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Interviews with Environmental Scientists about their New Books
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New Books in Environmental Studie‪s‬ New Books Network

    • Naturwissenschaften

Interviews with Environmental Scientists about their New Books
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    James Skillen, "This Land is My Land: Rebellion in the West" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    James Skillen, "This Land is My Land: Rebellion in the West" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    On January 6th, 2021, when right wing supporters of Donald Trump staged an insurrection at the US Capitol building, they were participating in a long tradition of conservative rebellion with its roots in the West. Dr. James Skillen, associate professor of environmental studies at Calvin University, traces those roots in his new book, This Land is My Land: Rebellion in the West (Oxford University Press, 2020). 
    By the late 20th century, the Bureau of Land Management owned and managed huge swaths of some western states. Skillen argues that change in the regulatory environment, with a new emphasis on ecosystem and wildlife management beginning in the 1970s, combined with a groundswell of conservative support to foment armed rebellion against perceived government overreach among ranchers, small-time miners, and other western resource users. 
    When Ammon Bundy and his family staged a takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon in 2014, it was just the latest episode in a series of rebellions across the West, some involving the Bundys themselves, in which federal officials exchanged gunfire with armed Western rebels. In many ways, argues Skillen, Trump’s election in 2016, built on votes in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania, was the culmination of a story that begins in the American West.
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    • 1 Std. 6 Min.
    Decolonising Conservation Practices and Research: Seeing the Orangutan in Borneo with Dr June Rubis

    Decolonising Conservation Practices and Research: Seeing the Orangutan in Borneo with Dr June Rubis

    Around the world, orangutans are widely recognised as an iconic species for environmental and wildlife conservation efforts. The rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is one of last remaining habitats of the nearly extinct Bornean orangutan. While conservation efforts have made the region a top priority for protecting orangutans, these efforts often sideline the indigenous peoples who live along the great apes.
    Dr June Rubis speaks with Dr Natali Pearson about her lifelong work in orangutan conservation, and reflects on mainstream conservation narratives, politics, and power relations around orangutan conservation in Sarawak and elsewhere in Borneo. In describing the more-than-human relations that link the indigenous Iban people and endangered orangutans, Dr Rubis encourages us to rethink our relationship to the environment, and to learn from indigenous knowledge to decolonise conservation and land management practices.
    June Rubis is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Indigenous Environmental Studies of the Sydney Environmental Institute at the University of Sydney. She researches Indigenous conservation and land management practices from a decolonial perspective, with a particular focus on Malaysian Borneo. Her recent project has focused on the human-environment and human-animal relationships within the multi-scalar forces of conservation in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. She is a former conservation biologist, with twelve years of conservation fieldwork and Indigenous rights issues in Borneo (both Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo), and was born and raised in Sarawak. She is currently the co-chair of "Documenting Territories of Life" programme with the ICCA (Indigenous Communities Conserved Areas) consortium.
    You can follow June on Twitter @JuneRubis.
    For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.
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    • 25 Min.
    Anthony Warner, "Ending Hunger: The Quest to Feed the World without Destroying It" (Simon and Schuster, 2021)

    Anthony Warner, "Ending Hunger: The Quest to Feed the World without Destroying It" (Simon and Schuster, 2021)

    Nutritionists tell you to eat more fish. Environmentalists tell you to eat less fish. Apparently they are both right. It's the same thing with almonds, or quinoa, or a hundred other foods. But is it really incumbent on us as individuals to resolve this looming global catastrophe? From plastic packaging to soil depletion to flatulent cows, we are bombarded with information about the perils of our food system. 
    Drawing on years of experience within the food industry, Anthony Warner invites us to reconsider what we think we know. In Ending Hunger: The quest to feed the world without destroying it (Simon and Schuster, 2021), he uncovers the parallels between eating locally and 1930s fascism, promotes the potential for good in genetic modification and dispels the assumption that population growth is at the heart of our planetary woes.
    Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A People's History of Poverty (New Press, 2008), Ghettos, Tramps & Welfare Queens (Oxford, 2017), and Politics for Social Workers (Columbia, forthcoming 2021).
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    • 39 Min.
    Wade Davis, "Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia" (Knopf, 2020)

    Wade Davis, "Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia" (Knopf, 2020)

