Every time I listen to or read an interview with an author who has recently published a book, and want to get a closer look at the book itself, I click the link provided. Nearly 100% of the time the link goes to Amazon. Not good. When I listened to an interview with Elizabeth Kolbert on a podcast I respect, that is what happened. Frustrated by that link, I looked for alternatives to Amazon for buying this book, and found plenty. For example, thanks to Powell’s Books for making the discussion about this book available in the online event above.
One option is Bookshop.org, which came to my attention while trying to find an interview with Kolbert about her new book that did not link to Amazon. It took some effort, after finding the Powell’s links, but thankfully I found an interview given a couple days ago to Audubon for their review of Kolbert’s book. None of our many earlier links to Kolbert stories have featured an image of the author, so I will share here the one that accompanies the Audubon piece. In the middle of the interview there is this exchange:
A: We’re, of course, doing this interview for Audubon, which focuses a lot on species conservation. Much of the work that people do to save various species—and there are so many examples of this in your book—involves altering previous ways that we’ve altered the natural world. How do you suggest that people who care about species protection think about efforts like these?
K: Well, that’s a really profound question, and to be honest that is the question at the center of the book. One of the points is, what do we think of as conservation, right? Like, “Let’s just conserve this the way it is”—that’s becoming increasingly impossible because of climate change, among other things. We’ve just changed the world so profoundly that we can no longer just fence off and preserve a piece of land; even if we don’t allow most human activity within it, the world is being changed so profoundly, and from a distance.
And so, we’ve reached this weird point. I use this quote from The Leopard, it’s a very famous quote from the book, that goes, “Everything must change for everything to stay the same.” But that’s the basic point: Just to keep things the same, we need to change them. And that’s a paradox. And I don’t have a clear set of answers to these questions. But I think that they’re the questions we’re going to be grappling with for the rest of this century. How do we preserve as much as we can of the natural world, even as it changes really fast, and really profoundly?
Then, of course, after reading the interview I had to search for more information to be sure that bookshop.org is not another enterprise created by or purchased by Amazon to obfuscate their reach. And I am happy to share this:
Following its success in the US, the ethical platform Bookshop.org has arrived in the UK, marking an exciting new chapter for independent stores online