Environmental, Topical Nonfiction Can Make a Difference

Politicians are often behind, out of step with, and going in a different direction from the people they represent.  In Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, Hawken suggests there is a global movement afoot fostering environmental health and social justice that is little known politically but powerful all the same.  Around the planet, “people are working on the most salient issues of our day:  climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights.”  One way to see the size of the movement, he suggests, is to look at the number of nonprofit organizations and institutions involved in the issues.  Over 100 pages of the book is an appendix categorizing the number of institutions by topic.  I grabbed a top handful that are topics Torrey House Press would be delighted to publish something about.  I list them in order of the astonishing number of organizations already involved in promoting their respective issues:

Topic # of Org’s
Environmental Education 11,789
Natural Resource Conservation 11,393
Community Participation 10,053
Sustainable Communities 8,999
Community Resources 7,804
Wildlife Habitat Conservation 6,149
Sustainable Living 5,627
Natural Heritage Conservation 5,164
Cultural Diversity 4,531
Recycle and Reuse 4,246
Rural Development 3,842
Natural Resource Education 3,457
Industrial Ecology 3,381
Sustainable Agriculture 3,349
Biodiversity Conservation 3,048
Conservation Area Protection 2,931
Sustainable Livelihoods 2,754
Watershed Management 2,638
Conservation and Recreation 2,632
Cultural Heritage Conservation 2,427
Environmental Law and Policy 2,394
Practical Conservation 2,221
Environmental Monitoring 2,159
Community Enterprise 2,127
Environmental Health 2,123
Environmental Justice 2,064
Land Stewardship 2,062
Sustainable Education 2,045
Riparian Ecology and Conservation 1,741
Sustainable Forestry 1,411
Ecotourism 1,239
Land Trusts and Land Conservation 1,194
Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning 1,110
Conservation Easements 902

Rachel Carson is often credited with waking up the environmental movement in the 1970’s with her book Silent Spring.  The  Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge manager Bob Barrett credits Terry Tempest William’s book Refuge with making the place what it is today.  President Clinton, saying “this little book made a difference,” held Testimony in his hands on the rim of the Grand Canyon as he declared the Escalante Staircase National Monument into being, a book created by Williams and Stephen Trimble.  Arches and Canyonlands National Parks owe a lot to Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.  Thoreau inspired Muir and Leopold, who wrote books many of us love, which in turn spurred the foundations of the The Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.  There are many such examples.  Books make a difference and there is much work for change that remains to be done.

A book of Paul Hawken’s I have also long enjoyed is his Growing a Business.  In it Hawken says that, “The purpose of business . . . is not to take risks but rather to get something done.”  It’s why we created Torrey House Press.  -Mark Bailey

About Torrey House Press

Torrey House Press is an independent nonprofit publisher promoting environmental conservation through literature.   We believe that culture is changed through conversation and that lively contemporary literature is the cutting edge of social change. By building and engaging community in the conversation of conservation, we make our contribution to, as Wallace Stegner hoped for, a “society to match the scenery." THP books are distributed by Consortium Books Sales and Distribution, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group.
This entry was posted in Book Review, Conservation, Ecology and Economy, Literature and the Environment, Nature Writing, Publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Environmental, Topical Nonfiction Can Make a Difference

  1. I enjoyed “Growing a Business” immensely way back when. Thanks for the peek into “Blessed Unrest.”

  2. Pingback: Green Shorts | Torrey House Press

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