Bird Week: Birds Ground Us — The Earth and Environmental Equity

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Don’t you think our lush planet is worth far more than two desolate balls of dust light years away?  This good earth is our bird in the hand.

Birds have, long, been our inspiration. They have served as an impetus to move beyond earthly limitations. If they can take to air, plumb watery depths and strut around the breadth and width of this earth like they own it, so can we!

We’ve followed their example in so many ways. We feather our nests, warn our children not to count their chickens before they hatch, put feathers in our caps and flock together. Continue reading “Bird Week: Birds Ground Us — The Earth and Environmental Equity”

City Council Reads – Mike O’Brien, District 6

This past November, Seattle swore in a new Mayor and City Councilmember, and we here at ShelfTalk thought this would be a great opportunity to continue our series of posts in which we invited your representatives to share books that have meant a lot to them. This time, we asked them “What book was most influential in your life or career and why?” This week, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, representing District 6, Northwest Seattle.

“What book was most influential in your life or career and why?”

I read Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner in my early 20’s when I was beginning to work as a river guide and an outdoor instructor.  It’s about land development and water policy in the Western United States, including places where I spent a lot of time (the Columbia River basin) and places I wanted to spend time (the Colorado River).  It opened my eyes to the ways in which government policy shapes our landscape and environment, and has spurred me on to pursue environmental policy work as both a volunteer with organizations like the Sierra Club and as a Seattle City Councilmember.

Continue reading “City Council Reads – Mike O’Brien, District 6”

Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition


One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.

More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?

The international exhibition Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars offers fascinating answers to this question. Continue reading “Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition”

Endangered Species Day

Mark your calendars for May 19 – Endangered Species Day. Since 2006, the third Friday in May has been a day to reflect on animal and plant species that are becoming extinct at an alarming rate.

Lun Lun at Zoo Atlanta

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a comprehensive list of the conservation status of species. Despite some conservation successes, the IUCN’s assessment is that biodiversity is in decline. Of the 79,800 species on its list, over 23,000 are threatened with extinction. Continue reading “Endangered Species Day”

Nightstand Reads: Bob Wyss

Robert WyssBob Wyss is associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut and a journalist who has written for the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Providence Journal and Yankee. His most recent work is the 2016 book, The Man Who Built the Sierra Club: A Life of David Brower. He will read excerpts from the book and discuss his research on Tuesday, August 2, at 7 p.m. at the Central Library. We are exciting to have him here today as our guest blogger, with several suggestions for books about the environment. Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Bob Wyss”