Friday, September 23, 2011

This Book Grabbed Lynn From The Minute She Opened It Up

It’s a fact: individuals have the power to change the world. And in an age of rampant environmental devastation, nothing is as vital as saving our planet and the health of its inhabitants. Eco Amazons brings together the women leading the charge to create a sustainable future. They are individuals at the forefront of the global preservation movement, making a noticeable difference in all of our lives. Through intimate interviews conducted by journalist Dorka Keehn and arresting images by award-winning photographer Colin Finlay, Eco Amazons chronicles and illuminates the critical environmental issues of our time and shows how concern leads to passion, and how passion leads to action that can be emulated by all.

While many of the leaders of the modern environmental movement have consistently been women, most of their names, struggles, and successes have yet to achieve national recognition. A generation ago, conservation held the spotlight; but because of these women, the beam is now shining equally on health and urban issues like clean air and safe drinking water. As the movement has expanded, women continue to spearhead change in new areas of environmental focus such as art, design, economics, and food production.

With a forward by Julia Butterfly Hill—the internationally known activist who lived in a redwood tree affectionately know as “Luna” for 738 days—this seminal book brings to light the stories and lives of 20 American women making a difference. These eco-warriors include Majora Carter, who founded the environmental justice organization Sustainable South Bronx, which includes one of the nation’s first urban-farm training programs; Agnes Denes, a pioneer of the ecological art movement; Julia Bonds, a coal miner’s daughter and the director of Coal River Mountain Watch in the Appalachian Mountains who is fighting the highly destructive mining practice known as “mountaintop removal”; and Alice Waters, the chef and owner of the award-wining restaurant Chez Panisse, who has championed farmer’s markets and organic products.

Eco Amazons Book Flip from powerHouse Books on Vimeo.
Lynn says:
"Eco-Amazons grabbed me the minute I opened it, as this collection of short bios (with unforgettable photos of its subjects and the environments/work they're involved in) focuses on 20 remarkable American women who have dedicated their lives to working for solutions to often grave ecological problems in our society.  The book includes names I've already heard of and admired, but most were new to me and I wanted to find out more.

Julia Butterfly Hill writes a pithy introduction, in which she assures us that this is certainly not a book solely for women, but that passionately appeals to the ecologist and environmental justice-supporter in our brothers as well.  Each voice here is distinct in terms of where and how their life trajectories converge with particular issues, yet there's a unifying theme of speaking truth to power, defending the health and integrity of land, air, water & creatures in a place they care deeply about, and encouraging and empowering human communities to shift out of a business-as-usual mindset when it is detrimental to the current or future generations.

The youngest contributor, Vivian Chang, advocates for low-income immigrants in California who were falling ill as a result of trying to eke out a living by farming atop Superfund sites, and the oldest, octogenarian Dr. Theo Colborn (who works in Paonia) researches and informs the public and policy-makers of endocrine disruptors in the pollutants from the natural gas 'fracking' process.  Annie Leonard ("The Story of Stuff") awakens the  public's conscience to the realities of not only our carbon, but also our enormous waste
footprint in her films and writing, Judy Bonds stands up to coal mountaintop removal mining operations in Appalachia to protect her community, and Hazel Johnson calls out corporate polluters and government officials to reduce the toxic waste of over 100 industrial plants and landfills threatening the health of ecosystems in the South Side of Chicago.  This is just a brief sampling of the people profiled by author Dorka Keehn in a book I find inspiring with its stories of incredible determination, creative focus and a fierce love for life that recognizes our place in the web of life, and remembers to include future generations in deciding how to live more sustainably upon this gorgeous planet."

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