Reading matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, April 2018

Six new books for reds and greens … climate change and disease … capitalist power and the planet’s future … brain, body, and environment … oceanic art and science … essential fungi and life … the political economy of water.

Six new books for reds and greens … climate change and disease … capitalist power and the planet’s future … brain, body, and environment … oceanic art and science … essential fungi and life … the political economy of water.

Ecosocialist Bookshelf is an occasional feature. We can’t review every book we receive, but we will list and link to any that seem relevant to Climate & Capitalism’s mission, along with brief descriptions. Titles listed here may be reviewed in future. 

Please note: Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) the book says.

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, 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. A carefully researched account of an enigmatic disease, making a powerful case for action to fight ticks, heal patients, and recognize humanity’s role in a modern scourge.

A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future

by Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright
Verso Books, 2018
To further the struggle for climate justice, we need to have some idea 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 result will be a capitalist planetary sovereignty, a terrifying eventuality that makes the construction of viable, radical alternatives truly imperative.

How Brain, Body, and 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 behavior. A brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: it is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings. Our selves aren’t just inside our heads–they’re spread throughout our bodies and beyond.

Imagining an Oceanic Worldview through Art and Science

edited by Stefanie Hessler
From a unique exhibition organized by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy, the only Western arts organization 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. Unbound by land-based modes of thinking and living, the essays and research in Tidalectics reflect the rhythmic fluidity of water.

MYCORRHIZAL PLANET: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots
to Support Plant Health and 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, and supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. 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.

edited by Rutgerd Boelens, Tom Perreault, and Jeroen Vos
Cambridge University Press, 2018
Water justice is an ever-more pressing issue in our times. This far-reaching anthology analyzes 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. It also provides inspiration for building alternative water realities.