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Rebecca Altman's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Rebecca Altman recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Rebecca Altman's favorite book recommendations of all time.

A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age.

In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast “oceanic desert” where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a “plastic soup.”  He had stumbled upon the...
Recommended by Rebecca Altman, and 1 others.

Rebecca AltmanHenderson Island, which sits in the South Pacific, made headlines in May 2017 after researchers published estimates of how much plastic had collected there. What they found was mind-boggling — something like 38 million pieces on an island that measures 5 by 10 kilometres, is presently uninhabited by humans, a World Heritage site, meaning that it is protected, and thousands of miles from major... (Source)

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Traditionally thought of as the last great unpoiled territory on Earth, the Arctic is in reality home to some of the most contaminated people and animals on the planet. Awarded a major grant to conduct an exhaustive study of the deteriorating environment of the Arctic by the Pew Charitable Trusts(the first time Pew has given such a grant to a journalist). "Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Marla Cone traveled across the Arctic, from Greenland to the Aleutian Islands, to find out why the Arctic is toxic. What she discovered was shocking: Tons of dangerous chemicals and pesticides from... more
Recommended by Rebecca Altman, and 1 others.

Rebecca AltmanThink about the environmental issues facing the Arctic, and one thinks about warming, not the unseen accretion of pollution in its seemingly pristine environs and its dynamic food chain. As one learns in Dumping in Dixie, industrial pollution doesn’t stay put. Human activity moves it from place to place. But depending on pollutants’ molecular structure, so can wind, water and weather patterns.... (Source)

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To be poor, working-class, or a person of color in the United States often means bearing a disproportionate share of the country's environmental problems. Starting with the premise that all Americans have a basic right to live in a healthy environment, Dumping in Dixie chronicles the efforts of five African American communities, empowered by the civil rights movement, to link environmentalism with issues of social justice. In the third edition, Bullard speaks to us from the front lines of the environmental justice movement about new developments in environmental racism, different... more
Recommended by Rebecca Altman, and 1 others.

Rebecca AltmanIn Dumping in Dixie, Robert Bullard—a sociologist, and a towering figure in the field—documents the emergence of the US environmental justice movement, born from the Civil Rights movement, its networks, organisations, and framing. Through the story of one community in particular, he explains how pollution and racism operate together, and through one another. (Source)

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The first edition of Living Downstream—an exquisite blend of precise science and engaging narrative—set a new standard for scientific writing. Poet, biologist, and cancer survivor, Steingraber uses all three kinds of experience to investigate the links between cancer and environmental toxins.The updated science in this exciting new edition strengthens the case for banning poisons now pervasive in our air, our food, and our bodies. Because synthetic chemicals linked to cancer come mostly from petroleum and coal, Steingraber shows that investing in green energy also helps prevent cancer.... more
Recommended by Rebecca Altman, and 1 others.

Rebecca AltmanLiving Downstream is a beautifully rendered book, part science, part history, part memoir. Steingraber’s purpose is to refocus public attention upstream, by which she means where problems begin. It is a crash course in public health, and in adopting a public health perspective on cancer and pollution prevention. Moved by its message, the filmmaker Chanda Chevannes even made Living Downstream into... (Source)

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Voices from Chernobyl

On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred at the Chernobyl complex in Pripyat. English-language reportage on the incident has, so far, focused on facts, names, and data; Voices from Chernobyl presents first-hand accounts of what happened to the people of Belarus and the fear, anger, and uncertainty that they lived through. In order to give voice to their experiences, Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people (firefighters, disaster-cleanup technicians, and innocent citizens alike) affected by the meltdown. She presents these interviews in monologue... more

Craig MazinThese are sources I found fascinating and useful. Not ALL of them, but a bunch. First up, obviously... Svetlana Alexievich's Voices From Chernobyl. Absolutely essential, and heartbreaking, reading. There's a reason Ms. Alexievich has a Nobel Prize. (Source)

Kate BrownIt’s a very beautiful work and I think it gives you the emotional landscape of how people dealt with their anxieties, fears, the health problems that ensued, and their growing sense of disillusionment with their political leaders and the Communist party. (Source)

Rebecca AltmanWhat follows events like Chernobyl is a politics of measurement. Who counts? What counts? Who does the counting? How are boundaries drawn for the purposes of counting and comparing? And what is discounted, or never counted at all? (Source)

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