Books

Silent Seasons is now at Burning Books!

Now that Silent Seasons is published and available for purchase as an ebook and paperback, I’ve shifted into a new phase of the book process: sharing it with the world! This is a steep learning curve for me and comes with strong feelings of inadequacy and fear, but the more I face it all, the easier (and more fun) it gets.

I am so grateful to Burning Books out of Buffalo, NY for being the first brick-and-mortar bookstore to carry Silent Seasons! You can buy your copy at the store, or order directly from their website HERE.

If you’re reading this before November 3rd, you’re invited to come out to Burning Books at 7pm for a Silent Seasons book talk! Check out the above flyer. And please support the Burning Books expansion project via their online fundraiser HERE.

 

Books, Plants and Animals

Silent Seasons Inspiration Story

Here is my original inspiration story for Silent Seasons. It really hits at my “why” for all of the work I do, including creating this book.

Warning: this is a sad dog story.

I started writing Silent Seasons with the Book Creator program and New Degree Press last November. The first piece of writing that my development editor, Cassandra, read and reviewed for me is my book’s “inspiration story,” which didn’t make it into the book. Although I was going to include it in the Introduction, Cassandra and I agreed to leave it out because it was so sad and in the end, more disconnected from the rest of the book than I originally expected. I am saving my animal stories for the next book 🙂


One afternoon in November 2020, I said goodbye to my parents’ dog, Archer, on the kitchen floor of my parents’ house, located on a dead end road in a small town south of Buffalo, New York. Archer was a 100-pound Rottweiler in a lot of pain from the ravages of bone cancer at age 9. On this particular day, the last one he spent on this Earth, Archer was laying on my parents’ kitchen floor of dark green tiles while I lay next to him. He welcomed the warm touch of my hands, but was too weak and in too much pain to move much or get up. A large tumor had been growing on the back of his neck, at the base of his skull, for months now, and he struggled with doing much of anything anymore.

I petted him, and softly said, “It’s ok, Archer. You’re an amazing dog and don’t deserve to feel this type of pain. I will tell the world who you are, what has happened to you, who did this to you, and that so many more of our family dogs have died this way before you.”

Archer, being a dog, didn’t answer me back in words, but he always had a soulful, human way about him (especially in his eyes) and he looked at me in a knowing, resolute way. He remained calm and peaceful while I was talking, and I could feel his pain and fatigue while I petted him this one last time.

While we lay there quietly on the floor, rainbows flashed across his black fur as the sun shone light through a kitchen window at just the right angle. I noticed that it matched the new pair of black Vans with rainbow stripes down the side I was wearing.

I still wear this pair of shoes and remember my last day with Archer, and the importance of writing this book.

I’ve stayed silent about how the past six dogs in my family have died young of cancer because revisiting this truth is SO PAINFUL, but it is a big reason why I devote my life and work to environmental law, sustainability, and what to do about climate change. My family’s dogs have always been like “extended siblings” to me. Too many people and animals I love have died of cancer, and as an environmental lawyer and planner with 15 years of education and experience, I know it’s (largely) because we are all living in an environment that is steeped in low-grade (to high-grade) poisons.

I have stayed silent about what I see and what I know in my personal and professional life for too many seasons – literally years of seasons. I am writing this book to break the silence.


Silent Seasons is available as an e-book now, and a paperback within the next couple of days! Check out the “Book” page on this website for more information.

Books, Climate Change, Sustainability

Silent Seasons the E-Book is Here!

Silent Seasons

Chasing Sustainability through the Law

by: Laura Evans

e-book available for purchase on Amazon HERE for 99¢ until September 28th (then $4.99)!

e-book also available for purchase on Kobo HERE for $4.99!

Paperback arrives the first week of October 2022.

Publisher: New Degree Press

 

———-

Silent Seasons: Chasing Sustainability through the Law is a thought leadership book about sustainability and US environmental law based on what author Laura Evans has experienced and learned as an environmental lawyer, consultant, and nonprofit staffer living in both Western New York and Austin, Texas.

Silent Seasons combines personal stories and legal information to teach the reader:

  • How specific environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act work.
  • How the current U.S. environmental law system is organized and failing us all.
  • How you can benefit from personal sustainability lessons I learned along the way.
  • How to create a broader framework for addressing current problems like climate change, water pollution, air pollution, species extinction, and more.
  • How to make chicken noodle soup.

The stories and lessons in this book will give the reader broader perspectives and new ways of thinking about sustainability, which will empower us all to move toward a more healthy and sustainable future together.

Interview, Podcast, Politics

Episode 83: 2021 Election

Hi, it’s the week of October 25, 2021 and everything is wild! The elections that are happening locally for the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Western New York, and therefore New York State are shaping up to be intense. It’s exhausting and exciting at the same time. And here is a new podcast episode about it all!

I am proud to say that the Keeping Things Alive Podcast has turned into one of the longest things/projects that I have ever stuck with in my life (that and avoiding sugar since 2014 — omg sugar impacts my brain and body so much!). It’s gotten to the point where I have an annual voting episode, and here it is again! Time flies.

Just in time for the start of early voting which started this past Saturday October 23rd and runs until this Sunday October 31st, this episode is another “ballot review” episode that I put together with John Washington for this year’s election in Buffalo, NY. This is the third year in a row that we have done a review of what government positions will be on the Buffalo, NY ballot. John is a community organizer and political educator out of Buffalo, NY. He’s been on the podcast many times before and I promise that I will re-publish those episodes in the coming months – I am in the process of a re-boot for this website and the podcast, too (stay tuned for new things happening to this site and podcast in 2022!).

