The Power of Two

Vegetarian Times | February 2009

Ecologists, authors, filmmakers—and married couple—Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison are no strangers to teamwork. They’ve collaborated on dozens of projects, including the recently published Sanctuary: Global Oases of Innocence, which celebrates some of the world’s purest havens of biodiversity. Recently, Tobias and Morrison, who are vegetarians, talked with us about treading lightly and compassionately.

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Book review by Shambhala Sun

Shambhala Sun

This beautiful coffee table book is a visual and textual homage to the preservation of the natural world and to the individuals, worldwide, who protect it. Husband and wife team Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison traveled the world to document twenty-four havens for non-human life forms, from the Alertis bear refuge near Utrecht in the Netherlands to Gene Baur’s farm animal sanctuary in Upstate New York; from Howard Buffet’s cheetah reserve near Johannesburg in South Africa to the Kingdom of Bhutan, where 60 percent of the country is protected as inviolable primeval forest. Tobias and Morrison suggest that there is a “sanctuary movement” afoot, a spontaneous worldwide happening that will “rectify ongoing anthropogenic (human-induced) assaults on biodiversity; and halt the global epidemic of cruelty to animals.” This book gives us some evidence for hope.

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Biophilia, anyone?

The Southland Times | New Zealand

Stewart Island's global significance has been highlighted in internationally acclaimed ecologist, historian, anthropologist, explorer, author and film-maker Michael Tobias' latest film and book. Southland Times reporter Amy Milne spent a day with one of the natural world's renaissance men.

A fly is buzzing at the window of the Church Hill Cafe on Stewart Island as Michael Tobias sits down for lunch.

He quickly acts to save it, cupping his hand around it and gently scooping it towards the window he's opened to set it free.

"Everything is precious," he says.

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Heaven on Earth


by Michael Tobias & Jane Gray Morrison

Throughout the world, there are places where Mother Nature is honoured and protected. These sanctuaries are a step towards conserving our biosphere.

AUSTRALIA - For most of our lives we have searched the world for those rare places where humans have worked passionately to save remnants of the original Eden. There are, as it turns out, more than 114,000 protected areas on Earth. Some of them are enormous, such as Alaska’s Wrangell St Elias, the largest national park in the US at over 5.3 million hectares. Others are as tiny as the hectare comprising one of Japan’s most symbolic sanctuaries, the sand garden of Ryoan-ji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kyoto’s remarkable greenbelt.

What these protected areas share is the critical and timely lesson that celebrating nature may be the key to our future survival as a species, not to mention the survival of millions of other species that share this miraculous planet with us.

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The Race Against Extinction

2 Magazine

By François Oosthuizen

» Download a PDF of the full feature as seen in the magazine.

BANGKOK - The protection of biodiversity is now the biggest issue on Earth – much bigger than global warming. We are currently witnessing the sixth major extinction event in the history of our planet, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago. The co-producer of a new television documentary that takes cameras deep inside critical conservation areas around the world spoke exclusively to 2magazine while on a brief stopover in Bangkok.

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Midwest Book Review

The Environmental Studies Shelf

An awareness of environmental issues is now universal throughout first world and third world countries around the globe. That awareness of the diversity, beauty, and utility of what we humans must rescue, preserve and protect has now been beautifully and dramatically illustrated through the publication of "Sanctuary: Global Oases Of Innocence". The collaborative work of Michael Tobias (President of the Dancing Star Foundation, a nonprofit organization to global diversity conservation, animal protection, and environmental education) and Jane Gray Morrison (the Executive Vice President of the Dancing Star Foundation), "Sanctuary" is a 338-page compendium of full color photography showcasing twenty-four sanctuaries located throughout twenty different countries. Some of them are in private hands, others are public preserves, all of them are presented with an informed and informative text of description and explanation. Along with stunningly beautiful images of the flora and fauna. "Sanctuary" is a seminal and superbly produced volume of work that is enthusiastically recommended for personal, academic, and community library Environmental Studies and Photographic Studies collections and supplemental reading lists.

Sanctuary: The Passionate People Protecting The Planet

Prime Time Focus Radio

AARP - All around the world people who really care about animals and the environment are making a difference. Now a new book called Sanctuary picks some of the places where one person, through unfailing devotion, has changed things for the better. The authors have also made a stunning movie called Hot Spots that airs on November 2nd on PBS stations.

Prime Time Focus host Alyne Ellis reports on a book and television show with a clear focus - proving that dedicated people can make a difference when it comes to saving the fragile parts of our planet. Watch the preview of the PBS documentary Hot Spots, and then listen to Alyne's report on the film, and the new book Sanctuary.

Michael Tobias and Jane Morrison are the creative force behind the film and book. They run the Dancing Star Foundation, which has the goal of "helping humankind protect the natural world."

» Click here to listen online
» Click here to download MP3

Conservationist to attend Celebration of Books

Tulsa World

By James D. Watts, Jr. World Scene Writer

Oklahoma was one of the places considered for the film "Hotspots." That the state failed to end up in the finished documentary, however, is a good thing in the eyes of Michael Tobias.

Tobias, the executive director of the Dancing Star Foundation, is a writer and filmmaker who has devoted himself to issues of conservation, wildlife preservation and bio-diversity.

Tobias, along with his wife and frequent collaborator Jane Gray Morrison, will be at the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers' Celebration of Books on Saturday. They will take part in panel discussions on wildlife and conservation in life and literature, and will host a screening of their latest film, "Hotspots," at 7 p.m. at the Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave.

"A hot spot refers to a place on Earth — specifically on land — that contains at least 1,500 flowering plants endemic to the region, 70 percent of which are threatened with extinction," Tobias said, speaking by phone from New Zealand, where he is observing the re-introduction of two rare species of birds to an ecological preserve there.
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Red listed - biodiversity threatened

Australian On Line Opinion

By Jane Gray Morrison and Michael Tobias

Whether in orangutans, lambs or human children, innocence conjures a call to the heart; one that, in the musings of the Prophet Isaiah, evokes a vision of the wolf, lamb, leopard and goat nestled together in harmony. Such hints of vestigial Eden present tantalising scenarios not entirely out of kilter with the best laid plan of conservation, namely, the protection of large ecosystems with their intact assemblages of plants and animals.

This was the dream of Abraham Lincoln, who not only brought the nation together, but sought to include within that community protected natural areas beginning with his gift to the nation of the Mariposa Big Tree Grove of Giant Sequoias and Yosemite Valley on June 30, 1864. This action led to the creation of the national park system which some consider to be the best idea America ever devised.

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Man's erosion of Earth in focus

Daily Breeze

by Kristin S. Agostini

For three years, Michael Tobias traveled the globe documenting the daunting efforts under way to protect threatened plants and wildlife.

He's followed a stewardship program to protect an endangered parrot species in New Zealand and the native plantings occurring on Easter Island, once home to rich palm forests before humans ripped them from the landscape.

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SANCTUARY: Epublishers Weekly Review

EPublishers Weekly

Reviewed by Michael Pastore

Ralph Waldo Emerson drew his personal and literary power from a deep contact with the natural world. In a journal entry written in April in the year 1840, Emerson wrote:

"As I sat on the back of the Drop or God's pond ... I said to my companion I declare this world is so beautiful that I can hardly believe it exists."

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