Win a selection of books from noted authors speaking at Earth Day conference

March 30, 2016

To celebrate the stories and perspectives being shared at the tenth annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference on April 25, the institute will randomly select five conference attendees who will each receive a collection of books by featured speakers David Quammen, Carolyn Finney, Andrew Revkin, Kimberly Blaeser and Michael Shellenberger.

Register now for the Nelson
Institute Earth Day Conference
on Monday, April 25.

All conference attendees will be entered in the book drawing by registering for and checking in at the conference. The five winners will be selected by a random drawing of eligible attendees on April 26 and notified by email shortly thereafter.

The winners will receive these books by Earth Day conference speakers:

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Spillover by David Quammen

Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover.

In this gripping account, David Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge and asks: What might the next big one be? 

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Scientific American Best Book of the Year, and a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

David Quammen is an award-winning science journalist and author who explores the often uneasy boundaries of human-nature interactions and the possibilities that come from understanding our place in nature. He is currently a contributing writer for National Geographic magazine.

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors

Black Faces, White Spaces by Carolyn Finney

Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the "great outdoors" and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces.

Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns. 

Carolyn Finney, a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, is a leading scholar on diversity and the environment and is deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity and resilience. In particular, she explores how issues of difference impact participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues.


The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest

The Burning Seasons by Andrew Revkin

Violent death came to Chico Mendes in the Amazon rain forest on December 22, 1988. A labor and environmental activist, Mendes was gunned down by powerful ranchers for organizing resistance to the wholesale burning of the forest. He was a target because he had convinced the government to take back land ranchers had stolen at gunpoint or through graft and then to transform it into "extractive reserves," set aside for the sustainable production of rubber, nuts and other goods harvested from the living forest.

This was not just a local land battle on a remote frontier. Mendes had invented a kind of reverse globalization, creating alliances between his grassroots campaign and the global environmental movement. Some 500 similar killings had gone unprosecuted, but this case would be different. Under international pressure, for the first time Brazilian officials were forced to seek, capture and try not only an Amazon gunman but the person who ordered the killing.

In this reissue of the environmental classic, with a new introduction by the author, Andrew Revkin artfully interweaves the moving story of Mendes's struggle with the broader natural and human history of the world's largest tropical rain forest.

Andrew Revkin is an award-winning science journalist and author, former New York Times reporter, and writer of the “Dot Earth” environmental blog for The New York Times opinion pages, where he examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits.


Absentee Indians and Other Poems

Absentee Indians and Other Poems by Kim Blaeser

“Absentee Indians and Other Poems” evokes personal yet universal experiences of the places that Native Americans call home, their family and national histories, and the emotional forces that help forge Native American identities. These are poems of exile, loss and the celebration of that which remains.

Anchored in the physical landscape, Kimberly Blaeser’s poetry finds the sacred in those ordinary actions that bind a community together. As Blaeser turns to the mysterious passage from sleeping to wakefulness, or from nature to spirit, she reveals not merely the movement from one age or place to another, but the movement from experience to vision.

Kimberly Blaeser is Wisconsin's poet laureate, teacher of creative writing and Native American literature at UW-Milwaukee, and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Her poetry and photography explore intersecting ideas about Native place, nature, preservation and spiritual sustenance.


Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility

Break Through by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

Environmental insiders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus triggered a firestorm of controversy with their self-published essay “The Death of Environmentalism,” which argued that environmentalism cannot deal with global warming and should die so that a new politics can be born. Global warming is far more complex than past pollution problems, and American values have changed dramatically since the movement’s greatest victories in the 1960s, but environmentalists keep fighting the same old battles, the essay posited. Seeing a connection between the failures of environmentalism and the failures of the entire left-leaning political agenda, the authors point to an aspirational politics that they say will resonate with modern American values and be capable of tackling our most pressing challenges.

In this follow-up to the original essay, the authors offer an expansive manifesto for political change. What Americans really want, and what could serve as the basis for a new politics, they argue, is a vision capable of inspiring the country to greatness. Making the case for abandoning old categories (nature/market, left/right), the authors articulate a pragmatism that has already found champions in such prominent figures as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Wired magazine said the book "could be the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Silent Spring." 

Michael Shellenbergera leading global thinker on energy and the environment, is a proponent of "ecomodernism," which he describes as "a pragmatic philosophy motivated by the belief that we can protect beautiful, wild places at the same time as we ensure that the seven-going-on-nine billion people in the world can lead secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling lives." In 2008, he was named a TIME magazine "Hero of the Environment."