What We’re Reading: Crosscut, Sea Change, Rooted & Rising, The Rule of Five

Here are some great environmental reads currently entertaining and enlightening the editors here at Emagazine.com…


In his latest work Crosscut, Sean Prentiss takes readers into what it means to be a rookie trail-crew leader guiding a motley collection of at-risk teens for five months of backbreaking work in the Pacific Northwest. It is a world where the sounds of trail tools–Pulaskis, McLeods, and hazel hoes–filter into dreams and set the rhythm of each day. In this memoir-in-poems, Prentiss shares a music most of us will never experience, set to tools swung and sharpened, backdropped by rain and snow and sun, as individuals transform into crew.

Sean Prentiss is the award winning author of Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave which won the 2015 winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography, the Utah Book Award for Nonfiction, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for biography. Finding Abbey was also a finalist for both the Vermont and Colorado Book Awards.

Sea Change

In 2022, GMOs were banned. A biopharmaceutical caused the Catastrophe: worldwide economic and agricultural collapse, and personal tragedy for lawyer Caroline Denton and her son. Ten years later, as Renata Black, she is a member of the Org, an underground group of scientists hunted by the feds. But the Org’s illegal food-research might just hold the key to rebuilding the worlds’ food supply.

Now there’s a mole in the Org, and Renata is the only one who can find out who it is. At risk is the possibility of an even more devastating climate collapse. For answers, she will go to her legal clients from the Quinault Nation. Will there be time to reveal the solutions that the world has not been willing to face?

This new work of fiction from Nebula Award winning author Nancy Kress, Sea Change (Tachyon) is a riveting climate-change techno-thriller featuring espionage, conspiracy, and stakes so high they could lead to the destruction of humanity itself.

Rooted and Rising

This new collection of essays by Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas is for everyone who worries about the climate crisis and seeks spiritual practices and perspectives to renew their capacity for compassionate, purposeful, and joyful action. Schade and Bullitt-Jonas gather twenty-one faith leaders, scientists, community organizers, theologians, and grassroots climate activists to offer wisdom for fellow pilgrims grappling with the weight of climate change.

Acknowledging the unprecedented nature of our predicament—the fact that climate disruption is unraveling the web of life and threatening the end of human civilization—the authors share their stories of grief and hope, fear and faith. Together, the essays, introductory sections, and discussion questions in Rooted and Rising (Rowman & Littlefield) reveal that our present crisis can elicit a depth of wisdom, insight, and motivation with power to guide us toward a more peaceful, just, and Earth-honoring future.

The Rule of Five

This new supreme court history and non-fiction masterpiece by renowned Supreme Court advocate Richard Lazarus relates the inside story of Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark case that made it possible for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases. The Rule of Five (Harvard University Press) offers a behind-the-scenes look at every aspect of the case, from the Bush administration’s fierce opposition to the internecine conflicts among the petitioners to the razor-thin 5–4 victory.

A topic expert if there ever was one, Lazarus teaches environmental law and Supreme Court decision making at Harvard Law School—including a course he co-teaches with Chief Justice John Roberts on the history of the Supreme Court—and has represented the government and environmental groups in forty Supreme Court cases.