New Anthology Offers Personal Stories and Reflections on Global Warming from New and Established Writers and Photographers
Unique collaboration between nonprofit and publisher will make interactive book accessible to millions of Americans for free.
NEW YORK – A new generation of writers and photographers with a personal connection to global warming are taking inspiration from Henry David Thoreau and other legendary environmental authors by publishing their works in a special anthology from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Penguin Classics.
The nonprofit science group and Penguin Classics selected essays and photos by 67 Americans for the new book Thoreau’s Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming. The contributors include scientists, students, grandparents, activists, veterans, journalists, evangelical Christians, artists, and businesspeople who live in 32 states stretching from Alaska to Florida. A foreword on global warming by award-winning novelist, poet and nonfiction author Barbara Kingsolver helps to set the context.
UCS and Penguin Classics will offer the anthology for free online as an interactive book at www.ucsusa.org/americanstories and a forthcoming eBook. A limited edition hardcover also will be available for purchase. The online interactive book will allow the anthology to be instantly shared with friends through emails and on social media sites.
“This partnership was unique in so many ways, but no more so in the reversal of roles we each played,” said Kevin Knobloch, UCS’s president. “Penguin Classics spearheaded efforts to inform the public about the need to speak out about global warming, while we took the editorial and publishing lead.”
“I have great respect for the work of the Union of Concerned Scientists,” said Elda Rotor, editorial director at Penguin Classics, “and it’s been very satisfying for us to have been able to help generate public participation in this project, and we hope their voices will be heard; particularly as Congress debates legislation to reduce the pollution that contributes to global warming.”
Personal Perspectives from Across the Nation
As Ms. Kingsolver writes in her foreword, to find hope in our future “we must radically reconsider the power relationship between humans and our habitat.” The contributors to Thoreau’s Legacy do just that. We see the changes in New England’s natural beauty through the eyes of an observant ninth-grader. We learn how pollution and a warming climate are affecting the Yakama Indians’ way of life. We follow a family whose faith has led them on a journey to protect the planet. We look into the fearsome eyes of an old polar bear crossing the Alaskan ice. And we get a useful, if painful, lesson from a New Orleans native who can never go home again and who worries for other American cities. These are just a few of the many personal accounts about climate change in this collection.
The Genesis of this Anthology
UCS and Penguin Classics teamed up in September 2008 to encourage writers and photographers to submit their personal impressions of global warming — in words or images — for publication in a new book.
Hundreds of bookstores across the country joined the effort by displaying easels and distributing free bookmarks about the project. Both Penguin Classics and UCS featured the project prominently on their Web sites.
The partners received nearly 1,000 submissions from established and aspiring writers and photographers from across the country. They submitted 200- to 500-word personal accounts or photographs that focused on the places they love and want to protect; the animals, plants, people and activities they fear are at risk from a changing climate; and the steps they are taking in their own lives to stem the tide of global warming.
A team of reviewers from Penguin Classics and UCS selected 67 contributions for the anthology. Working with Mixit Productions, they produced an innovative interactive book. In July a limited edition hardcover coffee table book and a downloadable eBook will also be available.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.
Penguin Classics is the largest and most comprehensive publisher of classic literature in English in the world, and as a publisher is committed to using paper products from manufacturers that are committed to sustainable paper production techniques, and to in-house conservation and recycling in our daily business practice.