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Island Press began with a simple idea: knowledge is power—the power to imagine a better future and find ways for getting us there. Founded in 1984, Island Press’ mission is to provide the best ideas and information to those seeking to understand and protect the environment and create solutions to its complex problems.

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The Uncommon Knowledge of Elinor Ostrom

Essential Lessons for Collective Action

Island Press

Fifty years ago, conventional thinking among economists and environmentalists was that depletion of natural resources could only be prevented through the free market or government regulation. This notion was upended by Elinor Ostrom, whose work to show that regular people could sustainably manage their community resources won her the Nobel Prize in Economics. Ostrom’s revolutionary proposition fundamentally changed how we think about environmental governance. 
 
In The Uncommon Knowledge of Elinor Ostrom, author Erik Nordman brings to life Ostrom’s brilliant mind. Ostrom’s research proved that people can and do act in collective interest, and her ideas about common resources have played out around the world, from Maine lobster fisheries to taxicab use in Nairobi. Ostrom broke barriers at a time when women were regularly excluded from academia. Her message of shared collective action is more relevant than ever for solving today’s most pressing environmental problems.
 

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Curbing Traffic

The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives

Island Press

In Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives, mobility experts Melissa and Chris Bruntlett chronicle their experience living in the Netherlands and the benefits that result from treating cars as visitors rather than owners of the road. They weave their personal story with research and interviews with experts and Delft locals to help readers share the experience of living in a city designed for people.
 
Their insights will help decision makers and advocates to better understand and communicate the human impacts of low-car cities: lower anxiety and stress, increased independence, social autonomy, inclusion, and improved mental and physical wellbeing.
 
Curbing Traffic provides relatable, emotional, and personal reasons why it matters and inspiration for exporting the low-car city.
 

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Recast Your City

How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing

Island Press

In Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing, community development expert Ilana Preuss explains how local leaders can revitalize their downtowns or neighborhood main streets by bringing in and supporting small-scale manufacturing. Small-scale manufacturing businesses help create thriving places, with local business ownership opportunities and well-paying jobs that other business types can’t fulfill.

Preuss draws from her experience working with local governments, large and small, from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Columbia, Missouri, to Fremont, California.  She provides tools, such as her five-step method for recasting your city, that local leaders in government, business, and real estate as well as entrepreneurs and advocates in every community can use.
 
 

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New Mobilities

Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies

Island Press

In New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies, transportation expert Todd Litman examines 12 emerging transportation modes and services that are likely to significantly affect our lives: bike- and carsharing, micro-mobilities, ridehailing and micro-transit, public transit innovations, telework, autonomous and electric vehicles, air taxis, mobility prioritization, and logistics management.

Public policies around New Mobilities can either help create heaven, a well-planned transportation system that uses new technologies intelligently, or hell, a poorly planned transportation system that is overwhelmed by conflicting and costly, unhealthy, and inequitable modes. His expert analysis will help planners, local policymakers, and concerned citizens to make informed choices about the New Mobility revolution.
 

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Schools That Heal

Design with Mental Health in Mind

Island Press

What would a school look like if it was designed with mental health in mind? Too many public schools look and feel like prisons, designed out of fear of vandalism and truancy. But we know that nurturing environments are better for learning. Access to nature, big classroom windows, and open campuses consistently reduce stress, anxiety, disorderly conduct, and crime, and improve academic performance. Backed by decades of research, Schools That Heal showcases clear and compelling ways—from furniture to classroom improvements to whole campus renovations—to make supportive learning environments for our children and teenagers. With invaluable advice for school administrators, public health experts, teachers, and parents Schools That Heal is a call to action and a practical resource to create nurturing and inspiring schools for all children.

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Overtourism

Lessons for a Better Future

Island Press

COVID-19 put a temporary stop to the crisis of overtourism. Yet there is no question that travel will resume; the only question is, when it does, what will it look like?

Overtourism: Lessons for a Better Future charts a path toward tourism that is not only sustainable but regenerative for the places we love and the people who live there. This practical book examines the causes and effects of overtourism before turning to emerging management strategies. Visitor education, traffic planning, and redirection to lesser known sites are among the measures that can protect the economic benefit of tourism without overwhelming local communities.

As tourism revives around the world, these innovations will guide government agencies, parks officials, site managers, civic groups, environmental NGOs, tourism operators, and others with a stake in protecting our most iconic places.
 

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A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation

Uniting Design, Economics, and Policy

Island Press

Tens of millions of Americans are at risk from sea level rise, increased tidal flooding, and intensifying storms. A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation identifies a bold new research and policy agenda and provides implementable options for coastal communities responding to these threats. In this book, coastal adaptation experts present a range of climate adaptation policies that could protect coastal communities against increasing risk, including concrete financing recommendations. Coastal adaptation will not be easy, but it is achievable using varied approaches. A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation will inspire innovative and cross-disciplinary thinking about coastal policy at the state and local level while providing actionable, realistic policy and planning options for adaptation professionals and policymakers.

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Getting to the Heart of Science Communication

A Guide to Effective Engagement

Island Press

Scientists today working on controversial issues from climate change to drought to COVID-19 are finding themselves more often in the middle of deeply traumatizing or polarized conflicts they feel unprepared to referee. It is no longer enough for scientists to communicate a scientific topic clearly. They must now be experts not only in their fields of study, but also in navigating the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of members of the public they engage with, and with each other. And the conversations are growing more fraught.
 
In Getting to the Heart of Science Communication, Faith Kearns has penned a succinct guide for navigating the human relationships critical to the success of practice-based science. This meticulously researched volume takes science communication to the next level, helping scientists to see the value of listening as well as talking, understanding power dynamics in relationships, and addressing the roles of trauma, loss, grief, and healing.
 

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Building Community Food Webs

Island Press

In Building Community Food Webs, Ken Meter shows how grassroots leaders across the U.S. are constructing civic networks to create healthier and more equitable food systems. Overturning extractive economic structures, these inspired food leaders are engaging low-income residents, farmers, and local organizations in their quest to build stronger communities. 

Network-building takes a variety of forms and arises out of multiple activities. Farmers and researchers may convene to improve farming practices collaboratively. Food banks engage their clients to challenge the root causes of poverty. Municipalities invest large sums to protect farmland from development.

Building Community Food Webs captures the essence of these efforts, and offers pragmatic insights for community food leaders anywhere.
 

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Flames of Extinction

The Race to Save Australia's Threatened Wildlife

Island Press

In the early months of 2020, the world’s attention was riveted on Australia, where the nation’s iconic wildlife fought for survival in the face of unprecedented wildfires. Images of koalas drinking from firefighters’ water bottles went viral and became the global face of a catastrophe that would kill as many as three billion animals. Known as the Black Summer, the fire season was responsible for more wildlife deaths and near-extinctions than any other single event in Australian history. Flames of Extinction, written by a journalist at the heart of this news coverage, is the first book to tell the stories of Australia’s record-setting fires, focusing on the wild animals and plants that will be forever changed. Through evocative and urgent storytelling, Flames of Extinction puts readers on the ground to witness the aftermath of one of Australia’s greatest tragedies and inside the inspiring effort to save lives.

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