Sunday, June 21, 2020

Great Lakes at Historic Levels

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The Chicago Tribune published an interesting article today by Patrick M. O'Connell about record high levels in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes. It is worth a read here. As the piece points out, the shoreline in Chicago is seeing some significant inundation that is impacting access and threatening boater safety. The high levels are the result of global climate change associated with increased runoff associated with increased precipitation and warmer winters.

O'Connell notes that the Great Lakes have seen significant fluctuations in recent years and experienced record low levels just five years ago. The wild fluctuations are not normal and reflect the predictions of extreme conditions that many climate scientists have predicted as highlighted in recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Zora Neale Hurston Quiz Revisited

On this Juneteenth celebration, I wanted to revisit my Zora Neale Neale Hurston Quiz that I published back in April of 2015. I have long celebrated her writing as some of the most important 20th century environmental literature written in the English language. She has a distinct way of bringing elements of nature into her fiction and non-fiction that was relatively uncommon during her time.

The find the answers to the quiz, you can visit the original post here.

the original post follows.

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Zora Neale Hurston is one of what I call the Trifecta of early to mid- 20th century Florida women writers who had an impact on how we think about the environment. I've written about this trifecta here.

Hurston is perhaps one of the most interesting writers of the 20th century to call Florida home. She had a huge influence on 20th century writing and certainly on how we think about the environment in Florida.


1. Hurston is most famous for this book that depicts life in the Everglades for African American farmers. Name the book.

2. Weather is one of the most symbolic elements in the book referenced above. In what way does weather have a deus ex machina moment in the book?

3. Hurston wrote the above referenced book while living in this country. Name the country.

4. The book depicted a distinct human and environmental realism that was unique at the time. It was also very different from the tradition of this group (with a familiar New York name) with which Hurston is often associated. Name the group.

5. While a noted novelist and short story writer, Hurston earned a degree in this field from Barnard College. Name the field.

6.  In 1935, Hurston published this book that focuses on folklore from Florida. In it she reveals dozens of stories that have been passed down through generations--many of which bring in environmental or sustainability themes. Name the book.

7.  Hurston often used black dialect that was common in the south at the time. This was criticized by many for what reason?

8.  One of the things that I find refreshing about Hurston's work is that it shows people in relationship to their environment in very realistic ways. She also uses an abundance of environmental references. For example, Hurston speaks about her experiences as a black women in an interesting essay in which she uses environmental metaphors such as "For instance at Barnard. "Beside the waters of the Hudson" I feel my race. Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept, but through it all, I remain myself. When covered by the waters, I am; and the ebb but reveals me again." Name the essay.

9. Although largely associated with Florida and New York, Hurston was actually born in this state and lived there until she moved to Florida when she was three years old. Name the state.

10. From the 1950's and until her death in 1960, Hurston lived in relative obscurity. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida. However a famous author revived interest in Hurston in 1974 when she wrote an essay for Ms. magazine titled "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston". She also dedicated a grave marker to her near her burial site. Name the author.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Seeking Chapter Authors for the Global Handbook of Sustainability

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I am in the midst of a new project that seeks to bring together great minds in helping to better define and describe the growing field of sustainability. The book, called The Palgrave Global Handbook of Sustainability, is a different type of publication. The volume will have dozens of articles on a range of topics within the interdisciplinary framework of sustainability. If you are in the sustainability field, I want you to be part of it.


The articles will not be peer-reviewed, but instead will be published online after I complete a review and after they go through a copy editing process with Palgrave Macmillan. I suspect that once I get a draft of a chapter, I can turn it around within a week or two. The volume will exist online and edits can be made to your article(s) up until the completion of the entire volume (which I suspect will take a year or two). Once it is done, the entire volume will be printed. You can check out my introductory chapter to the book here. The volume should prove to be one of the largest and most important sources of sustainability information every published.

If you are interested in being part of the project, take a look at the list below of main chapters. The ones that are highlighted have been taken. The others are up for grabs. You can also suggest a new chapter topic. I will update this list in future posts as the project progresses. Drop me an email at rbrinkmann@niu.edu if you are interested in joining a great group of authors in the production of this important volume.


