The Chesapeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World
Tom Pelton (Johns Hopkins University Press)
In this book, Pelton, one the country’s leading environmental journalists, offers us a wealth of knowledge about the Chesapeake Bay, collected from his more than two decades of reporting on this ecological, cultural, and historical treasure (you may also know him from his show Environment in Focus on WYPR). His book is part history of the bay’s watershed region, part political history of its preservation, and, to a lesser extent, part personal history, as Pelton draws gorgeous imagery of scenes he’s experienced as an avid kayaker on the bay’s waters and tributaries. In total, he paints a compelling portrait of what it is he wants to preserve. Divided into four sections (The Waters, The People, The Wildlife, and The Policies), the book covers a lot of ground, from Baltimore’s sewage issues to the over-harvesting of wild oysters. The highlight, perhaps, comes toward the end, when Pelton proposes 10 realistic steps for bay restoration. We should listen to him.
Art-Activism: The Revolutionary Art, Poetry, & Reflections of Aaron Maybin
Aaron Maybin (self-published)
Some may know him as a former NFL linebacker. Others know him as an arts educator and activist. In his debut book, Baltimore’s Aaron Maybin combines his artwork—paintings, drawings, and photography—with his poetry and short essays, which are gritty and raw but also vibrant with an almost palpable energy. The works serve as Baltimore-centric meditations on what it means to be an activist, and Maybin’s voice is both vulnerable and strong as a black man born and raised here. He quickly moves from politics to religion to class to race, not only acknowledging current problems faced by local African Americans but also offering solutions and alternatives for a brighter future through grassroots efforts. Portions of the book act as anthems for a community that is rising up to meet the challenges they face, so that their children and children’s children might one day live in a better world.