Nine new titles for an ecosocialist bookshelf

The red and green shelf is overflowing! Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at nine important new books address topics ranging from ecosocialism and rising seas to trees, growth and global poverty.


The Emergence of Ecosocialism: Collected Essays by Joel Kovel
Edited by Quincy Saul
2Leaf Press, 2019

In 2001, Kovel and Michael Lowy co-authored An Ecosocialist Manifesto, a highly-influential attempt to define a new global movement. This book brings together declarations, essays and undelivered speeches, along with classic papers from Capitalism Nature Socialism, the journal Kovel edited for many years. An indispensable collection of his insightful and often idiosyncratic contributions to the cause of social and environmental liberation.

The Geography Of Risk: Epic storms, rising seas, and the cost of America’s coasts
By Gilbert M Gaul
Macmillan, 2019 (In Canada: Raincoast Books)

Americans have built US$3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains, supported by federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance. Gaul describes one of the worst planning failures in American history, and shows that the costs to taxpayers are reaching unsustainable levels.

The Songs of Trees: Stories From Nature’s Great Connectors
By David George Haskell
Penguin Random House, 2018

Scientific, lyrical, and contemplative, Davi George Haskell reveals the biological connections that underpin all life. In a world beset by barriers, he reminds us that life’s substance and beauty emerge from relationship and interdependence.

Green Strategy: Path to Fundamental Transformation
By Marc Brodine
International Publishers, 2019

Brodine, a frequent contributor to Peoples World and Political Affairs, offers a socialist approach to environmentalism. He argues for linking environmental issues to other struggles, that a massive worldwide movement for fundamental change is the only way to transform our politics and our economy, and to protect our species.

Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities
By Vaclav Smil
MIT Press, 2019

This ambitious work attempts a systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilisations. Smil argues that we can chart the growth of organisms across individual and evolutionary time, but that the progress of societies and economies, not so linear, encompasses both decline and renewal.

Sea Level Rise: A Slow Tsunami on America’s shores
By Orrin H Pilkey & Keith C Pilkey
Duke University Press, 2019

The consequences of 21st century sea level rise on the US and its nearly 90,000 miles of shoreline will be immense. The authors examine its impact on coastal ecosystems, health, and native Alaskan coastal communities, and argue that the only feasible response along much of the US shoreline is an immediate and managed retreat.

Food or War
By Julian Cribb
Cambridge University Press, 2019

Australian science journalist Cribb examines past, present and future connections between food and human conflict, and proposes a new food system that he believes can meet our global needs on this hot and overcrowded planet.

Limits: Why Malthus was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care
By Giorgos Kallis
Stanford Press, 2019

Kallis, a leading figure in the Degrowth movement, believes Malthus confused limits and scarcity. He argues for an institutionalised culture of sharing to enable collective self-limitation. In a recent review, Martin Empson called the book “short, readable and stimulating,” but was disappointed by its simplistic account of Marxism.

The Lie Of Global Prosperity; How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty and Exploitation
By Seth Donnelly
Monthly Review Press, 2019
Donnelly deconstructs claims that global poverty has fallen dramatically, and exposes the spurious methods of poverty measurement and data on which such claims depend. His carefully researched study shows that that global poverty, inequality and misery remain massive, afflicting the majority of the world’s population.

[Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or agreement with everything (or even anything) in it.]