The purpose of this ballot review episode is help listeners become aware of what government positions are on the ballot (in the City of Buffalo, which also includes some Erie County seats and voter propositions that apply beyond City of Buffalo residents), and how they may affect an average person’s life. We change it up this year and discuss particular candidates and how we feel about them.

I know that many people fear change, but considering the devastating physical changes that are happening to our planet and all people living on it (mostly due to thoughtless industrialization and greed), the type of change and leadership that India Walton brings to the table is needed in the City of Buffalo and everywhere, like yesterday. I also support Kimberly Beaty to be the Erie County Sheriff. This podcast has covered the human rights violations that continue to take place within the Erie County Holding Center and jail system for years – again, time for actual, accountable leadership and change.

Here is a link to John Washington’s 2021 Ballot Review, streaming on SoundCloud (you can also get it on your favorite podcast player app, Spotify, Google Play, and more). Enjoy!

Here is the website of the Erie County Board of Elections.

Here is the website of the New York Working Family’s Party.

Podcast, Post

Season 6 is here!

Hi all,

Apologies for the silence, but Season 6 started in May! Here are links to the episodes that have been published so far:

  • Season 6 Welcome: intentions for the season, and a conversation about the current moment with Jim Anderson
  • May 2021 Info Collage: learn about NY’s new cannabis law, the herb self-heal, the Fool tarot card, and the police in Erie County.
  • EmZee: art, mental health, and Eden, NY
  • June 2021 Info Collage: learn more about the herb plantain, the Erie County sheriff election, cannabis in NY, and the Page of Wands tarot card

As you can see, this season is set up a little bit different. The plan is to run it from May until November, and publish two episodes each month. One monthly episode will be the “standard” long-form interview, while the other will be an “info collage” that is covering four different topics: the legalization of cannabis in New York State, learning about the healing properties of an herb, discussing a tarot card, and hearing stories of peoples’ experiences with the police in Erie County.

Thanks for being here, and I’m looking forward to sharing more information, stories, and conversations about what is happening in and around Western New York as we all do our best to “keep things alive” and move forward on this beautiful and brutal Planet Earth.

Love,

Laura

 

P.S. One more thing: this season, we have EmZee creating the cover art for each episode! Check out @onyxarcplanet on Instagram for more amazing images and videos by EmZee <3

 

Interview, Podcast, Politics, Post

Episode 76: Season 5 Wrap

Season 5 has come to a close! Episode 76: Season 5 Wrap, starts with Laura going through the season episode-by-episode and reflecting on what happened (recorded on Jan. 6, 2021). After that, at the 27:10 mark, Laura shares a conversation with John Washington (recorded over Zoom on Dec. 30, 2020) where they reflect on 2020 U.S. Election results, Biden’s Cabinet picks so far, & the Covid-19 pandemic.

Note: this episode contains a conversation about the Covid-19 Pandemic and is NOT medical advice. If you want/need medical advice, look elsewhere (maybe start with your doctor and/or www.cdc.gov).

Here are links to the shownotes with more information on what was discussed during Episode 76: Season 5 Wrap:

Climate Change, Interview, Podcast, Politics, Sustainability

Episode 58: Climate Jobs & Justice

I am so tired of having to do workshops around environmental racism and classism and environmental justice and seeing how cancer has devastated each and every person who comes to these workshops, whether it’s directly in their family or someone that they know.

Episode 58 of the Keeping Things Alive Podcast features Laura’s conversation about the Climate Community & Protection Act with Geovaira Hernández. Geo is the Climate Justice Organizer for PUSH Buffalo, and spent the first half of 2019 working directly for NYRenews to pass the CCPA during the 2019 New York Legislative Session (note: a different version of the CCPA did pass, and now it is called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which you can hear more about in Episode 59).

In this episode, Laura and Geo talk about environmental justice, environmental racism, and why passing climate justice legislation is so important for people and the planet.

Here are the shownotes, with links to more information on what is discussed during Laura’s conversation with Geo:

Interview, Podcast

Episode 57: Andrew Marcum

Episode 57 of the Keeping Things Alive Podcast features Laura’s conversation with Andrew Marcum. Andrew has a PhD in American Studies with a specialization in disability studies and the history of disability in the U.S. He teaches Disability Studies for the City University of New York as an adjunct professor, does consulting work around accessibility and disability rights, and works at the Center for Self Advocacy in Buffalo.

In this episode, Laura and Andrew talk about the history of disability rights in the U.S., the importance of public transit, accessibility, & more.

Here are the shownotes, with links to more information on what is discussed during Laura’s conversation with Andrew:

Climate Change, Politics, Post

Climate Justice Activism on the World Stage

Greta Thunberg, spoke to the leaders of 190 countries attending the United Nations COP24 conference on climate change in Poland last week. Here is the text of her speech:

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old.

I am from Sweden.

I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now.

Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do.

But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference.

And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.

You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.

Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.

We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.

We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.

We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.

Thank you.

CNN reported that Thurnberg “all but shamed the 190 countries represented at the United Nations COP24 conference in Poland last week.

Here is a link to the video of her speech from Democracy Now!.