Science & Technology news: An Earth Day reading list

Apr 12, 2017 · Michael Bobb

A small reading selection that is appropriate for Earth Day enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Selections cover earth day specifically as well as: nature writings, conservation, extinction theories, ecology, etc. and are in the form of books, e-books, and peer-reviewed journal articles.


Christofferson, B. (2004). Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, WI.


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Dillard, A. (1974). Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Parks Library Tier 2, AH81 D56 1998 (and 1974).

Dillard, A. (1982). Teaching a stone to talk: expedition and encounters. Harper and Row: New York

Parks Library Tier 3, QH81 D563

Ehrlich, G. (1985). The solace of open spaces. Viking: New York.

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Grant, R.L. (2007). A case study in Thomistic environmental ethics: the ecological crisis in the Loess Hills of Iowa. Edwin Mellen Press: Lewiston.

Parks Library Floor 2, GE42 G73 2007

Hayes, D. (2000). The official earth day guide to planet repair. Island Press: Washington D.C.

Parks Library Floor 2, GE180 H395 2000

Hersey, M.D. (2011). My work is that of conservation: an environmental biography of George Washington Carver. University of Georgia Press: Athens, Georgia.

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Kolbert, E. (2014). The sixth extinction: an unnatural history. Henry Holt and Company: New York.

??????????? Parks Library Floor 2, QE721.2 E97 K65 2014

Leopold, A. (1989). A Sand County Almanac, and sketches here and there. Oxford University Press: New York.

??????????? Parks Library Tier 3, QH81 L56 1989

Marley, C. (2015). Biophilia. Abrams: New York.

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Muir, J. (1997). Nature Writings. Penguin Books: New York.

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Muir, J. (2011). My first summer in the Sierra. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Boston.

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O?Connor, M.R. (2015). Resurrection science: conservation, de-extinction and the precarious future of wild things. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.

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Rogers, K. (2015). The quiet extinction: stories of North America?s rare and threatened plants. The University of Arizona Press: Tucson, Arizona.

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??????????? Parks Library Floor 2, QK86 N66 R64 2015

Rome, A. (2013). The genius of Earth Day: how a 1970 teach-in unexpectedly made the first green general. Hill and Wang: New York.

Parks Library Floor 2, GE195 R65 2013

Shapiro, B.A. (2015). How to clone a mammoth: the science of de-extinction. Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey.

??????????? Parks Library Floor 2, QL88 S49 2015

Wilson, E.O. (1994). Naturalist. Island Press: Washington D.C.

Parks Library Tier 3, QH31 W64 A3 1994

Wilson, E.O. (2002). The future of life. Alfred Knopf: New York

Parks Library Tier 3, QH75 W535 2002

Worster, D. (2008). A passion for nature: the life of John Muir. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

??????????? Parks Library Tier 3, AH31 M9 W68 2008

A few Journal Articles with abstracts

Dunaway, F. (2008). Gas masks, Pogo, and the ecological Indian: Earth Day and the visual politics of American environmentalism. American Quarterly, 60(1):67-97. Available at:

This essay offers a new way of understanding a pivotal moment in the history of U.S. environmentalism: the time surrounding the first celebration of Earth Day in 1970. By exploring a wide array of visual images produced during this period and paying particular attention to pictures of people wearing gas masks, the comic strip character Pogo, and the figure of the Ecological Indian, the article examines the complex relationship between the mass media and multiple forms of environmentalism. These images personalized the sense of risk and responsibility by presenting all Americans as equally vulnerable to pollution and equally to blame for environmental degradation. When placed in dialogue with both mainstream and subaltern environmental movements as well as with public policy, the images reveal a paradox embedded in the environmental politics of the era: the state expanded its environmental regulatory agenda, even as the visual media repeatedly emphasized individual responsibility for the environmental crisis. This essay explains how these seemingly opposing trends actually reinforced one another and how they bequeathed a problematic legacy to U.S. environmentalism. Ultimately, the media, mainstream environmental groups, and public policy all failed to consider the links between social inequality and the disproportionate experience of risk among racialized minorities. Across these different fields, subaltern perspectives were submerged, drowned out by the repeated insistence upon universal danger and culpability. Earth Day, often described as a moment of origins for modern environmentalism, thus helped frame and validate a particular conception of the movement as a cause that promised to unite the nation but that lacked a social edge.

