It's a big week for us here at Beacon Press. While Cambridge celebrated their "Go Green" awards, Boston has been displaying its LGBT pride all week. Across the globe, nations are being unified by a common love for soccer with the World Cup. Our authors are also getting involved and getting their universal messages out there to the public. Here are a few of their latest updates and achievements:
Carlos Ball's new book, From the Closet to the Courtroom, chronicles five ground-breaking LGBT lawsuits that ultimately defined history. In this month's newsletter from the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, Ball's book received the following praise: "This should become a basic text for college LGBT studies courses and can be read with profit by all students of LGBT law, but it is also aimed at a more general audience and is recommendable to non-specialists as well."
The World Cup has officially begun. Symbolizing the drive, determination, and love for soccer, The Boys from Little Mexico, by Steve Wilson, delves deep into the lives of an all-Hispanic boys' soccer team who, despite cultural differences, language barriers, and academic struggles, won the Oregon state championship. In an interview with Dropping Timber, a soccer blog for the Portland Timbers, Wilson stated, "My hope with the book… is that it humanizes people." OregonLive.com also featured an article on Wilson, focusing on the care he took for the privacy of the students featured in his book.
The more negative side of youth sports represented by the strive for academic scholarships, the pressures of overbearing parents, and the injuries inflicted on overworked children, is the subject of Mark Hyman's book Until It Hurts. In a recently published article in Sports Illustrated, Hyman documents the efforts of Dr. James R. Andrews and his celebrity-athlete endorsed prevention program STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention).
A thorough examination of the overpopulation myth, Fred Pearce's book, The Coming Population Crash, discusses lower average birthrates across the globe, the growing epidemic of world hunger, and the first upcoming population decrease that this world has seen since the Black Death. Pearce's book was recently discussed on amnews.com.
From overpopulation to income inequality, Chuck Collins, coauthor of Wealth and our Commonwealth, describes personal wealth as being not only achieved through personal decisions and hard work, but also through the opportunities for success inherent in our society. Collins was quoted in an article for The New York Timeson estate taxes and the legacies of the opulent.
There are a million questions that run through the minds of liberal consumers. How will our purchasing powers affect the economy or the environment? Who frantically toiled in a foreign country to make this coat and what were their wages? Fran Hawthorne, author of The Overloaded Liberal, tackles investing your money into the perpetuation of liberal ideals. In a recent article for The Jew and the Carrot, Hawthorne describes kosher living through the humane methods of animal slaughter and the inhuman wages paid to workers behind the scenes.
In the vein of liberal-minded consumers, we here at Beacon Press would like to congratulate the Harvard Book Store for winning the Cambridge "Go Green Award" for transportation. The store's Green Delivery Service boasts a quick and inexpensive method of using emissions-free vehicles to deliver book orders to readers across the Boston area. Harvard Book Store's actions not only promote eco-friendly methods of delivery, but also support local businesses.
It's bad enough to walk into a library or bookstore and confront shelf after shelf of books with titles like True Green: 100 Everyday Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Planet. And The Little Green Book of Shopping: 250 Tips for an Eco Lifestyle. And 1001 Ways to Save the Earth.
I am immediately consumed with guilt. How can I possibly manage to do ONE HUNDRED things every day for the environment – let alone TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY or ONE THOUSAND AND ONE? My God, I'd better start immediately.
Still, I assume that each of those 100 or 250 or 1001 things are actions that a reasonable person could do one by one, if not en masse. Then I start reading the lists.
And I have to start wondering if the people who write these books actually live on the planet they claim to be saving.
This past week, Beacon authors have been very active out in the world, putting a human face on immigration and talking topics spanning a wide gamut of social justice issues, including: global population, feminism, consumer choices, education, and so much more. Visit our homepage to see the many books on immigrant rights that Beacon has published. And, if you're in or around Boston, learn more about the May Day March, which will begin on Boston Common at noon on Saturday.
WNBC New York talks to Stacy and Steve Trebing about their successful struggle to save their daughter with a "savoir sibling." The family's moving story is chronicled by author Beth Whitehouse in her new book The Match.
Author Bob Moses champions a constitutional amendment to guarantee quality education, the topic of his forthcoming book Quality Education as a Constitutional Right, in The Nationarticle about the 50th anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Hear Dana Sachs talk about the nearly 3,000 "supposedly orphaned" children swept into "Operation Babylift" on NHPR's "Word of Mouth."
Let's say you try to eat food grown without chemical fertilizers, and you want to follow that principle in your investing as well. Consider Group Danone, the manufacturer of Dannon Yogurt. "Group Danone is the largest purveyor of organic dairy products in the world," according to Amy Domini, chief executive of Domini Social Investments, which runs the benchmark Domini 400 Social Index. So Group Danone is a buy?
Not so fast. Amy Domini also points out that "twenty percent of its business is bottled water, and about half of that is to people with potable water" – that is, Danone is wasting millions of barrels of petroleum to make plastic water bottles for Americans who could safely drink their own tap water. Furthermore, in 2007 the company bought a manufacturer of infant formula named Royal Numico, and remember the consumer uproar when Nestle tried to push its powdered infant formula in developing countries in the 1970s and 1980s?
For me, it happened when my four-year-old daughter returned from a weekend visitation with her father and announced, "At Daddy's house I get chocolate cereal."
For Louise Heit-Radwell, a vegetarian mom in New York City, it happened gradually after her daughter, Molly, entered first grade. Molly would say things like, "Oh, at school, those chicken fingers smelled so good…."
For all parents, it's only a matter of time. We try to feed our children healthful, nutritious foods without antibiotics, pesticides, and unpronounceable chemicals. (Some of us, in fact, begin buying organic only after we have kids, because it seems more important to protect their newly-forming bodies than our already-wrecked ones.) We include foods in our religious rituals. We plant gardens with our preschoolers. We take them apple-picking. All the while, we explain why we're doing this, why we don't want to poison the earth or eat animals.
I have to confess that I was kind of smug about my lifestyle before I started this book. I knew that I took a lot of steps to save energy, to support unions and small stores, and to put my money in mutual funds that invested in causes I believe in, and I was quite pleased with myself for all of that. I used cloth napkins instead of paper. I never crossed a picket line. I brought my own shopping bags to stores. I recycled nearly every scrap of paper, metal, glass, and plastic possible, and then I bought recycled paper, and . . . Well, I won't go through my whole self-satisfied list right here. (If you're interested, it's in the book.) Let's just say that every time I opted for the more expensive, no-antibiotics, no-added-hormones ground beef, I thought I was managing to live pretty much according to my liberal values.
Except that guilty reminders were always tapping at the edge of my brain. If I really were an ethical consumer, wouldn't I buy the beef at the farmers market and the food co-op, not the chain grocery store? In fact, wouldn't I avoid eating beef altogether? But if the ethical goal is to avoid eating beef, why was anyone bothering to make antibiotic-free beef, if not for people like me who care about animal welfare and the environment? Wasn't this better for the environment, or at least the cow? And if the grocery store I sometimes went to was, as it claimed, an "individually owned and operated," unionized member of a purchasing and distribution cooperative, was it really an evil Big Chain?