Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, September 2020

Five new books and an essential magazine! Science for People; Katrina’s History; Small Farm Future; Mass Migration; Energy and Work; China’s Environmental Crisis


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. Books 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.


SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE
Summer 2020
Every ecosocialist should subscribe to this magazine, now! The theme of the latest issue is A People’s Green New Deal — “affirming the need to pursue not only the development of visionary policies, but also the implementation of participatory knowledge production.” 110 pages, 18+ important articles. Now published in pdf format only. Highly recommended.

Andy Horowitz
KATRINA: A HISTORY, 1915-2015
Harvard University Press, 2020
Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005, but the decisions that caused the disaster extend across the twentieth century. This thoroughly researched and clearly written book exposes the relationship between inequality and urban geography, offering a chilling glimpse of future disasters in the making.

Chris Smaje
A SMALL FARM FUTURE
Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity and a Shared Earth

Chelsea Green, 2020
Farmer and social scientist Chris Smaje argues that organising society around small-scale farming offers the sanest and most reasonable response to climate change and other crises of civilization—and humanity’s best chance at survival. A rigorous, original analysis of wicked problems and hidden opportunities.

Sonia Shah
THE NEXT GREAT MIGRATION
The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move

Bloomsbury, 2020
Prize-winning journalist Sonia Shah examines the science and history of migration in animals, plants, and humans. Challenging anti-immigrant hysteria, she argues that mass migrations are not crises but solutions that create and disseminate the biological, cultural, and social diversity that ecosystems and societies depend upon.

Cara New Daggett
THE BIRTH OF ENERGY
Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work

Duke University Press, 2019
Excavating the historical connection between energy and work, Daggett argues that only transforming the politics of work — most notably, the veneration of waged work—will solve the Anthropocene’s energy problem. Substituting one source of energy for another will not ensure a habitable planet; rather, the concepts of energy and work themselves must be decoupled.

Richard Smith
CHINA’S ENGINE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COLLAPSE
Pluto Press, 2020
China is simultaneously the largest producer and user of solar cells and wind turbines, and the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Air and water pollution are endemic and deadly. Smith argues that those contradictions result from the country’s unique social-economic structure, a combination of capitalist and bureaucratic state control that drives expansionist tendencies more powerful than the drive for profit under ‘normal’ capitalism.

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Posted in Asia, Books & Reports, Energy, Extreme weather, Food and Farming, Science

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