To raise awareness about global environmental issues, the UC Santa Barbara Libraries have launched a community-wide effort called UCSB Reads for Earth Day.
The project, which is sponsored by Patagonia and the Santa Barbara Public Library System, encourages everyone to read "Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change," Elizabeth Kolbert's award-winning book on global warming, by April 22, Earth Day.
Beginning on Jan. 25, UCSB's Davidson Library will give 3,000 free copies of Kolbert's book to registered UCSB students.
Patagonia is purchasing 1,000 copies for its employees.
The UCSB Bookstore will be selling the book at a 25 percent discount, and Santa Barbara public libraries will have extra copies available for loan throughout Santa Barbara County.
A number of related campus and community activities are being planned for the months leading up to Earth Day, including a free presentation by Kolbert on April 19 at UCSB.
"Given the history of Santa Barbara as a center for environmental concern and stewardship and that the environment is one of the integrating themes in UCSB's Academic Plan, we have chosen this first book to reflect a timely and important aspect of this focus, " said Gene Lucas, UCSB executive vice chancellor.
"It is our hope that UCSB Reads will be an exciting and challenging annual activity for the campus and the community to read a contemporary book and engage in discourse and activities evoked by the subject matter."
Kolbert, who has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1999, traveled from Alaska to Greenland and visited top scientists to get to the heart of the debate over global warming.
Her book brings the environment into the consciousness of the American people and asks what, if anything, can be done to save the planet.
She received the American Association for the Advancement of Science's magazine writing award for the New Yorker series on which her book is based.