Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

It’s ironic that I’m reading this book while suffering a sore throat and sinus distress that I suspect is the result of spending time in a friend’s pool yesterday. I could find no other explanation for the tingle in my throat that started about dinnertime and steadily became worse overnight. My mother made the connection to chlorine and a Google search turned up more information on it. It’s only a theory right now, that the chlorine in the pool is responsible for my misery right now, but it sounds pretty plausible. But I also got a delivery of homegrown tomatoes from a friend who had too many to know what to do with and I’m going to douse them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and oven roast them to save them for winter. I’m fairly sure my friend didn’t use any chemicals on them. At least I hope not. Continue reading

Topic: Men, Health, and the Environment

IMG_7690Thanks to Jennifer Lunden for this list:  essays by MEN that blend issues of health and the environment, a companion post to her earlier list of women. Please add your suggestions in the comments below!


  • Edward Hoagland, “In the Country of the Blind”
  • Ben Quick, “Agent Orange: A Chapter from History That Just Won’t End,” Orion.
  • Alan Weisman, “Polymers Are Forever, Orion.
  • Bill Sherwonit, “Tracking Toxics,” Orion.
  • Peter Hessler, “The Uranium Widows,” New Yorker, September 13, 2010.
  • Alan Weisman, Echo in My Blood
  • Carl Safina, The View from Lazy Point

Topic: Women, Health, and the Environment

IMG_7690Thanks to Jennifer Lunden for this list: essays by women that blend issues of health and environment. Add your suggestions in the comments below–if the piece is online, we’d love a link to it.


  • Susanne Antonetta, Body Toxic
  • Belle Boggs, “The Art of Waiting
  • Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
  • Camille T. Dungy, “Tales from a Black Girl on Fire, or Why I Hate to Walk Outside and See Things Burning,” from The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World, ed. Alison H. Deming and Lauret E. Savoy (Milkweed Editions, 2011), pp. 28-32.
  • Gretel Ehrlrich, A Match to the Heart
  • Gretel Ehrlrich, “The Solace of Open Spaces”
  • Kristen Iverson, Full Body Burden
  • Mary Heather Noble, “Experimental Road,” Fourth Genre, Fall 2014.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, “Against Nature”
  • Eva Saulitis, “Wild Darkness 
  • Sandra Steingraber, “The Sound of Migration”
  • Sandra Steingraber, “Environmental Amnesia,” Orion
  • Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Alice Walker, Am I Blue?
  • Nicole Walker, “Move Out,” Newfound, Vol. 6, Winter.
  • Terry Tempest Williams, “A Disturbance of Birds”
  • Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge

AWP2015: But Seriously … Is It Time for More Humor in Environmental Writing?

Panelists: Ana Maria Spagna (moderator), Melissa Hart, Jennifer Sahn, and David Gessner

Just today I received a funny email from the environmental magazine Orion. The subject seemed funny anyway: “The Parking Lot That Doubles as a Sponge.” It sounds like the setup for an old Saturday Night Live skit: “Shimmer! It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!” The point is, there’s humor everywhere. Why not in environmental writing, too? That was the gist of this panel that met in a corner of the bowels of the Minneapolis Convention Center at 5pm on Friday.

“What better time to talk about humor than after two full days of AWP, when everybody is completely punch drunk?” said moderator Ana Maria Spagna. Despite the unfortunate timeslot, more than 80 attendees sat rapt and ready to be humored by Spagna and panelists.

Continue reading

Topic: Maps and Mapping

IMG_7690Thanks to Julija Šukys for this list on maps and mapping! Add your suggestions in the comments below!