Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at five new books that take on where climate change may lead, the global water crisis, Europe’s Little Ice Age, the human costs of Haiti’s unending catastrophes, and why we should be against constructing nature.
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The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
By David Wallace-Wells
Penguin Random House, 2019
If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
The Water Paradox: Overcoming the Global Crisis in Water Management
By Edward B. Barbier
Yale University Press, 2019
Water shortages are fast becoming a persistent reality for all nations, rich and poor. Barbier draws on evidence from countries across the globe to show the scale of the problem, and outlines the policy and management solutions needed to avert this crisis.
Nature’s Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present
By Philipp Blom
WW Norton, 2019
In the ‘Little Ice Age’, climate change destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, and transformed the social and political fabric of Europe. A timely examination of how a society responds to profound and unexpected change.
There Is No More Haiti: Between Life and Death in Port-au-Prince
By Greg Beckett
University of California Press
In this gripping account, anthropologist Greg Becket shows what it feels like to live and die with a crisis that never seems to end. It is about the experience of living amid the ruins of ecological devastation, economic collapse, political upheaval, violence and humanitarian disaster.
The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation
By Frédéric Neyrat
Fordham University Press, 2018
Against the capitalist and technocratic delusion of earth as a constructible object, but equally against social constructivism, Neyrat shows what it means to appreciate Earth as an unsubstitutable becoming that escapes the hubris of all who would remake and master it.
[Inclusion on this list doesn’t imply endorsement of a book’s contents.]