozarks by Traci Angel
The Scars of Project 459 tells the environmental story of the Lake of the Ozarks. Though created to generate hydroelectric power, not for development, the "Magic Dragon," as it is popularly known because of its serpentine shape, has become a major recreational area. Located in some of the most spectacular Ozark scenery, the giant lake today attracts three million visitors annually and has more than 70,000 homes along its shoreline. Traci Angel shows how the popularity of the Lake of the Ozarks has resulted in major present-day problems, including poor water quality, loss of habitat, and increasing concerns about aging waste-management systems for the homes surrounding the lake. Many in the area, especially business owners whose incomes depend on tourism, resist acknowledging these problems. The Scars of Project 459 aims to make public the challenges facing this important resource and ensure that its future is not to be loved to death.

Where the Water Goes : Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen
The author of The Conundrum presents a revelatory account of where our water comes from and where it goes, examining the complicated human-made ecosystem of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, fracking sites and farms that contribute to shortage issues in the western United States.

On Fire : The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein
Delving into topics ranging from the clash between ecological time and our culture of perpetual now, to the soaring history of humans changing and evolving rapidly in the face of grave threats, to rising white supremacy and fortressed borders as a form of climate barbarism, this is a rousing call to action for a planet on the brink. With reports spanning from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef, to the annual smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, to a Vatican attempting an unprecedented ecological conversion, Klein makes the case that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis.

Troubled Water : What's Wrong With What We Drink by Seth M. Siegel
New York Times bestselling author Seth M. Siegel shows how our drinking water got contaminated, what it may be doing to us, and what we must do to make it safe. If you thought America's drinking water problems started and ended in Flint, Michigan, think again.


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