Eight new books for ecosocialists

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus offers up eight new books as recommended reading for ecosocialists. Inclusion does not imply agreement with a book’s contents.

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1. The Biofuels Deception: Going Hungry on the Green Carbon Diet
By Okbazghi Yohannes
Monthly Review Press, 2018

Eliminating fossil fuels is essential, but biofuels have far more to do with sating profit-hungry corporations than saving the Earth. Combining meticulous scientific narrative with devastating economic analysis, Yohannes argues that the seemingly innovative, hopeful campaign for “green energy” is actually driven by bio-technology industries and global grain-trading corporations. These forces have no real interest in mitigating climate change, alleviating poverty, or creating “clean” energy.

2. Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat
By Marion Nestle
Basic Books, 2018

Just as Big Pharma has corrupted medicine, so Big Food has corrupted nutrition. The nutrition societies, committees and government departments that are supposedly protecting us are actually in the food industry’s pocket.

In this documented expose, renowned food expert Marion Nestle reveals how big food companies took over nutrition science, and proposes ways to take it back.

3. The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers & American Power
By Megan Black
Harvard University Press, 2018

Since the 1800s, the US Department of the Interior has worked to satisfy US industry’s insatiable demand for raw materials. Using many justifications — manifest destiny, hemispheric pacification, Cold War, globalisation — its consistent goal has been to ensure that nature is at the disposal of US hegemony.

4. Fictions of Sustainability: The Politics of Growth & Post-Capitalist Futures
By Boris Frankel
Greenmeadows, 2018

If post-growth societies are to have a chance of success, it is first necessary to have at least some minimal idea of how highly integrated socio-economic relations and resources can be altered. This book subjects both conservative and reform-orientated defenders of capitalist societies on the one side, and the policies and imagined futures advanced by green and socialist critics on the other to detailed scrutiny.

5. Indigenous Sovereignty & Socialism
By Valerie Lannon & Jesse McLaren
International Socialists, 2018

“As the two Row Wampum made clear 400 years ago, it is not up to settlers to steer the course of Indigenous national liberation movements but to provide unconditional support,” write Valerie Lannion and Jesse McLaren.

“This requires revolutionizing settler society, by building unity and solidarity within the working class, which includes Indigenous workers.”

6. Coral Whisperers: Scientists on the Brink
By
Irus Braverman
University of California Press, 2018

Today’s coral scientists are struggling to save coral reef ecosystems from the imminent threats of rapidly warming, acidifying, and polluted oceans. Gleaning insights from leading scientists and conservation managers, Braverman documents a community caught in an existential crisis and alternating between despair and hope.

Corals emerge not only as signs and measures of environmental catastrophe, but also as catalysts for action.

7. The Moral Economists: R.H. Tawney, Karl Polanyi, E.P. Thompson & the Critique of Capitalism

By Tim Rogan
Princeton University Press, 2018

What’s wrong with capitalism? Answers to that question today focus on material inequality, but an earlier generation radical writers focused on human solidarity and the “moral economy” — everything mainstream economics leaves out.

 

Rogan examines the alternatives they offered, explains why their critique fell into disuse, and suggests ways to reformulate it in the 21st century.

8. Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture & Changed the Way the World Eats 
By Maryn McKenna
National Geographic Books, 2017

In the middle of the last century, antibiotics fuelled the rapid rise of chicken from local delicacy to everyday protein source. The consequences — to agriculture, human health and modern medicine — were devastating.

McKenna shines a light on the hidden forces of industrialisation, the repercussions of runaway antibiotic use and the outcome for future generations.