‘Naked’ Offers A Fresh Look at the Environment

Regular college students may not have time for nature. They may be too busy going to class to notice the trees around them, and they may not be aware that the car they take to school or work is polluting the air that everyone breathes. When you are stuck on the 405, in the urban sprawl that is Southern California, nature can seem very distant.
That is the wrong attitude to have, says Susan Zakin, editor of a new anthology of nature writing called ‘Naked: Writers Uncover the Way We Live on Earth.’ She has assembled a large group of literary journalists, essayists and novelists to give an adrenaline shot back into the environmental literature genre. These thrilling pieces describe the encounters between humans and the complex natural world they inhabit.
Zakin’s aim is to replace the staid, ‘impossibly moral’ environmentalism of the past with a vibrant, adventurous consciousness of the world that is not preachy or tree-hugging, but irreverent and engaging. A journalist has a close call with a cobra in the African desert. A recent college graduate gets a job protecting endangered birds at a nude beach. A woman spends her summer on a chicken farm, killing chickens. These are just some of the offbeat narratives in this compelling book.
This is not your mother’s environmentalism. No mention of that word is found in the 30 works, some excerpted from longer narratives. The authors