    Travelers often become enchanted with the first country that captures their hearts and gives them license to be free. For Wade Davis, it was Colombia. In his new book Magdalena, River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia (Knopf, 2020), the bestselling author tells of his travels on the mighty Magdalena, the river that made possible the nation. Along the way, he finds a people who have overcome years of conflict precisely because of their character, informed by an enduring spirit of place, and a deep love of a land that is home to the greatest ecological and geographical diversity on the planet. Only in Colombia can a traveler wash ashore in a coastal desert, follow waterways through wetlands as wide as the sky, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests, and reach verdant Andean valleys rising to soaring ice-clad summits. This rugged and impossible geography finds its perfect coefficient in the topography of the Colombian spirit: restive, potent, at times placid and calm, in moments explosive and wild.
    Both a corridor of commerce and a fountain of culture, the wellspring of Colombian music, literature, poetry and prayer, the Magdalena has served in dark times as the graveyard of the nation. And yet, always, it returns as a river of life. At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring tale of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of a nation on the verge of a new period of peace. Braiding together memoir, history, and journalism, Wade Davis tells the story of the country's most magnificent river, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.
    Akash Ondaatje is a historical researcher focusing on the interconnected lives of humans and animals. He studied at McGill University (B.A. History) and Queen’s University (M.A. History), where he researched human-animal relations and transatlantic exchanges in eighteenth-century British culture through his thesis, Animal Ascension: Elevation and Debasement Through Human-Animal Associations in English Satire, 1700-1820. Contact: 17amo2@queensu.ca
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    • 57 Min.
    Ray Ison and Ed Straw, "The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency" (Routledge, 2020)

    Ray Ison and Ed Straw, "The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency" (Routledge, 2020)

    The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in Climate Emergency (Routledge, 2020) is a persuasive, lively book that shows how systems thinking can be harnessed to effect profound, complex change. 
    In the age of the Anthropocene the need for new ways of thinking and acting has become urgent. But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action – be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems.
    Ray Ison and Ed Straw show how and why failure in governance is at the heart of our collective incapacity to tackle climate and biodiversity emergencies. They suggest the need for a ‘systemic sensibility’ as a first step in breaking these models, and encourage a reimagining of governance – with the biosphere situated at the center. 
    They go beyond analysis of problems, providing actionable guidance for incorporating systems thinking in practice (STiP) into every level of governance, and provide the reader with 21 actionable takeaway principles for systemic governance. 
    The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking will be inspiring reading for students of systems thinking that want to understand the application of their methods, specialists in change management or public administration, activists for 'whole system change' as well as decision-makers wanting to effect challenging transformations. This book is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world.
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    • 1 Std. 8 Min.
    Emmanuel Kreike, "Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime Against Humanity and Nature" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    Emmanuel Kreike, "Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime Against Humanity and Nature" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    In Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime Against Humanity and Nature (Princeton UP, 2021), Emmanuel Kreike offers a global history of environmental warfare and makes the case for why it should be a crime. The environmental infrastructure that sustains human societies has been a target and instrument of war for centuries, resulting in famine and disease, displaced populations, and the devastation of people’s livelihoods and ways of life. Scorched Earth traces the history of scorched earth, military inundations, and armies living off the land from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, arguing that the resulting deliberate destruction of the environment—"environcide"—constitutes total war and is a crime against humanity and nature. 
    In this sweeping global history, Emmanuel Kreike shows how religious war in Europe transformed Holland into a desolate swamp where hunger and the black death ruled. He describes how Spanish conquistadores exploited the irrigation works and expansive agricultural terraces of the Aztecs and Incas, triggering a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. Kreike demonstrates how environmental warfare has continued unabated into the modern era. His panoramic narrative takes readers from the Thirty Years' War to the wars of France's Sun King, and from the Dutch colonial wars in North America and Indonesia to the early twentieth-century colonial conquest of southwestern Africa. Shedding light on the premodern origins and the lasting consequences of total war, Scorched Earth explains why ecocide and genocide are not separate phenomena, and why international law must recognize environmental warfare as a violation of human rights.
    Dr. Emmanuel Kreike is a professor of history at Princeton University. He holds a Ph.D. in African history from Yale University (1996) and a Dr. of Science (PhD) in Tropical Forestry from the School of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University (2006), the Netherlands. His research and teaching interests focus on the intersection of war/violence, population displacement, environment, and society.
    Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.
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    • 1 Std. 22 Min.

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