Denver Author Defending Biodiversity

When it comes to environmental news, many people thinking about global warming, ozone holes and overpopulation. A new book published by Pruett Publishing Co. in Boulder takes a different approach to the subject by looking at environmental success stories from around the world.

Environmental Heroes tackles recycling, land and water issues, alternative energy, natural products, wildlife and more. The book was inspired by a syndicated column written by Gary Chandler and Kevin Graham focusing on the subject. The focus is on things that work.

“We are trying to make a difference by finding positive efforts,” Chandler said. “We want to give positive recognition and take the high road on environmental issues.”

Chandler said that finding the good news is — for the most part — easy. It’s not too difficult finding the bad news, ither.

“If you focus on the bad news people think it’s hopeless,” Chandler said. “In the book, we say, here’s a phone number. Get involved and make a difference.”

Chandler and Graham also included a story about the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, which separates myth from fact in the world of herbal remedies. On it’s advisory board is U.S. Department of Agriculture economic botanist James Duke–also known as “Uncle Sam’s medicine man.” Chandler traveled with Duke across Indonesia in 1993.

“Duke has studied medicinal plants for more than 30 years,” Chandler said. “When he looks at tropical rainforests, he sees money, medicine and income for indigenous communities.”

Gary Chandler

Finding medicines in the rainforest offers some measure of protection, but without sustainable harvesting and production methods, those medicinal plants are doomed for extinction. Taking species out of the mix of biodiversity can cripple these ecosystems. However, Shaman Pharmaceuticals of San Francisco works closely with the local inhabitants to find ways to harvest products from the rainforest without destroying it.

Today, Chandler advocates for forest conservation, biodiversity and endangered species.

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