Since 2007, the Santa Monica Public Library and the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment have presented the Green Awards to books about environmental and sustainability issues. This year’s awards were presented on November 6 at the Main Library.
The awards were selected, as noted by Dean Kubani, Director of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, from among dozens of titles over a period of seven months. Books were considered on the basis of their reflection of basic sustainability criteria, distinctive literary quality, effective presentation of material, and awareness of resource and ecological limits as well as awareness for the future, and several other criteria.
Only a few of the winning writers were able to appear at the awards ceremony. One of these was David W. Orr who received the “Pioneer Award.” Orr, a professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College, has written seven books including “Down to the Wire,” a book on climate change, and has also co-authored three other books.
Orr began his acceptance speech by relating how, when he told his young granddaughter that he was going to California to receive an award that had also been won by Dr. Seuss, she told him “Granddad, you’re no Dr. Seuss.” After the laughter subsided, Orr went on to discuss how, beyond the issue of sustainability, his writing deals with “develop[ing] a narrative of what we are.” Such a narrative, he said, could contain many themes: tragedy, comic survival, redemption, and a mixture of the three that might lead to greater happiness.
Michael K. Stone won the Education Award for “Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability.” The Center for Ecoliteracy, where Stone is a senior editor, works with schools across the U.S. to teach students about the environment and how to achieve sustainability. “We wrote this book to let them know they’re not working alone.”
Harry Wiland and Dale Bell picked up the award for reference with their book “Going to Green: A Standards-Based Environmental Education Curriculum for Schools, Colleges, and Communities.” They remarked that their curriculum took two years to develop and that they wanted it to be “the initial rung on the ladder for young people developing green-collar jobs.”
The other winners (who sent statements of acceptance) included:
Energy-“Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells,” by Amanda Little.
History- “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America,” by Douglas G. Brinkley.
Urban Planning-“Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability,” by David Owen.
Youth Fiction: “Operation Redwood,” by S. Terrell French.
Youth Picture Book: “Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green,” by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Anne Kennedy.
Early Childhood Nonfiction: “Love Your World: How to Take Care of the Plants, the Animals, and the Planet,” by Dawn Sirett.
School Age Nonfiction: “Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of the People Who are Helping to Protect Our Planet,” by Harriet Rohmer, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin.
Young Adult Nonfiction: “We are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change,” by Tim Flannery, adapted by Sally K. Walker.