By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Update, September 28: For several days, the COP26 digital book showcase is available for examination, carrying 150 searchable books about climate change and sustainability. This view into the showcase will be live through October 1 at this link.
Michiel Kolman: ‘This Purely Digital Showcase’A digital showcase of books on the climate crisis and sustainability has been announced today (September 7), with more than 35 publishers contributing titles.
The showcase, which will allow users to read the books in the display, is to be available free of charge during the November 1 to 12 COP26 meeting in Glasgow as well as during the run-up event, the Milan “Pre-COP” meeting, September 30 to October 3.
The showcase includes fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, and a separate collection of German-language books in light of an especially robust response, organizers say, from the German book publishing community. In the showcase, titles can be navigated through linked content pages, and search functionality can surface related content on key terms, topics, and authors.
At the end of this article, we’ll embed an illustrative video about the project and how to access its collections and read the books, thanks to Exact Editions’ creation of the video as an exclusive to Publishing Perspectives.
A partial listing of publishers contributing books to the showcase includes:
- Bristol University Press
- Chelsea Green
- Edinburgh University Press
- Firefly Press
- Island Press
- Nosy Crow
- Palgrave Macmillan
- Princeton University Press
The IPA, of course, has worked with the United Nations to create the SDG Publishers Compact, which was introduced at Frankfurter Buchmesse and in July announced that it had attracted more than 100 signatories to its commitment of 10 points of support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)—many of which are intimately related to the dynamics of the fast-rising debate around the climate crisis.
The IPA also has partnered with the UN on its SDG Book Club, which creates a special syllabus of books for children, each edition expressly matching one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
And Save the Children has created a series of articles and talking points around the climate crisis. As one of the most recent write-ups from the series says, “Children have contributed the least to the climate crisis but will pay the highest price.”
In March, for example, when we announced the news that Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature would begin publishing La Revista Banipal de literatura árabe moderna, the Spanish-language counterpart to Banipal, we learned that Exact Editions was the company that would create and distribute the new edition. Exact Editions had also created a digitized archive of close to 70 issues of the magazine, dating back to 1998.
Adam Hodgkin: ‘Such an Important Cause’
In a prepared comment from Adam Hodgkin, the co-founding chair of Exact Editions, we read, “The ability to effortlessly stream large archives and collections online means the platform is the ideal tool for publishers to project content in support of the COP26 conference.
“We’re proud to champion such an important cause and proud that the wide range of material makes the showcase compelling to people of any age and stage.”
Part of the functionality Hodgkin refers to is Exact Editions’ branded “Reading Room” provision, which allows publishers to issue streaming, time-limited access to digital editions of their content.
Michiel Kolman, chair of the IPA Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee, is quoted, saying, “Research has shown that reading has the power to deepen our understanding of key issues.
“In terms of climate change, both fiction and nonfiction genres help to inform, inspire and ultimately shape a sustainable culture.
“Publishers are also increasingly taking steps to reduce their own environmental footprints,” he says, pointing out the apt parallel of form and function in the project: “This purely digital showcase is indicative of a move to more sustainable initiatives.”
And Emma Wagner, Save the Children’s head of education policy and advocacy, speaks for the availability of young readers’ content in the collections.
“The showcase,” she says, “is a wonderful resource. “The role of children in tackling the climate crisis is crucial and the educational books included in the showcase enable them to simply understand complex issues and tackle them positively as they grow up.
“We call for more accessible and multilingual resources for children of all ages on climate change be made available worldwide.”
Exact Editions maintains a blog section on its site, and you can learn more about the new showcase there, and in the video below.
‘Defenses, Warning Systems, Infrastructure’
The plan for the new showcase of books on and related to the climate crisis is that it will run not only during COP26 and the Italian Pre-COP meeting, but that it will also be used parallel to other key events and alongside displays of other resources.
The timing of the project’s appearance—and the coming conferences—could hardly seem more apt, as heat waves, wildfires, ferocious storms, and fast-rising, deadly floodwaters this summer have prompted people in many parts of the world to focus more on the crisis than in the past. At the very least, the element of the COP26 goals that refers to “building defenses, warning systems, and resilient infrastructure” is clearly becoming urgent in the near-term, with the longer-range outlooks of “protecting and restoring ecosystems” to follow quickly.
Nick Perry at the Associated Press on Monday (September 6) wrote about how “The southern winter that just ended in New Zealand was the warmest ever recorded, and scientists say that climate change is driving temperatures ever higher.”
The Gulf of Mexico’s waters last week were so high last week as Hurricane Ida made landfall that one meteorologist described the seawater as “not a bathtub but a Jacuzzi.” Matt McGrath at BBC News wrote, “A new study shows that increases in extreme winter weather in parts of the United States are linked to accelerated warming of the Arctic. The scientists found that heating in the region ultimately disturbed the circular pattern of winds known as the polar vortex.”
In Athens, AP’s Derek Gatopoulos writes, “Greece’s center-right government has created a new ministry to address the impact of climate change and named former European Union commissioner Christos Stylianides as minister. “Stylianides, 63, who served as commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management between 2014 and 2019, was appointed in the wake of wildfires that burned more than 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of forest on the island of Evia and in southern Greece.”
And even as more than 45 people died in devastating flash-flooding in New York City, Shane Hickey at The Guardian is writing of how the flooding that struck England near the end of July “was mirrored in areas across London and in parts of Suffolk and the Isle of Wight, while in Europe record-breaking rainfall this summer has led to catastrophic destruction. This has been attributed to the climate crisis and scientists have warned of more to come as temperatures rise.”
As Rebecca Falconer reported Monday (September 6) for Axios, editors of more than 230 medical journals warned on Sunday, “Ahead of this November’s UN general assembly and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow: ‘The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C and to restore nature.'”
Below is the illustrative video created for Publishing Perspectives by Exact Editions.
Video: Exact Editions
Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.
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