Part 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Organization of the Knowledge of Sustainability
Part 2. Environmental Sustainability
            Chapter 3. Defining Environmental Sustainability and Major Earth Cycles (could be 2 chapters)
Part 2a. Energy 
            Chapter 4. Global Energy Use
            Chapter 5. Oil and Natural Gas and Sustainability
            Chapter 6. Coal and Sustainability
            Chapter 7. Nuclear Power and Sustainability
            Chapter 8. Solar Energy
            Chapter 9. Wind Energy
            Chapter 10. Hydroelectric Power
            Chapter 11. Geothermal Energy
            Chapter 12. Other Green Energy Sources:  Wave, Tide, Current, etc.
            Chapter 13. Energy Conservation
Part 2b. Climate Change
            Chapter 14. The Science of Climate Change
            Chapter 15. The Evidence for Climate Change on our Planet
            Chapter 16. Greenhouse Gases and their Distribution and Production
            Chapter 17. Climate Change Challenges in Coastal Environments
            Chapter 18. Climate Change Challenges in the Arctic
            Chapter 19. Climate Change Challenges on the Continents
            Chapter 20. Greenhouse Gas Management
Part 2c. Water
            Chapter 21. Global Water Use
            Chapter 22. Water Resources:  Aquifers, Reservoirs, Lakes, and Rivers
            Chapter 23. Desalination
            Chapter 24. Water Management
            Chapter 25. Innovations in Water Management: Agriculture
            Chapter 26. Innovations in Water Management: Industrial and Energy Applications
            Chapter 27. Innovations in Water Management:  Urban and Suburban Uses
Part 2d. Natural Resource Management
            Chapter 28. The State of the World’s Natural Resources
            Chapter 29. Forests
            Chapter 30. Wetlands
            Chapter 31. Oceans
            Chapter 32. Prairies, Mountains, and Other Ecosystems
            Chapter 33. Endangered Species and Extinction
            Chapter 34. Parks and Public Lands
            Chapter 35. Ecosystems Services
            Chapter 36. Urban and Suburban Ecosystems
Chapter 37.  Mining and Minerals 
            Chapter 38. Agriculture and Sustainability
            Chapter 39. Organic Food
            Chapter 40. Local Food, Slow Food, and the Small Farm Movement
            Chapter 41. Fish and Fisheries
            Chapter 42. Fish and Shellfish Farming
Part 2e. Waste and Pollution
            Chapter 43. Defining Waste and Pollution
            Chapter 44. Sewage and Sewage Treatment
            Chapter 45. Municipal Waste (Garbage) and Its Management
            Chapter 46. Industrial Waste and Its Management
            Chapter 47. Medical Waste and Its Management
            Chapter 48. Human Remains and the Sustainability of Death
            Chapter 49. Plastics
            Chapter 50. Radioactive Waste
            Chapter 51. Air Pollution
            Chapter 52. Water Pollution
            Chapter 53. Heavy Metal Pollution
            Chapter 54. Nutrient Pollution
Part 3. Sustainability and Equity
            Chapter 55. Defining the Social Equity Issues in Sustainability
Part 3a. Sustainability in the Developing World
            Chapter 56. The State of Sustainability in the Developing World
            Chapter 57. Human Rights
            Chapter 58. The Global South and Sustainability: Issues and Constraints
            Chapter 59. Small Island Developing States and Sustainability
            Chapter 60. Sustainability in Africa
            Chapter 61. Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean
            Chapter 62. Sustainability in Asia
            Chapter 63. Health and Sustainability in the Developing World
Part 3b. Environmental Justice and Racism
            Chapter 64. Background on Environmental Justice and Racism
            Chapter 65. Social Equity
            Chapter 66. Indigenous Peoples and Sustainability
            Chapter 67. Gender and Sustainability
            Chapter 68. Environmental Racism in North America
            Chapter 69. Environmental Justice in Europe
            Chapter 70. Environmental Justice in Asia
            Chapter 71. Environmental Justice in Latin America and the Caribbean
            Chapter 72. Stakeholder Engagement Forthcoming by Dr. Christian Wells, University of South Florida
Part 3c. Education and Sustainability
            Chapter 73. Environmental Education
            Chapter 74. Children and Sustainability
            Chapter 75. Informal Education and Sustainability
            Chapter 76. K-8 Sustainability Education Forthcoming by Dr. Randa El Bedawy, The American University in Cairo
            Chapter 77. High School and Sustainability
            Chapter 78. Sustainability at Universities and Colleges
Part 3d. International Benchmarking and National Sustainability Planning
            Chapter 79. The Sustainable Development Goals
            Chapter 80. International Organization for Standards ISO 26000
            Chapter 81. Human Development Index
            Chapter 82. National Plan 1
            Chapter 83. National Plan 2
            Chapter 84. National Plan 3
Part 3e. Urban and Regional Planning and Sustainability
            Chapter 85. Background on Urban and Regional Planning, Forthcoming by Dr. Constance Carr, Université du Luxembourg
