Island Press Events


Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood by Samuel Machado and Cynthia Sousa Machado with Steven M. Wise | An Island Press book

In-Person: An Evening with Cynthia and Sam Macado

Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 5:00pm EDT

Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
United States

Books & Books presents…



Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood

(Island Press, $30.00)

Saturday, June 10th, 5:00 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables


Books & Books is thrilled to present an evening with Cynthia & Sam Machado discussing their book: Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood (Island Press, $30.00).

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event so make sure to stay after the talk for a book signing! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:


Happy has lived at the Bronx Zoo for most of her 48 years, and for more than a decade has remained largely isolated and lonely. Like all elephants, Happy has a complex mind and a deep social, intellectual, and emotional life; she desires to make choices and has a sense of self-recognition. But like all nonhuman animals, Happy is considered a thing in the eye of the law, with no fundamental rights. Due to a series of groundbreaking legal cases, however, this is beginning to change—and Happy’s liberation is at the forefront. A vibrant and personal graphic novel, Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood traces this moving story and makes the legal and scientific case for animal personhood.

Led by lawyer Steven M. Wise and aided by some of the world’s most respected animal behavior and cognition scientists, the Nonhuman Rights Project has filed cases on behalf of nonhuman animals like Happy since 2013. Through this work, they have forced courts to consider the evidence of their clients’ cognitive abilities and their legal arguments for personhood, opening the door for similar cases worldwide. In Thing, comic artists Sam Machado and Cynthia Sousa Machado bring together Wise’s groundbreaking work and their powerful illustrations in the first graphic nonfiction book about the animal personhood movement. Beginning with Happy’s story and the central ideas behind animal rights, Thing then turns to the scientists that are revolutionizing our understanding of the minds of nonhuman animals such as great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. As we learn more about these creatures’ inner lives and autonomy, the need for the greater protections provided by legal rights becomes ever more urgent.

With cases like Happy’s growing in number and spanning from Argentina to India, nations around the world are beginning to recognize the rights of animals. Combining legal and social history, innovative science, and illustrated storytelling, Thing presents a visionary new way of relating to the nonhuman world.

About the Authors:

Cynthia Sousa Machado and Sam Machado are the-husband-and-wife team behind the cartoons “I Got This” and “If I Don’t Get Pants.” Their work together involves identity, politics and social justice issues. Their editorial cartoons have been found in the Guardian, The New Republic and Redbook. You can find their webcomic Cyberbunk on LINE Webtoon. Cynthia and Sam live and illustrate in Miami, FL.

A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention by Kristina Marusic | An Island Press book

CHE Café: Science, Storytelling & A New War on Cancer

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - 1:00pm EDT

“If we can stop cancer before it begins, why don’t we?”

This question motivated a deep-dive inquiry into cancer prevention for award-winning journalist Kristina Marusic. Her exploration uncovered an often invisible community of creative, talented individuals who dedicate their careers to identifying and challenging environmental drivers of cancer.

Marusic shares the stories of some of these changemakers in her recently released book A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention. 

“In searching for answers, she met remarkable doctors, scientists, and advocates who are upending our understanding of cancer and how to fight it. They recognize that we will never reduce cancer rates without ridding our lives of the chemicals that increasingly trigger this deadly disease.”

In this CHE Café conversation, Marusic will share highlights from her book including current cancer trends, and the latest scientific evidence linking cancer with exposure to chemicals found in consumer products and our food, water and air.

She’ll then be joined by one of the heroes profiled in the book — Children’s Environmental Health Network Executive Director Nsedu Obot Witherspoon — as well as renowned biologist, author, activist, and cancer survivor, Dr. Sandra Steingraber. The group will explore the power of storytelling as a tool for communicating complex scientific issues, and reaching people in ways that motivate action for change.

This CHE Café conversation will be co-hosted by The New School at Commonweal, and moderated by CHE Director Kristin Schafer.

“The war on cancer is winnable — if we revolutionize how we fight.” - Kristina Marusic

Featured Speakers

Kristina Marusic is an author and journalist who covers issues related to environmental health and justice for Environmental Health News. A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention is her first book. She's received recognition or awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Institute of Health Care Management, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, and the Carnegie Science Center for reporting on environmental health and justice. Marusic is also the co-founder of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists (a.k.a. NLGJA), and previously worked as a freelance journalist covering LGBT equality, feminism, social and environmental justice, activism, and politics with bylines at CNNSlateViceWomen's Health, the Washington PostMTV NewsThe Advocate, Logo TV's NewNowNext, and Bustle, among others. She believes true, well-told stories have the power to change the world for good.

Sandra Steingraber, PhD, a Senior Scientist with the Science and Environmental Health Network, is the author of a trilogy of award-winning books on environmental health: Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (adapted as a documentary film in 2010); Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood; and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Steingraber’s honors for her work as researcher and science writer include the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, the American Ethical Union’s Elliot-Black Award, and, in 2011, the Heinz Award. By donating the Heinz cash prize to the anti-fracking movement, she became, in 2012, co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of hundreds of grassroots organizations that helped win a statewide ban on fracking in 2015. The 2018 documentary film Unfractured told the story of New York State’s fracking ban, featuring Steingraber as its subject. Steingraber was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York from 2003-2021.

Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH is the Executive Director for the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) and a key spokesperson for children’s vulnerabilities and the need for their protection. She holds leadership roles in many spaces, including the External Science Board for the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes at NIH, the Health/Science initiative of the Cancer Free Economy Network and the National Environmental Health Partnership Council. Witherspoon is also member of the Board for Pesticide Action Network North America and the Environmental Integrity Project, and serves on the Maryland Children’s Environmental Health Advisory Council. One of CEHN’s leadership awards, the Nsedu Obot Witherspoon (NOW) Youth Leadership Award, is named in her honor. She is also a recent recipient of the William R. Reilly Award in Environmental Leadership from the Center for Environmental Policy at American University and the Snowy Egret Award from the Eastern Queens Alliance. Witherspoon is a proud mom to four children.

Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities by Veronica Davis | An Island Press book

Inclusive Transportation: Celebrating the Diverse Tapestry of America’s Biking Culture

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 1:00pm EDT

The United States is a diverse nation: however, the people responsible for creating our country’s transportation infrastructure have nearly always been White men. How can we confront this history of inequitable transportation and ensure that everyone in America is able to access transit systems and bike lanes?

As a way to reclaim space on streets traditionally dominated by cars, cyclists of cohesive identities are coming together to ride as one. Many of these groups are grassroots organizations, connecting through word of mouth and social media. Cycling groups allow individuals to build bonds with friends, neighbors, and strangers as they ride together and show that streets don’t only belong to cars.

In this webinar, transit professionals will discuss how our transportation systems are inherently inequitable and what steps we can take to change this reality. Leading the conversation will be Veronica Davis as she introduces her new book, Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities. Veronica co-founded Black Women Bike, an organization and movement which builds a community and interest in biking among black women through education, advocacy, and recreation.


Veronica Davis,  Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations for Houston, Texas
Olatunji Oboi Reed, Chairman & CEO, Equiticity Ventures
Michel Courval, Sales Representative, iGo Electric

Moderator Tamika Butler is a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

For more information, check out this article: Black rides matter: Diverse cycling groups show that biking is for everyone.

What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees by Stephen Buchmann | An Island Press book

Ask Me Anything Featuring Steve Buchmann

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 3:00pm PDT

Biography: Stephen Buchmann, a pollination ecologist specializing in bees, is the author of the new book, What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees (Island Press, 2023). This book is a lively journey into a bee’s mind reminds us that the world is more complex than our senses can tell us.

Buchmann is also an adjunct professor with the departments of Entomology and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. A Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, he has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers and eleven books, including The Forgotten Pollinators with Gary Nabhan (Island Press, 1996) and The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives (Scribner, 2015).

Buchmann is a frequent guest on many public media venues including NPR’s All Things Considered, and Science Friday. Reviews of his books have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time and Discover magazines and other national publications. He is an engaging public speaker on topics of flowers, pollinators, and the natural world. His many awards include the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, and an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book.

This virtual event is free and open to the public.

Can't attend, but have a question for them? Email the question.

More than a cycle lane: How investment in better walking and cycling networks improves accessibility for people with disabilities

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 3:00pm EDT

When planning for universal access design focus is often on technical guidelines, HOW to design more inclusive streets for people with disabilities. Perhaps less often discussed is understanding WHY investment in accessible public spaces is vital for their greater inclusion in daily life. Without this plans with good intentions can miss critical elements that may unintentionally hinder someone with mobility challenges.

In this webinar Melissa Bruntlett, urban mobility advocate and advisor with Mobycon, and Maya Levi, a dietician researcher who has Multiple Sclerosis and uses a combination of mobility scooter and elbow crutches for her daily mobility, discuss how communities with well-connected networks of traffic calmed streets, cycleways, and pedestrian spaces allow for greater inclusivity for people with varying abilities. Combining Maya's lived experience with Melissa's research into accessible and inclusive communities they will discuss public spaces that enable more human-scale travel and the benefits they offer, including improved physical, mental, and social health. Participants will gain a better understanding of the importance of ensuring people with disabilities maintain autonomous access to mobility, and how sustainable networks, especially for walking and cycling, improve their inclusion in daily civic life.

A Poison Like No Other by Matt Simon | An Island Press book

[Livable Future LIVE] How Microplastics Affect Our Health & Environment

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 3:00pm EDT

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that are increasingly found in our soil, water, wildlife and the food we eat. In fact, studies have shown that we may be consuming about a credit card’s worth of plastic each week. The full health impacts of microplastics on humans and wildlife are still being studied, but we know that many plastics contain toxic chemicals.

Plastic is a serious problem, and it’s time we address it at its source. Join us to learn from experts in the field about microplastics, links to the fossil fuel industry, and solutions we can work toward to protect ourselves and our environment from plastic pollution.


This event is part of Food & Water Watch's Livable Future LIVE monthly virtual event series.


Live captioning

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