Like millions of people across the world, Idahoans have been asked to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While essential workers in healthcare, public services and other sectors remain on the frontlines of Idaho’s pandemic response, the best thing others can do to help protect our neighbors, families, friends, and communities is to stay home. While outdoor activities close-to-home are currently still allowed in Idaho, please refrain from visiting places across the state that are overwhelmed with out-of-towners, too remote to visit safely, or are facing closures.
In a time when social distancing and travel restrictions keep us apart from one another and the landscapes that make us whole, books and other media can allow us to travel to special places and find connection. If you find yourself seeking distraction or enrichment in these stressful times, here are a few recommendations from the Idaho Conservation League staff.
Wondering how to access books right now? Call your local bookstore and see if they offer curbside pick-up or delivery options. And don’t forget your library! Although Idaho libraries are closed to the public right now, they have lots of online resources, including ways to download books onto your device and audiobooks. Check out the Libby app to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your local library.
- Randy Fox, Conservation Associate, is currently reading Terry Tempest Williams’ Erosion: Essays of Undoing, which reflects on erosion as a force of recession but also rebuilding and examines recent erosion of environmental protections in the United States.
- Justin Hayes, our Executive Director, is reading Vine Deloria Jr.’s God is Red: A Native View of Religion.
- We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building A Movement That Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Shelby Herber, North Idaho Community Engagement Assistant, is currently reading this book by a 17-year-old climate activist, hip-hop artist and powerful voice on the frontlines of a global youth-led movement.
- The Dreamer and the Doctor: A Forest Lover and a Physician on the Edge of the Frontier by Jack Nisbet is one of the recommendations from Scott Ki, Communications Associate. In this book, a botanist and his doctor wife settle in the new Idaho Territory near Sandpoint and work passionately on behalf of public lands and public health.
- An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz comes highly recommended from Brad Smith. Matt Nykiel, North Idaho Conservation Associate, is currently reading this award-winning work of United States history from the perspective of native communities.
- Jonas Seiler, River Conservation Fellow, is enjoying Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, Revitalizing Communities by Steven Hawley about dams, fish, and communities in the Northwest. (Tags: Salmon, Idaho)
- Brad Smith, ICL’s North Idaho Director, recommends Where Roads Will Never Reach: Wilderness and Its Visionaries in the Northern Rockies by Frederick Swanson, a good read about the efforts of everyday people in Idaho and Montana to protect wild places.
- Hannah Smay, Central Idaho Community Engagement Assistant, recommends Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a book about the power of gratitude, reciprocity, and interconnectedness.
- Austin Walkins, our Climate Campaign Coordinator enjoyed The End of Sustainability: Resilience and the Future of Environmental Governance in the Anthropocene by Melinda Benson Harm (former ICL staff!) and Robin Kundis Craig. Sustainability has been a buzzword in the environmental field for a while now, but in the face of climate change the authors rethink the concept and explore how different cultures view existential threats (spoiler alert: Americans are the most doom and gloom).
Activism and Civic Engagement
- Emerald La Fortune, Campaign Outreach Assistant – Salmon/Steelhead Recovery offers We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump by Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin if you are ready to get fired up and change the world.
- Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover comes highly recommended from Haley Robinson, Development and Marketing Associate.
- Hannah enjoyed Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, an acclaimed story of sisters growing up lakeside in North Idaho.
- Ben Otto (Energy Associate), Julia Rundberg (Director of Finance and Administration) and Jonathan Oppenheimer (External Relations Director) are all currently reading Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Overstory, an ambitious novel about activism, resistance, and, most of all, trees.
- Mitch Cutter, ICL’s Salmon and Steelhead Advocacy Fellow recommends a personal favorite: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, by Anna Tsing. This is a creative non-fiction anthropological-ecological study of a mushroom and the people who build their lives around it. Mitch picks up this book to read a (very short) chapter at random for some mental renewal, then returns it to the shelf for the next time the world seems dark.
- Jonathan Oppenheimer, Director of External Relations, is reading The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben which delves into the science of trees and forests.
- The Anthropocene Reviewed hosted by John Greene never fails to help Emerald feel a little closer to the world.
- Don’t forget that ICL has our own podcast, hosted by Hannah and Haley: Wild Idaho!
- Scott and Hannah recommend The Dawn Wall, now streaming on Netflix, a climbing documentary about partnership, sacrifice, and achievement on the epic scale of El Capitan in Yosemite.
- If you missed your local screening of Patagonia’s Artifishal, don’t worry! The film is available to watch on YouTube for free. Though this is a provocative and hard-hitting film, we hope this film starts, not ends, important conversations about Idaho’s fish.