Climate change activists have worked hard to push the climate crisis into the public forum and to make the growing severity of the situation known. The recent UN summit brought 120 world leaders to New York for a one-day meeting on the need to address the problems of climate change, and speeches from well-known public figures such as President Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put the summit in the media spotlight. The summit was called to build momentum for an issue that, due to its complexity, often gets pushed to the side as efforts to appease so many different countries fail.
Despite how crucially important the United Nations talks on the climate crisis may be, many offer only blank stares and disinterest when approached with the subject because they cannot or will not keep up with the political discussions and conferences. Fortunately, the September 23rd climate march brought the issue into the public sphere in a way that the talks cannot – in a visual and impossible to ignore kind of way, chanting and moving throughout New York City thousands strong. The event accomplished several important goals. Not only did it put pressure on the financial industry and the companies benefitting from the sale of fossil fuels, but it also called attention to the failure of world governments to take the lead on enacting policies that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. While the momentum the talks and march together garnered is truly heartening, it is also important to remember Graça Machel’s closing remarks to the summit, “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today.”
However, the march also brought attention back to the work being done at the summit in a positive way by calling attention to the many politicians, activists, and policy-makers whose hard work and dedication to climate change remains unwavering.
Books for Climate Change
How They Are Making a Difference
Climate change has made the headlines in past weeks with the recent New York City march and UN summit on the ever growing issue. However, the protesters and the politicians aren’t the only ones calling attention to and supporting climate change and its advocates; authors, publishers, and photographers have also stepped up to document the crisis and call readers to action through our favorite medium: the book.
Award-winning photographer Henry Dallal, who won a 2013 Outstanding IPPY Medal for his book Desert Pageantry: The Royal Cavalry of Oman and a 2009 Bronze Medal for Horses Warriors: India’s 61st Cavalry, took on a new subject with his timely book, Addressing Climate Change: An Illustrated Biography of the Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference.
One of the many incredible photographs from Dallal's book, captioned,
"The next generation will inherit the reality of climate change."
The book is a moving testament to the immense effort required in putting on a successful UNFCCC conference, and allows readers to see the inner workings of the negotiations. In keeping with the sustainable focus of his book, Dallal has announced that 100% of the proceeds of Addressing Climate Change will go toward non-profit initiatives that address climate change.
Dallal, who has extensively photographed the State of Qatar, was invited to lead a team of photographers at the 18th annual Conference of the Parties in Doha to document the entire conference, from the preparation through the conclusion. His photographs are an excellent medium with which to convey the incredible complexity behind the international climate change negotiations. He captures the entire emotionally exhausting process of coordinating and facilitating a consensus that respects the diverse needs and wishes of around 200 participating countries, while keeping the ultimate sense of urgency and concern for our planet alive. Most importantly, the book functions as a window through which the public can come to understand the UN climate change conferences on a deeper level and so understand the significant role they too can play by engaging in the climate discussions, whether their activism is on a grassroots or corporate level. Inset at right, attendees of the September 23rd launch for Addressing Climate Change wait to ascend Hearst Tower in NYC for the event.
Our recent Living Now Award winners also exemplify the powerful role books have in shaping public perception and response to an issue. So many presses are tackling the urgent issues that our earth is facing in new and noteworthy ways that draw attention to the problems and often present a solution, and each year’s Living Now results listing spotlights the best and brightest of these publishing activists. As Jim Barnes, Awards Director, says, “Authors and publishers all over the planet are helping readers sense the need to slow down, see and feel the natural world around them, and to find balance in their lives. The Living Now Book Awards are intended to recognize and promote newly-published lifestyle books that help us keep ourselves, our families, and the Earth healthy – today, and for future generations.”
One such award-winning book is Global Emergency Actions: For a Small Urban Industrial Planet, by Alan Wittbecker (Urania Science Press). Wittbecker reinforces the urgent tone of the climate march when he says,
“We have been fooled by the fact that we cannot see an enemy. We have been misled by the slowness and subtlety of the penetration of our defenses. We have been betrayed by our own desire to continue our industrial dreaming at any cost. Some people have noticed changes and have been crying alarms, but they have not been loud enough or persuasive enough. Everybody needs to be awakened; everybody needs to participate, everybody needs to sacrifice and work towards peaceful solutions.”
Another award-winner asks us to look back to Mother Nature herself for the answers to the difficult problems we humans have created for ourselves. Elaine Wilkes in Nature’s Secret Messages: Hidden in Plain Sight (Hay House) states,
“In today’s ‘modern’ society, we too often forget to look to Nature – with her four billion years of knowledge and experience – as our mentor and nurturer. Yet when we do remember, we find that she holds the answers, offering us an abundance of cures for our ailments; nourishment for our bodies; and prescriptions for achieving physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s time for us to reconnect this relationship and discover Nature’s secret messages so that we can use this ancient, intuitive wisdom to heal the planet and ourselves.”
Check out the award-winning books below that spotlight environmental and climate issues, as well as ways we can all make the earth more sustainable.
Douwlina: A Rhino’s Story, by Grace Borgeson (Bright Sky Press)
When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story, by Linda Crotta Brennan; illustrated by Lisa Greenleaf (Apprentice Shop Books)
The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time, by Mark Nelson (Synergetic Press)
The New American Front Yard: Kiss Your Grass Goodbye, by Sarah Carolyn Sutton (Tendril Press)
Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, Edited by Tom Butler and George Wuerthner (Watershed Media)