Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Are You There, Oprah? It’s Me, Erin

Dear Oprah, First of all, I hope you don’t mind me addressing you this way. If the title of my letter reminds you of Judy Blume’s classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, that’s only because, in terms of the bookselling community, you really are no less than a god. And I mean that in an Old Testament, terrifying and power-wielding kind of way. Secondly, did you get the book I sent? Of course, there have been a few, but I’m referring to the most recent one, An Unreasonable Woman by Diane Wilson. It came in a yellow Jiffy padded envelope with UPS Tracking number IZ 040 871 03 4495 6004. Have you seen it? I sent it out last Tuesday, attention: you. In case you missed the package, or in the event it was snatched up by a rival book club host lingering outside your mailroom, here’s a brief reminder of its contents: Diane Wilson was a fourth generation shrimper and a mother of five when she learned that her tiny county was rated among the ten most toxic in the US. At that point she began what would turn into a heroic, 12-year campaign against the toxic emissions from Formosa and Dow Chemical that were poisoning her community with cancer and destroying the bay she counted on for a living. Her new book, An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas, is the wild story of her fight. The package I sent included the book, and might have also included a fashionable black and hot pink button that reads: An Unreasonable Woman. Diane’s book is out this fall and had been getting rave reviews, but now a trespassing charge from one of her political actions is threatening to put Diane in prison for 4 to 5 months! Oprah, I know you wanted to have Diane on your show—mainly because she had a dream about being on the program. But I’m writing today to warn you that if you don’t hurry up and call us, she’s going to have to go to prison and we’ll both be screwed! You’re probably thinking “What can I, O, possibly do about this?” Well, there are several easy options. The first and most preferable is to call me immediately at 802-295-6300 x106 and arrange to meet with Diane Wilson, probably while wearing your “Unreasonable Woman” button and holding a well-combed copy of her book. Another option is for you to personally visit Diane in prison. This wouldn’t be quite as good, since I’m told you would not be allowed to wear a button inside the facility. Third, even if you miss Diane entirely, you can still promote her book on your show! It would also really help if you could carry a copy everywhere you go. Any of these options would be preferable to the course your producers seem to be pursuing right now, which is to ignore Diane Wilson entirely. Please, Oprah, don’t let me down! Sincerely, Erin L Hanrahan PS. If you want to talk to Oxygen about buying Diane’s film option from Lifetime and producing a movie, that would be OK, too.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..