Six new books for ecosocialists

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at six books that belong on the bookshelf of ecosocialists.


The Thinking Person’s Guide To Climate Change
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Robert Henson

I’m constantly on the lookout for clear and up-to-date accounts of the climate change crisis. This book, produced by the American Meteorological Society, is one of the best I’ve found. The sections on Symptoms, Science, and Debates are very good. The discussion of Actions is weaker, but even that section provides a useful summary of mainstream thinking and proposals. Recommended.

After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair and Restoration
By Holly Jean Buck
Verso, 2019

A controversial book, worth reading. Buck argues innovative technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere are needed, but that climate restoration also requires social and economic transformation. She suggests a series of possible futures, and rejects the idea that technological solutions are some kind of easy workaround.

The Wild And The Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health
By Jennifer Thomson
University of North Carolina Press

Environmental crises and health problems are tightly connected. Addressing them requires mass-based progressive movements against neoliberalism and deregulation, but so long as individualist approaches to health prevail over communal understandings, we will continue to see near paralysis in the face of planetary disaster.

Thirty Years Of Failure: Understanding Canadian Climate Policy
By Robert MacNeil
Fernwood Publishing, 2019

The leaders of Canada’s two main political parties have been dubbed Mr Delay and Mr Deny. They continue three decades of failure to take effective action against greenhouse gas emissions, a delay that MacNeil says is due to a perfect storm of cultural, political and economic factors that have made a serious climate strategy impossible.

Whose Water Is It Anyway? Taking Water Protection into Public Hands
By Maude Barlow
ECW Press, 2019

Renowned water justice activist Maude Barlow recounts her own education in water issues as she and others woke up to the immense pressures facing water in a warming world. She offers a step-by-step guide to gaining community control of water, arguing that ordinary people can effect enormous change.

Airplanes, The Environment and The Human Condition
By Hans A Baer
Routledge, 2019

Baer examines the aviation industry from an anthropological perspective, focusing on the sector’s environmental impact and the challenges facing attempts to shift to more sustainable solutions. He critically examines current efforts to mitigate the climatic impact of the air travel and argues that a significant move away from air transport may only be achieved through a more fundamental change in the world system.

[Inclusion on this list does not imply agreement with all, or any, of a book’s contents.]