Longer days, flowers blooming everywhere and a healthy dose of pollen in the air can only mean one thing: summer is upon us. To gal dem, the changing of the seasons makes us think of the great outdoors and the people who write insightful articles about it. While nature writing has always been a field dominated by middle class white men, promising changes have flowery during the last years. These include in particular acknowledgement for writers of color working in the field, publishing works by authors including Nina Mingya Powles, Jessica J. Lee and Jini Reddyand establishing initiatives to support nature writing by underrepresented voices, such as Nan Shepherd Award. Where marginalized people are so often excluded from access to nature or the countryside, it is important that these voices are heard. Here is our selection of the latest nature books, newsletters and magazines that cross landscapes, environments and experiences.
Organic food producer Claire Ratinon’s first book explores the complexities of belonging and connecting to the land. Told through a personal memoir, she explores her own life and unearths the history of colonization and slavery. “When I decided to become a grower, I never imagined it would lead me to write a book. But engaging in the act of growing food has changed me from the inside, allowing me to cultivate a deep connection to the natural world and a sense of place that had – previously – been absent,” she says. gal-dem. “This journey has been so transformative that I felt compelled to write it down into a story I could share.”
RadicleDecolonize the garden
Founded by gardener Sui Searle, Decolonize the garden is an online platform aimed at viewing gardening through the lens of anti-racism, equality and justice. Their alternative gardening newsletter Radicle aims to compost dominant systems while “seeking a future in which liberation is a collective”. Radicle delves weekly into the worlds and thoughts of gardeners, growers and nature lovers, tackling topics like neoliberal capitalism, volunteer gardening and understanding what a weed is. Fun fact, ‘radicle’ is the name given to the primary root of the plant and this is where the word ‘radical’ comes from – forming the root.
bird girl, Mya-Rose Craig
Since a young age, Mya-Rose Craig has been obsessed with birds. In fact, birdwatching is a family affair – Craig’s parents took her to her first twitch when she was just nine days old. The family “stood out from the crowd” among middle-class white birdwatchers, writes Craig, because his mother is Bangladeshi Sylheti. Since that first tick, Craig, now 20, has seen more than 5,000 types of birds (half of the world’s species) on seven different continents. His new memoirs bird girl – named after her blog which she started in 2014 to document her bird sightings – is an exploration of this deep love for birds, intertwined with her family’s personal story and against the backdrop of a fight for justice. climatic. “Birds serve as a kind of canary in the coal mine for climate change,” writes Craig, who is also the founder of Black2Naturean organization helping urban youth of color connect with nature.
Flock Together: Outsiders: Connecting People of Color to Nature, Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera
grouped together is a birding and nature watching group founded by creative director Ollie Olanipekun and athletic trainer Nadeem Perera in 2020 with the goal of helping reconnect people of color to the natural world through their birding walks birds. Now, their first book puts their practice into words, exploring their own connection to nature and how people of color can also find their place in the natural world through part memoir and part manifesto.
I belong hereAnita Sethi
After being the victim of a racist hate crime, naturalist writer Anita Sethi embarks on a journey of recovery through the natural landscape of northern England. The first of the trilogy, this powerful memoir exploring identity, place and belonging becomes a call to action. “I knew in every bone of my body, in every fiber of my being, that I had to report what happened, not just for me, but to help stop anyone else from going through what I did. I knew I couldn’t stay silent, or else, I couldn’t stop walking through the world,” writes Anita.
Testimonies of Jamaican History Vol 1., Zakia McKenzie
Rough Trade and The Garden Museum have teamed up to create a collection of four informative brochures exploring the ‘complicated’ and ‘curious’ nature of gardens and culture. Testimonies on the history of Jamaica Volume 1. by Zakiya McKenzie, Doctoral Candidate in Caribbean Literature, examines the book of slave owner and author Edward Long Jamaican history as “[Long’s] controversy supported the enslavement of African and Caribbean peoples and the monopolies and monocultures that took place through the natural environment. The brochure series also includes Horticultural appropriation by Claire Ratinon and Sam Ayre, which examines why horticulture needs to be decolonized.