Five new books for ecosocialists

August 21, 2019

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at new books for green lefts on how the richest drive climate change; planning from below; the Scottish clearances; slime; and eco-socialism and practical utopias.

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Carbon Inequality: The Role of the Richest in Climate Change
By Dario Kenner
Routledge, 2019
Focusing on the US and Britain, Dario Kenner studies the role of the richest people in contributing to climate change through luxury consumption investments. He shows how those running large oil and gas companies have successfully used their political influence to lobby the governments, and have played a crucial role in blocking a low-carbon transition in the US.

Planning From Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal
By Marta Harnecker & José Bartolomé
Monthly Review Press, 2019

Political scientist, author, and activist Marta Harnecker, who passed away aged 82 in June, devoted her life to collaborating in building radical democracy in Latin American communities. In her last book, written with Spanish economist José Bartolomé, she shares her wisdom on how communities everywhere can gain empowerment. The book looks at how poor people can control their destinies when they become involved in the planning process.

The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed, 1600-1900
By TM Devine
Penguin Books, 2019

This book tells a story of forced clearance, of the destruction of entire communities and of large-scale emigration. In 18th century Scotland, traditional ways of life were overturned by the “rational” exploitation of land use. A superb and highly original account of this terrible process, which changed Scotland’s Lowlands and Highlands forever.

Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us
By Ruth Kassinger
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

Algae created the Earth we know today, with its oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans and coral reefs. Crude oil is made of dead algae, and algae are the ancestors of all plants. It is hailed as a new source of food and fuel, and condemned as the cause of oceanic dead zones around the world. Ruth Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes and into-the-kitchen tour.

Eco-Socialism Now And For The Future: Practical Utopias and Rational Action
By Robert Albritton
Palgrave Macmillan, 2019

It is increasingly apparent that capitalism cannot stave off the truly frightening ecological disasters that threaten the future of life on Earth. While changes at a local level are important, changes at a global level are essential. Robert Albritton proposes “practical utopias” as a process of thinking by which short-term changes tend in the direction of desirable changes in the long term.

[Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement of the book or any of its contents.]

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