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Friday, March 12th, 2021 by

Envirojournalist Ben Raines has been passionate about the natural world for his entire life, a good bit of which has been spent quietly exploring the Mobile-Tensaw Delta by boat. His new book, Saving America’s Amazon: The Threat to Our Nations Most Biodiverse River System, is the ultimate expression of that mission, as is evidenced in the book’s sweeping discussion about the environmental perils facing the delta and its many glorious companion photographs. The Alabama delta is one of our nation’s most biodiverse ecosystems — it has more species of insects and fish and flora and fauna than Colorado and California combined. Its abundant biodiversity has been recognized by many, including E.O. Wilson, considered the father of the field of biodiversity and the contributor of the foreword to Ben Raines’s book, and now Booklist too, which has named Saving America’s Amazon to its Top 10 Books on the Environment and Sustainability in 2021. Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association, writes that the book is among “the most clarifying and resonant books about environmental issues and sustainability” and that it “tell(s) the elucidating and affecting stories of endangered animals and places…”

Booklist isn’t the only outlet recognizing Saving America’s Amazon as an important new release. WBEZ Chicago’s Reset spoke with Raines about the biodiversity of the delta and how special the area is when compared with other ecosystems around the country. The author’s expertise about the flora and fauna of the Mobile area is on full display in this conversation with Susie An, so nature lovers should delight. Alabama’s top book reviewer Don Noble says that “Ben Raines is on his way to becoming a household name” and writes for Alabama Public Radio that Saving America’s Amazon is “gorgeous and impassioned … jaw-dropping.”  We certainly agree. For Raines, though, it’s all about the Delta. “Coming out in a boat in the delta, you may as well be in the Amazon,” he told Debbie Elliott on NPR’s Weekend Edition. “It’s just so seductive.” Most important of all is its preservation, and Saving America’s Amazon is an important call for us to take its future seriously.

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