A writer, naturalist, and filmmaker, Ben Raines has been reporting on environmental affairs in Alabama for most of this century. As a former journalist for the Press-Register, he served as our region’s foremost environmental watchdog. Since leaving the paper, he has worked in film, authored books and scientific papers, and served as the executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation, an environmental non-profit. His 2017 documentary about an ancient underwater cypress forest in the Gulf of Mexico, The Underwater Forest, was broadcast on public television, and other footage he’s shot has appeared on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV. In 2018, Raines made history when he discovered the remnants of the Clotilda, the last American slave ship, at the bottom of the Mobile River near Twelve Mile Island.
On December 12, Raines will release his latest offering to the world, Saving America’s Amazon, via New South Books. The book, which includes a foreword by eminent biologist and Mobile native E.O. Wilson, examines the rich biodiversity of the Mobile River Basin (a.k.a. “America’s Amazon”) and the environmental threats it faces as a result of pollution, increased development, and unscrupulous decisions by industry and elected officials. Yet despite a poor environmental record, Alabama still boasts more species per square mile than any other state.
Read my discussion with Raines over at Mobile Baykeeper.