Leas, E.C., Althouse, B.M., Dredze, M., Obradovich, N., Fowler, J.H., Noar, S.M., Allem, J.P., Ayers, J.W. (2016). Big data sensors of organic advocacy: the case of Leonardo DiCaprio and climate change. PLoS One, 11(8). Available at:

The strategies that experts have used to share information about social causes have historically been top-down, meaning the most influential messages are believed to come from planned events and campaigns. However, more people are independently engaging with social causes today than ever before, in part because online platforms allow them to instantaneously seek, create, and share information. In some cases this ?organic advocacy? may rival or even eclipse top-down strategies. Big data analytics make it possible to rapidly detect public engagement with social causes by analyzing the same platforms from which organic advocacy spreads. To demonstrate this claim we evaluated how Leonardo DiCaprio?s 2016 Oscar acceptance speech citing climate change motivated global English language news (Bloomberg Terminal news archives), social media (Twitter postings) and information seeking (Google searches) about climate change. Despite an insignificant increase in traditional news coverage (54%; 95%CI: -144 to 247), tweets including the terms ?climate change? or ?global warming? reached record highs, increasing 636% (95%CI: 573?699) with more than 250,000 tweets the day DiCaprio spoke. In practical terms the ?DiCaprio effect? surpassed the daily average effect of the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Earth Day effect by a factor of 3.2 and 5.3, respectively. At the same time, Google searches for ?climate change? or ?global warming? increased 261% (95%CI, 186?335) and 210% (95%CI 149?272) the day DiCaprio spoke and remained higher for 4 more days, representing 104,190 and 216,490 searches. This increase was 3.8 and 4.3 times larger than the increases observed during COP?s daily average or on Earth Day. Searches were closely linked to content from Dicaprio?s speech (e.g., ?hottest year?), as unmentioned content did not have search increases (e.g., ?electric car?). Because these data are freely available in real time our analytical strategy provides substantial lead time for experts to detect and participate in organic advocacy while an issue is salient. Our study demonstrates new opportunities to detect and aid agents of change and advances our understanding of communication in the 21st century media landscape.

Lowenthal, D. (2013). Eden, Earth Day, and ecology: landscape restoration as metaphor and mission. Landscape Research, 38(1):5-31.

This paper sketches the religious roots of landscape restoration, showing how it morphed from a theological to an environmental agenda, while retaining the fervour of a sacred mission. In the aftermath of Lynn White, Jr.'s 'Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis' (1967) and the Earth Day reform mission (1970), convergent redemptive philosophies realigned ecotheology and landscape restoration along Franciscan lines, shedding commandments to subdue and conquer for injunctions to live in harmony with nature. Previously condemned as the antithesis of Eden, wilderness was transformed from dreaded chaos into a redemptive realm that led ecological restorers to idealise and worship supposedly virgin scenes. Instead of getting civilised, wild landscapes were treasured as locales of spiritual and bodily renewal. Favoured locales defiled by human occupance and imprint were restored to simulated wildness. Perceived analogies with archaeology, art, architecture and medicine further shape the aims and conventions of landscape restoration, widening enduring and unavoidable gulfs between restoration intention and performance, precept and practice.

Sanders, J.C. (2011). Animal trouble and urban anxiety: human-animal interaction in post-earth day Seattle. Environmental History, 16(2):226-261.

Emphasizing debates about urban animals and habitat?particularly zoo animals, dogs, and geese?this essay argues that ideas about nature and popular ecology after Earth Day emerged in a dynamic with the changing social and material conditions of cities. Using Seattle during the 1970s as a case study, this essay explains how activists, politicians, and planners understood animals as part of a process of reimagining the purpose and shape of urban landscapes during a period of profound social change in Seattle. Natural order, or at least an order that matched the hopes of different stakeholders, was at best complicated and fleeting, and at worst it suggested a coded language for describing enduring race and class anxieties.

Yandle, B. (2013). How earth day triggered environmental rent seeking. Independent Review, 18(1):35-47. Available at:

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