With Earth Day 2019 approaching, we would like to reflect on the significance of our relationship with the environment, both in our capacity as a scholarly publisher and as a species.
Beginning with our first publication, The Geology of Carmelo Bay, in 1893, UC Press has maintained a rich history of publishing titles in environmental studies, being at the forefront of issues that have entered into everyday consciousness in recent years, including climate change, environmental policy, and documentation of the natural world. Perhaps more important than any single issue however, is our conviction to detail the very real impact humans and human-created systems have had on our planet. It is our hope that by bringing these perspectives to a wide audience that together, we can take steps towards a more just and sustainable environmental future.
Please read on to see a small selection of UC Press titles that exemplify these desires. Happy Earth Day 2019!
by Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore
Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analyzing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding—and reclaiming—the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century.
by Dustin Mulvaney
Solar Power makes a passionate case for the significance of solar power energy and offers a vision for a more sustainable and just solar industry for the future. The solar energy industry has grown immensely over the past several years and now provides up to a fifth of California’s power. But despite its deservedly green reputation, solar development and deployment may have social and environmental consequences, from poor factory labor standards to landscape impacts on wildlife.
Using a wide variety of case studies and examples that trace the life cycle of photovoltaics, Mulvaney expertly outlines the state of the solar industry, exploring the ongoing conflicts between ecological concerns and climate mitigation strategies, current trade disputes, and the fate of toxics in solar waste products.
The Encyclopedia of Animals is a lavishly illustrated, authoritative, and comprehensive exploration of the rich and intriguing world of animals. Written by an international team of specialists, spectacularly adorned with a gallery of more than 2,000 color illustrations, and supplemented with distribution maps, detailed and beautifully rendered diagrams, and some of the world’s finest wildlife photographs, this volume will become the standard by which all others are measured.
Each page is expertly laid out to enhance either browsing or in-depth study. Readers will find an introductory overview of animal evolution, biology, behavior, classification, habitats, and current conservation issues. An extensive encyclopedic survey of the animals follows, with special attention given to endangered and vulnerable species.
by J. G. M. Hans Thewissen
Newly published in paperback, The Walking Whales gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast.
In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Hans Thewissen finds answers to his questions about fossils by studying the anatomy of otters and porpoises and examining whale embryos under the microscope, and argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.
by Irus Braverman
In recent years, a catastrophic global bleaching event devastated many of the world’s precious coral reefs. Working on the front lines of ruin, today’s coral scientists are struggling to save these important coral reef ecosystems from the imminent threats of rapidly warming, acidifying, and polluted oceans. Coral Whisperers captures a critical moment in the history of coral reef science. Gleaning insights from over one hundred interviews with leading scientists and conservation managers, Irus Braverman documents a community caught in an existential crisis and alternating between despair and hope. In this important new book, corals emerge not only as signs and measures of environmental catastrophe, but also as catalysts for action.
by Eduardo Kohn
Can forests think? Do dogs dream? In this astonishing book, Eduardo Kohn challenges the very foundations of anthropology, calling into question our central assumptions about what it means to be human—and thus distinct from all other life forms. Based on four years of fieldwork among the Runa of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon, Eduardo Kohn draws on his rich ethnography to explore how Amazonians interact with the many creatures that inhabit one of the world’s most complex ecosystems. Whether or not we recognize it, our anthropological tools hinge on those capacities that make us distinctly human.
However, when we turn our ethnographic attention to how we relate to other kinds of beings, these tools break down. How Forests Think seizes on this breakdown as an opportunity. Avoiding reductionistic solutions, and without losing sight of how our lives and those of others are caught up in the moral webs we humans spin, this book skillfully fashions new kinds of conceptual tools from the strange and unexpected properties of the living world itself. In this groundbreaking work, Kohn takes anthropology in a new and exciting direction–one that offers a more capacious way to think about the world we share with other kinds of beings.
by Richard Higgins
Trees were central to Henry David Thoreau’s creativity as a writer, his work as a naturalist, his thought, and his inner life. His portraits of them were so perfect, it was as if he could see the sap flowing beneath their bark. When Thoreau wrote that the poet loves the pine tree as his own shadow in the air, he was speaking about himself. In short, he spoke their language.
In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit. Included are one hundred excerpts from Thoreau’s writings about trees, paired with over sixty of the author’s photographs. Thoreau’s words are as vivid now as they were in 1890, when an English naturalist wrote that he was unusually able to “to preserve the flashing forest colors in unfading light.” Thoreau and the Language of Trees shows that Thoreau, with uncanny foresight, believed trees were essential to the preservation of the world.