            Chapter 86. Urban Approaches to Sustainability: Transportation
            Chapter 87. Urban Approaches to Sustainability:  Food
            Chapter 88.  Urban Approaches to Sustainability:  Zoning
            Chapter 89. Urban Approaches to Sustainability: Equity, Forthcoming by Dr. Jenni Cauvain, Nottingham Trent University
            Chapter 90. Resiliency
            Chapter 91:  Green Building
            Chapter 92:  Green Infrastructure
            Chapter 93:  Regional Planning
            Chapter 94:  Tiny House Movement, Co-Housing, and Land Trusts, Forthcoming by Dr. Elizabeth Strom, University of South Florida
            Chapter 95. Individual Carbon and Environmental Footprints
            Chapter 96. Minimalism
            Chapter 97. Intentional Communities
Part 4. Economics and Sustainability
            Chapter 98. Introduction to Economics and Sustainability
Part 4a. Business and Sustainability
            Chapter 99. Sustainable Business Management
            Chapter 100. The Circular Economy
            Chapter 101. Supply Chain Management and Procurement
            Chapter 102. Benchmarking for Businesses
            Chapter 103. Green Fashion
            Chapter 104. Green Investing and Financial Services
            Chapter 105. Green Information and Communications
            Chapter 106. Just in Time Production and Efficiency
            Chapter 107. Green Logistics and Transportation
            Chapter 108. Greenwashing
            Chapter 108. Business Ethics
Part 4b. Economic Development and Sustainability
            Chapter 109. Background on Economic Development
            Chapter 110. Economic Development to Protect Natural Assets
            Chapter 111. Economic Development and Equity
            Chapter 112. Green Entrepreneurship
            Chapter 113. Green Technology Transfer
            Chapter 114. Green Economic Incentives
            Chapter 115. Microcredit
Part 4c. Regulations
            Chapter 116. Introduction to Environmental Regulations
            Chapter 117. Environmental Law
            Chapter 118. The EPA and Its Regulations
            Chapter 119. Environmental Regulations in the European Union
            Chapter 120. Environmental Regulation in Asia
            Chapter 121. Environmental Regulation in the Global South
            Chapter 122. Protecting Water and Wetlands
            Chapter 123. Protecting Plants and Animals
            Chapter 124. Protecting Air
            Chapter 125. Protecting People
Part 4c. Travel, Tourism, and Recreation and Sustainability
            Chapter 126. Ecotourism
            Chapter 127. Green Conventions and Events
            Chapter 128. Green Restaurants
            Chapter 129. Green Hotels
            Chapter 130. Cruise Ships and Sustainability
            Chapter 131. Green Athletics and Sporting Events
            Chapter 132. Green Media
Part 4d. Consumerism
            Chapter 133. Global Consumption Patterns
            Chapter 134. Advertising for Consumption
            Chapter 135. Impacts of Consumption
            Chapter 136. Hoarding
            Chapter 137. Economic Disparities
Chapter 138.  Critical Discourses on Sustainability
Part 4e. Tools in Sustainability
            Chapter 139. Cost Benefit Analysis
            Chapter 140. Mapping, GIS, and Remote Sensing Forthcoming by Dr. Christopher Badurek, SUNY Cortland
            Chapter 141. Benchmarking
            Chapter 142. Community Engagement 
Part 5 Historical Considerations
Part 5a. Human History and Sustainability
            Chapter 143. History of the Environmental Movement
            Chapter 144. Prehistoric Human Development and Sustainability
            Chapter 145. The Archaeology of Sustainability, Forthcoming by Dr. Lynne Goldstein, Michigan State University
            Chapter 146. Sustainability in the Bronze Age
            Chapter 147. Sustainability and the Industrial Revolution
Part 5b. Great Figures of the Sustainability Field (note this list will expand and these chapters will be short bios)
            Chapter 148. Carl Sauer
            Chapter 149. H.D. Thoreau
            Chapter 150. Aldo Leopold Forthcoming by Dr. Christopher Badurek, SUNY Cortland
            Chapter 151. Rachel Carson
            Chapter 152. Zora Neale Hurston
            Chapter 153. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas
            Chapter 154. Gro Brundtland
            Chapter 155. Michael Mann
            Chapter 156. Al Gore
            Chapter 157. Octavia Butler, Forthcoming by Dr. Lisa-Marie Pierre, Bronx 
Community College
          Chapter 158 Bill McKibben
Part 6. Organizations (again, this list will expand, but the text will be short in most cases)
Part 6a. International Organizations
            Chapter 159. The United Nations
            Chapter 160. The World Health Organizations
            Chapter 161. Greenpeace
            Chapter 162. Natural Resource Defense Council
            Chapter 163. The Nature Conservancy
            Chapter 164. World Wildlife Fund
            Chapter 165. Slow Food International
Part 6b. National, Regional, or Local Organizations
            Chapter 166. U.S Council of Mayors
            Chapter 167. US Green Building Coalition and Passivhaus
            Chapter 168. 100 Resilient Cities
            Chapter 169. African Sustainable Energy Association