Earth Day 2015!

Today is officially Earth Day! Whether you ride your bicycle to work today or plant a tree in your backyard, take time out of the day to give back to this beautiful place we call home. However, Earth Day is not one day out of the year where we turn the water off while brushing our teeth or turn the thermostat off to conserve energy. Its purpose is to make us, as citizens of this Earth, more aware of the planet that we live on and more engaged in the environmental movement. There is only one Earth, so we must take care of it.

In honor of Earth Day and all that it stands for, here is a list of published UPK books that are sure to excite those interested in environmental action, but beware these books may end up giving you a green thumb!

Motivated by agricultural devastation in her home country of India, Vandana Shiva became one of the world’s most influential and highly acclaimed environmental and antiglobalization activists. Her groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the links between ecology, gender, and poverty.

In The Vandana Shiva Reader, Shiva assembles her most influential writings, combining trenchant critiques of the corporate monopolization of agriculture with a powerful defense of biodiversity and food democracy. Containing up-to-date data and a foreword by Wendell Berry, this essential collection demonstrates the full range of Shiva’s research and activism, from her condemnation of commercial seed technology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the international agriculture industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, to her tireless documentation of the extensive human costs of ecological deterioration.

This important volume illuminates Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world and calls on citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people.

The core dilemma in environmental advocacy may be illustrated by the question, “When we communicate about the world, should we stress what we know or what we feel?” The contributors to The Symbolic Earth argue that it is more important to decide how we should talk about what we know and feel. In their view, the environment is larely a product of how we talk about the world.

Because the environment is a social construction, the only hope we have of preserving it is to understand and alter the fundamental ways we discuss it. This collection first examines the ways in which discourse creates environment perceptions. Subjects discussed range from the description of natural scenery to the advocacy of political interest groups, from the everyday interactions of citizens facing environmental crises to the greenwashing of corporate imagemakers, and from the psychology of the mass public to the social constructions of the mass media. The authors include nationally known scholars of environmental history, rhetorical theory, ethnography, communication and journalism studies, public policy, and media criticism.

Frederick Law Olmsted, popularly known as the “Father of American Landscape Architecture,” is famous for designing New York City’s Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and the campuses of institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Chicago. His celebrated projects in Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities led to a commission from the city of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1891. There, he partnered with community leaders to design a network of scenic parks, tree-lined parkways, elegant neighborhoods, and beautifully landscaped estate gardens that thousands of visitors still enjoy today.

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville is the first authoritative manual on the 380 species of trees, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and vines populating the nearly 1,900 acres that comprise Cherokee, Seneca, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Chickasaw Parks. Designed for easy reference, this handy field guide includes detailed photos and maps as well as ecological and historical information about each park. Author Patricia Dalton Haragan also includes sections detailing the many species of invasive plants in the parks and discusses the native flora that they displaced.

This guide provides readers with a key to Olmsted’s vision, revealing how various plant species were arranged to emphasize the beauty and grandeur of nature. It will serve as an essential resource for students, nature enthusiasts, and the more than ten thousand visitors who use the parks.

Now that you’ve finished reading, go out and plant a tree. I know you want to!

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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