It’s easy to feel small and powerless in the face of big environmental challenges. But environmentalism’s greatest change-makers started out living ordinary lives. In Nature’s Allies, Larry Nielsen presents the inspiring stories of eight conservation pioneers who show that through passion and perseverance we can each make a difference. Nielsen’s vivid biographies of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Billy Frank Jr., Ding Darling, Chico Mendes, Wangari Maathai, and Gro Harlem Brundtland are meant to rally a new generation of conservationists to follow in their footsteps, and inspire new generations of students, conservationists, and nature lovers to speak up for nature and prove that individuals can affect positive change in the world.
Nielsen ... has the command of a practiced lecturer, and his biographical sketches of famous environmentalists zip by like NatGeo profiles. He covers the canonical – Muir, Leopold, Carson – and also has the good sense to get out of North America – there’s Chico Mendes and Wangari Maathai, too. Nielsen’s narratives are quick, the result of deep study distilled, and he uncovers some gems.
- Jason Mark, editor in chief, Sierra
"Nielsen...celebrates the work of eight conservationists in the U.S. and abroad in this engaging series of biographical sketches...Paying tribute to their battles and accomplishments, Nielsen effectively showcases the passion and persistence of a remarkable group of individuals."
- Publishers Weekly
"A fine primer on some of the most inspirational figures in the history of the environmental movement. Nielsen, dean of the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University, has the command of a practiced lecturer, and his biographical sketches of famous environmentalists zip by like NatGeo profiles."
"The ethnic and gender diversity of the subjects is a major factor in the book's favor...this work represents a step in the direction of correcting the erasure of non-white, non-American environmentalism from mainstream American dialogue."
"Riveting and inspiring...[Nielsen] does a superb job of outlining the lives of these heroic environmentalists."
- Manhattan Book Review
"Moving stories, all eight of them."
- Wildlife Activist
"Nielsen's finely etched portraits are not the end of the line like so many dusty pictures on a wall. They are rather the forward to volumes to be written about the heroes and heroines of the Great Work ahead."
"This book is an interesting, informing read... highly recommended...Readers will likely find this book inspirational, if not motivational."
- Electronic Green Journal
"In this engaging book, Larry Nielsen...deftly captures the lives and careers of eight individuals whose mark on the environment endures...Nature's Allies succeeds as an introduction to these eight lives and in how to write engaging environmental biography. It would work splendidly in teaching environmental history, studies, or ethics."
- Environmental History
"This book stands out for the ethnic and gender diversity of its subjects. Nielsen...showcases the passion and dedication the activists had for their causes and presents these profiles as a way to inspire dedication to activism in others."
"This book exudes inspiration. It shows how anyone with a love of the natural environment—and how it is used to support human endeavor—can make a contribution to conservation. Easy to read, hard to put down, and deeply motivating."
- Simon Brockington, Executive Secretary, International Whaling Commission
"Nature's Allies is much more than a collection of fascinating stories about the lives of eight great conservationists. It's an account of what it takes to bring about major change. It's a must-read, not only for students of conservation but for all who are interested in the future of this planet and improving the quality of life."
- Michael Dombeck, former Chief, US Forest Service, and former Director, US Bureau of Land Management
"Nielsen's captivating stories humanize eight inspiring individuals whose early paths in life are not that different from today's students reading Nature's Allies. That people from rather ordinary and diverse backgrounds can have a revolutionary impact on conservation policy decisions and private actions is an important message to motivate youth to act on their passions."
- Barbara A. Knuth, Senior Vice Provost and Dean, Cornell University