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Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point Hardcover – July 3, 2012
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"The Earth and her beings have been speaking. But we failed to listen. Arctic Voices compels us to listen. We will stay deaf at our peril."
—Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya and author of Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development
"A marvelous work, a marvelous land—hear the voices that call us to save these jewels of our planet."
—James E. Hansen, director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and author of Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
"One of the great strengths of Arctic Voices is that it shows how Alaska and the Arctic are tied to the places where most of us live. In this impassioned book, Banerjee shows a situation so serious that it has created a movement, where 'voices of resistance are gathering, are getting louder and louder.' May his heartfelt efforts magnify them."
—Ian Frazier, The New York Review of Books
“Part of our failure to recognise the dangers at stake is that the Arctic still tends to be perceived as a big barren desert of ice, apolitical and disconnected from our political concerns, up for grabs. The book Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point offers an encyclopedic approach to reframe such understandings.”
—Manuela Picq, Al Jazeera
“Their reverence for, and connection to, the earth—its animals, water, mountains and land—is beautifully described in Arctic Voices, and each essay is as much a prayer as a call to activism.”
—Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout
"Just in time, then, comes Banerjee's latest volume, Arctic Voices, a wakeup call from 39 artists, writers, biologists, Alaska Natives and activists [...] the eyewitness accounts and reports in Arctic Voices question the wisdom of relying on fossil fuel fixes, urging restraint in our approach to the nation's last great wilderness area."
—Michael Engelhard, High Country News
"Right from the beginning I’m emotionally connected with this book [...]"
—The Environmental Blog
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Over the past decade SUBHANKAR BANERJEE has been a leading international voice on issues of arctic conservation, indigenous human rights, resource development, and climate change. In 2003 he published Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a photo book of his fourteen-month long journey in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Through a Lannan Foundation grant, 10,000 copies of the book were donated to libraries and policy makers across the country. He was recently Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fordham University in New York. He has received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from New Mexico State University and a Cultural Freedom Award from Lannan Foundation. Banerjee lives in New York City.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point, therefore, reflects, in all its sombreness, the seriousness of the situation on a global scale, with all its potentially devastating impact relating to both pollution and climate change. But yet there is joy in this work, too, as the native inhabitants of these lands recount their experiences at firsthand of living harmoniously with the wildlife that peopled these vast expanses of ice long before any human set foot there. Telling the story of both the people and the organisations that are set on protecting this natural wilderness from commercial greed, Arctic Voices exhibits the strength that lies at the core of humankind when the major motivation of our behavior is not mere lust for power and avariciousness.
Indeed, it is the wish of Banerjee that the power of the voices that fill this volume should not only resonate across the miles of physical space involved, but also across the intellectual caverns that so often exist at corporate level. If strength lies in numbers, the wide-ranging nature of the multiplicity of contributors to the volume should be capable of arousing a global consciousness and awareness that there is still sufficient energy and will to activate the policymakers and the governments involved (and who among us is not) to contribute to the sustainable evolution of this planet, before nature itself rebels, and the very continued existence of mankind itself is threatened. The spirit of this work is exemplary in its brave commitment to maintaining the rightful balance on this Earth of ours—let us all learn, and be moved, by it.
Arctic Voices, edited by Indian-born American writer, photographer and activist Subhankar Banerjee, is therefore an urgently needed book. The more than 30 different contributions and a large number of (partly coloured) photographs impressively clarify what is happening in the Arctic at the moment. These texts, written by scientists, anthropologists, writers, members of indigenous communities, and activists, limit themselves however not to lamenting the described disquieting developments. They also demonstrate that resistance exists, and that it, despite many throwbacks, often can be successfull. While most of the contributions were written specifically for Arctic Voices, some are extracts from other books, such as Marla Cone's Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic (2005). It addresses the paradoxical fact that people and mammals such as polar bears and whales in the Arctic, despite living far removed from most sources of chemical pollution, suffer the world's highest contamination through mercury, PCBs, and pesticides such as DDT. Arctic Voices is thus not least a plea for environmental justice: It is not the inhabitants of the Arctic who are responsible for global warming and pollution, but they are among those who suffer the greatest losses.
The volume represents a broad scope of different voices, and definitely manages to inspire both further reading and action. One disadvantage is, however, that most contributions only deal with Arctic Alaska, although the described problematic developments are common in the entire Arctic. There is one article on Iceland, and another one on Siberia, but what about Greenland, Norway, and Canada? Despite this unnecessary self-restriction, Arctic Voices can be highly recommended for everyone interested in nature, culture, and resistance in the far North.