Five new books for ecosocialists

April 25, 2019

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at five new books of particular interest to ecosocialists. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or agreement with all (or any) of its contents.

Ocean Outbreak: Confronting the Rising Tide of Marine Disease
By Drew Harvell
University of California Press, 2019

Fuelled by sewage dumping, unregulated aquaculture and drifting plastic in warming seas, marine epidemics are sentinels of impending global environmental disaster.

Ecologist Drew Harvell shows how corals, abalone, salmon, and starfish have been devastated by disease, and warns of a mass die-off of wildlife from the bottom to the top of the food chain, impacting the health of ocean ecosystems as well as lives on land.

Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future
By Darrin Qualman
Fernwood Publishing, 2019

The great strength of our modern word is also its great weakness. Our immense powers to turn resources and nature into products and waste imperil our future.

Darrin Qualman argues that the transition to linear systems and away from the circular patterns of nature is the foundational error — the underlying problem, the root cause of climate change, resource depletion, and a host of mega-problems now intensifying and merging, with potentially civilisation-cracking results.

Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History
By Lewis Dartnell
Basic Books, 2019

When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny?

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins examines how physical changes in the Earth System, from climate change to complex terrains to ocean and atmospheric currents, have shaped the evolution and shaper of human civilisations.

By Kate Ervine
Polity Books, 2018

To understand global warming and why it remains so difficult to address, we must go back to the origins of industrial capitalism and its swelling dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels to grease the wheels of growth and profitability.

Kate Ervine exposes emerging struggles to decarbonise our societies for what they are: battles over the very meaning of democracy and social and ecological justice.

Fundamentals of Microbiome Science: How Microbes Shape Animal Biology
By Angela E Douglas
Princeton University Press, 2018

Angela Douglas writes: “My purpose is to communicate that we can only understand how animals function by appreciating that an animal interacts unceasingly with the communities of microorganisms that live within and on the surface of its body.” This essential introduction to the latest developments in microbiome science assumes some university-level background in biology.

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