Six new books for ecosocialists

Issue 

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at six new books for reds and greens covering climate change and disease’ capitalist power and the planet’s future’ brain, body, and environment’  oceanic art and science’ essential fungi and life, and the political economy of water.

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Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change
By Mary Beth Pfeiffer
Island Press, 2018

The first epidemic to emerge in the era of climate change, Lyme disease infects half a million people in the US and Europe each year, and untold multitudes in Canada, China, Russia and Australia.

The disease spreads as ticks move into places they could not survive before. Other tick-borne illnesses make Lyme more difficult to treat and pose their own grave risks.

This carefully researched account makes a powerful case for action to fight ticks, heal patients, and recognise humanity’s role in a modern scourge.

Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future
By Geoff Mann & Joel Wainwright
Verso Books, 2018

To further the struggle for climate justice, we need to have an idea of how the existing global order is likely to adjust to a rapidly changing environment. Climate Leviathan argues that rapid climate change will transform the world’s political economy and the fundamental political arrangements most people take for granted.

The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, & Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are
by Alan Jasanoff
Basic Books, 2018

The way we talk about the brain is often rooted more in mystical conceptions of the soul than in scientific fact. We ignore bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut, and overlook the ways that the environment affects our behaviour.

This book looks at how the brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: it is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings.

Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art & Science
Edited by Stefanie Hessler

This book is drawn from a unique exhibition organised by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy, the only Western arts organisation entirely dedicated to work on climate change and the oceans. Tidalectics imagines an oceanic worldview, with essays, poems, photographs, and artists’ projects that present a different way of engaging with our hydrosphere.

Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots
to Support Plant Health & Build Soil Fertility

By Michael Phillips
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017

Huge amounts of nearly-invisible fungi connect with the root systems of 95% of all plants, sequestering carbon in more meaningful ways than “carbon offsets” will ever achieve, to support plant health in sophisticated ways.

This is a fascinating account of the unseen workings of nature, for everyone concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.

Water Justice
Edited by Rutgerd Boelens, Tom Perreault & Jeroen Vos
Cambridge University Press, 2018

Water justice is an ever-more pressing issue in our times. This far-reaching anthology analyses the environmental, social, cultural and legal issues surrounding the distribution and management of water.

Illustrated with case studies of historic and contemporary water injustices and contestations around the world, it lays new ground for challenging current water governance forms and unequal power structures.

[Slightly abridged from Climate and Capitalism.]

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