Capsule Reviews: Green Media

New music, film, and reading for the envirophile

By Tobin Hack

Photo courtesy of Feist website

The Green Owl Comp:
A Benefit for Energy Action
Green Owl Records, CD/DVD, $10.98
This two-disc CD/DVD set from new eco indie label Green Owl Records includes previously unheard tracks from Feist, Bloc Party, and Pete Yorn. With 24 songs, six music videos, and an interview with Rolling Stone 2005 “Climate Hero” Billy Parish, the collection will have skinny jeans–clad treehuggers rocking out nationwide. Plus, 100 percent of the profits go to support the Energy Action Coalition.

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau
Edited by Bill McKibben
The Library of America, $40
If you think literary environmental writing died with Thoreau at Walden Pond, Bill McKibben is ready, willing, and able to prove you wrong. In this inspiring (and seriously hefty) anthology, he pulls together seminal writings from dozens of greats like Walt Whitman, Terry Tempest Williams, and John McPhee, with a foreword from Al Gore. Also expect a bit of formal policy (an excerpt from the Wilderness Act, for example), as well as historical pop culture surprises like lyrics to Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” A Norton Anthology for any serious student of the subject.

More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want
By Robert Engelman
Island Press, $24.95
Drawing on his vast experience in population study, policy research, and science and environment reporting, Worldwatch Institute’s Robert Engelman connects the dots between women’s rights, family planning, AIDS, infertility, overpopulation, and sustainability. The question of population and sustainability is controversial (and hardly new), but More offers an astute and compassionate look at the complex topic through the fresh lens of women’s rights and their role in population control.

Earth: The Sequel—The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming
By Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn
WW Norton, $24.95
As president of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp is uniquely positioned to deliver a manifesto on the state of our little blue world. Earth is his call for action, focused primarily on the inventors who will “stabilize our climate, generate enormous economic growth, and save the planet.” A tall order, but Krupp insists said
innovators are up to the job—so long as both politicians and entrepreneurs work to help them compete in the global marketplace. In the sea of global warming books, this one stands out for its hopeful and authoritative focus on new technologies.

Plagues & Pleasures
on the Salton Sea
Directed by Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer
Docurama, DVD, $26.95
This cinematic curiosity covers a series of environmental failures set on the Salton Sea—once a lively and hugely popular tourist destination outside San Diego, now an eerily empty disaster zone. Exploring the history of the sea’s degradation, filmmakers Metzler and Springer run into Hungarian revolutionaries, Christian nudists, pop stars, land sharks, hard drinkers, failed resort towns, dead fish (lots), and a man who built a mountain. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll scratch your head. And who better to narrate than John Waters?

The Stone Gods
By Jeanette Winterson
Harcourt, $24
What happens when your planet becomes unlivable? In this witty novel by Winterson—who in 2006 was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) medal for her contributions to literature—protagonist Billie Crusoe and a few other brave souls decide not to wait to find out. They begin an epic mission to lead the human race toward a more sustainable future, exploring an unspoiled but dangerously unknown blue planet. Call it science fiction if you like, but as one character in the book says, “This is the future, honey.” 

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Issue 25

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