Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize

for the Environmental Humanities and Creative Writing

Congratulations to Finis Dunaway, the winner of the 2022 Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize, for his book Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice.

In the spirit of Alanna Bondar’s own work, the committee seeks to award the prize to provocative, original, and stimulating books on environmental topics. Interdisciplinary works with a broad appeal within and beyond environmental humanities are sought, as are books with the potential to engage a broader public, as well as students across a range of disciplines and levels. Genres can include fiction, poetry, drama, creative non-fiction, scholarly monographs, and edited collections.

The judges praise Finis’ book, observing:

|| Finis Dunaway’s Defending the Arctic Refuge is a compelling, narrative account of how art and ally-ship can shape our perspectives of the environment, and bring about social and political change. This book tells the story of Lenny Kohm, an aspiring photographer who became committed to protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Kohm pursued this goal by working with Gwich’in leaders and community members in sharing a slide show that travelled the United States for twenty years. Dunaway’s in-depth research, including interviews with Gwich’in and environmentalists, comes together in a remarkable story of how debate over the refuge became a struggle for environmental justice. ||

Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice narrates the epic political battle over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the perspective of the grassroots. It is based on a diverse array of sources, including interviews with Gwich’in leaders, scientists, and environmental activists across North America. The book recently received the 2022 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Nonfiction Book, given by the Western Writers of America. Finis also has created a companion public history website to Defending the Arctic Refuge. The site includes a recently-digitized version of the old school slide show that is central to the book’s narrative. Over the summer, he will be adding a timeline and links to a wide range of sources related to the Arctic Refuge debate. He hopes that the site will be useful to students, educators, activists, and others interested in the history and ongoing struggle over this land. Check out the site at: Defending the Arctic Refuge – A book & public history site.

Finis Dunaway, professor of history at Trent University, teaches courses in United States history, environmental studies, and media studies. He is the author of Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform (2005) and of Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images (2015). Seeing Greenreceived the John G. Cawelti Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association and the History Division Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. His writings have also appeared in American QuarterlyEnvironmental History, and other scholarly journals and in the Washington Post, the Chicago TribuneThe HillTruthout, and the Globe and Mail

Follow Finis on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FinisDunaway

You can also read more about the publication at the UNC Press book page HERE and give your support to Finis at https://twitter.com/UNC_Press

Honourable Mentions

Paul HuebenerNature’s Broken Clocks: Reimagining Time in the Face of the Environmental Crisis

The environmental crisis is, in many ways, a crisis of time. From the distress cries of birds that no longer know when to migrate, to the rapid dying of coral reefs, to the quickening pace of extreme weather events, the patterns and timekeeping of the natural world are falling apart. We have broken nature’s clocks. Lying hidden at the root of this problem are the cultural narratives that shape our actions and horizons of thought, but as Paul Huebener shows, we can bring about change by developing a critical literacy of time. Moving from circadian rhythms and the revival of ancient frozen bacteria to camping advertisements and the politics of oil pipelines, Nature’s Broken Clocks turns to works of fiction and poetry, examining how cultural narratives of time are connected to the problems of ecological collapse and what we might do to fix them.

Read the judges’ praise:

|| Paul Huebener’s Nature’s Broken Clocks, a scholarly treatise on our relationship with time and the natural world, engages not only with creative categories such as poetry, fiction, and art, but also with linked elements of culture, considering a variety of registers that include individuals, deep time, and pop culture. Huebener’s book is situated within an environmental humanities critique of contemporary culture and creative modes, but also extends beyond that in a notably interdisciplinary fashion. Accessible to a variety of interests and readers, Nature’s Broken Clocks is provocative, original, and stimulating—driving home the urgency of how our culture is entangled with ecological problems and our opportunities for solutions. ||

Paul Huebener is an Associate Professor of English at Athabasca University. His latest book, Nature’s Broken Clocks: Reimagining Time in the Face of the Environmental Crisis, was a finalist for the 2022 ASLE-UKI Book Prize for Ecological Creative Writing. His previous book, Timing Canada, was a finalist for the Gabrielle Roy Prize. He is currently studying sleep, and he tries to conduct research for eight hours every night.    

https://www.athabascau.ca/…paul-huebener.html

Interested in time and the environment? The New Books Network has interviewed me for their podcast: https://tinyurl.com/f7bwpx5s

Follow Paul on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.huebener

https://uofrpress.ca/Books/N/Nature-s-Broken-Clocks

U of Regina Press: https://twitter.com/UofRPress

Athabasca University: @AthabascaU

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James NisbetSecond Site

Second Site is a meditation on how environmental change and the passage of time transform the meaning of site-specific art.

