Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, April 2019

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Five new books. Marine disease rises; Energy, food, nature, and the future; Civilizations and planet; Political economy of carbon; Understanding microbiome science

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Climate & Capitalism can’t review every book we receive, but this column lists and links to those that seem relevant to Climate & Capitalism’s mission, along with brief descriptions. Titles described here may be reviewed in future.

Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) these books say.

Drew Harvell
Confronting the Rising Tide of Marine Disease

University of California Press, 2019
Fueled by sewage dumping, unregulated aquaculture, and drifting plastic in warming seas, marine epidemics are sentinels of impending global environmental disaster. Ecologist Drew Harvell shows how corals, abalone, salmon, and starfish have been devastated by disease, and warns of a mass die-off of wildlife from the bottom to the top of the food chain, impacting the health of ocean ecosystems as well as lives on land.

Darrin Qualman
Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future

Fernwood Publishing, 2019
The great strength of our modern word is also its great weakness. Our immense powers to turn resources and nature into products and waste imperil our future. Qualman argues that the transition to linear systems and away from the circular patterns of nature is the foundational error — the underlying problem, the root cause of climate change, resource depletion, and a host of mega-problems now intensifying and merging, with potentially civilization-cracking results.

Lewis Dartnell
How Earth’s History Shaped Human History

Basic Books, 2019
When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins examines how physical changes in the Earth System, from climate change to complex terrains to ocean and atmospheric currents have influenced the evolution and shaper of human civilizations.

Kate Ervine
Polity Books, 2018
To understand global warming and why it remains so difficult to address, we must go back to the origins of industrial capitalism and its swelling dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels to grease the wheels of growth and profitability. Ervine exposes emerging struggles to decarbonize our societies for what they are: battles over the very meaning of democracy and social and ecological justice.

Angela E. Douglas
How Microbes Shape Animal Biology

Princeton University Press, 2018
Douglas writes: “My purpose is to communicate that we can only understand how animals function by appreciating that an animal interacts unceasingly with the communities of microorganisms that live within and on the surface of its body.” This essential introduction to the latest developments in microbiome science assumes some university-level background in biology.

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