Read the judges’ praise:

|| James Nisbet’s Second Site is a provocative and original book that examines late-twentieth and early twentieth century site-specific art and design. Elegantly crafted and deeply rooted in a breadth of scholarship, Second Site centres on questions of art, place, nature, and time. As the author himself notes, his consideration of these artworks enables Second Site to serve as a “primer” for cultivating an ethical “practice of attention and recognition” in a world of profound ecological change. ||

https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691194950/second-site

Twitter: @PrincetonUPress

https://www.facebook.com/PrincetonUniversityPress/

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Simon OrpanaGasoline Dreams: Waking Up from Petroculture

What if the biggest barriers to responding to climate change are not technological or governmental but, rather, cultural? In other words, what if we ourselves could help to enact change through a deeper understanding of our petroleum dependency? In a provocative graphic format that draws widely from history, critical theory, and popular culture, Gasoline Dreams explores and challenges the ways fossil fuels have shaped our identities, relationships, and our ability to imagine sustainable, equitable futures. As our rapidly warming planet is pushed toward ecological collapse, we might often feel helpless or paralyzed by the enormity of the challenges confronting us. However, reflecting upon the cultural dimensions of our predicament helps reveal the great potential for social transformation inherent in the multiplying crises. Author and artist Simon Orpana engages with contemporary scholarship in the emergent field of Energy Humanities to confront the habits, narratives, and fantasies that support our attachment to fossil fuels. By revealing the many ways petroculture repeatedly fails to deliver on its promises of “the good life,” Gasoline Dreams calls us to the difficult work of waking up from the fantasies that inhibit us from working toward a global transition to renewable energy.

Read the judges’ praise:

|| Today’s social infrastructures are heavily resource-extractive, and Simon Orpana’s astute and intellectual graphic novel Gasoline Dreams hones in on our dependence upon the fossil fuels that energize our global society. The related pressing and convoluted concerns are inked from not only personal experience, but encapsulate climate-science research, political theory, cultural criticism, and prognosticative models. Within these pages, the past, present, and future of our ongoing petroculture are examined through a variety of timely lenses. ||

Simon Orpana is an artist and educator who uses such mediums as maps, ‘zines, posters, comics, and writing to explore the political and historical dimensions of community, activism, and popular culture. He is co-author, with Rob Kristofferson, of Showdown!: Making Modern Unions (Between the Lines 2016), a graphic history about labour organizing. His most recent book, Gasoline Dreams: Waking Up from Petroculture (Fordham UP 2021), uses the graphic novel format to challenge cultural barriers to imagining a world less dependent upon fossil fuels. He lives, works, and teaches in Hamilton, Ontario. 

https://www.fordhampress.com/9780823297726/gasoline-dreams/

Twitter: @FordhamPress

https://www.facebook.com/FordhamUP/

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Elin KelseyHope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis

Hope Matters boldly breaks through the narrative of doom and gloom that has overtaken conversations about our future to show why hope, not fear, is our most powerful tool for tackling the planetary crisis. Award-winning author, scholar, and educator Elin Kelsey reveals the collateral damage of despair—from young people who honestly believe they have no future to the link between climate anxiety and hyper-consumerism—and argues that the catastrophic environmental news that dominates the media tells only part of the story. She describes effective campaigns to support ocean conservation, species resilience, and rewilding, demonstrating how digital conservation is helping scientists target specific problems with impressive results. And she shows how we can build on these positive trends and harness all our emotions about the changing environment—anger and sadness as well as hope—into effective personal and political action. Timely, evidence-based, and persuasive, Hope Matters is an argument for the place of hope in our lives and a celebration of the turn toward solutions in the face of the environmental crisis.

Read the judges’ praise:

|| Anxiety about our planet’s health pervades society, with older and younger generations feeling increasingly hopeless for the future. Kelsey’s book persuasively argues that this prevalence of hopelessness actually hampers our ability to act; changing how we think, specifically focusing on hope rather than fear, will empower people to enact positive change. Hope Matters is an evidence-based collection of examples from across the globe by which individuals and groups can, and have, come together to implement solutions to environmental problems. By highlighting existing success stories, Kelsey shows us how we can realize a more just, sustainable, and ecologically diverse future. ||

Elin Kelsey, PhD is an award-winning author and thought-leader for the evidence-based hope and climate solutions movement. Her newest book for adults, Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical For Solving The Environmental Crisis was published by Greystone Books in October 2020. Her influence can be seen in the hopeful, solutions-focus of her clients, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and other powerful institutions where she has served as a visiting fellow including the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Stanford University in the Graduate School of Education. In 2022 she brought an international focus to research on climate emotions through a Kone Foundation fellowship in Helsinki, Finland, is leading a collaboration between youth and social influencers to make evidence-based hope more shareable online through the David Suzuki Institute, and will be assembling a hope network for environmental leaders through the Salish Sea Institute.  She co-created #OceanOptimism, a twitter campaign to crowd-source marine conservation solutions which has reached more than 100 million shares since it launched in 2014. As an Adjunct Faculty member of the University of Victoria School of Environmental Studies, and, Western Washington University’s partnership in the Redfish School of Change, she is helping to forward a solutions-oriented paradigm for educating environmental scientists and social scientists. Passionate about bringing science-based stories of hope and multi-species resilience to the public, Kelsey is a popular keynote speaker and media commentator. She regularly serves as an author/artist in residence, leading hopeful environmental workshops with kindergarten to university students across North America and around the world. She is a feature writer and podcast host for Hakai Magazine and a best-selling children’s book author. Her newest book for children, A Last Goodbye was published in April 2020. For more about Elin and her work please visit https://www.elinkelsey.org.

https://greystonebooks.com/products/hope-matters

Twitter: @greystonebooks

https://www.facebook.com/GreystoneBooks

https://www.instagram.com/greystonebooks/

Donate to the Bondar Prize

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Past Awards

Click on the links below for information on the finalists and winners in previous years.

2020

2018

2016