Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf,
December 2020

Winter Solstice reading for reds and greens

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.


Josef H. Reichholf
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BUTTERFLIES
Polity Press, 2020
Butterfly populations have declined by more than 80 percent and butterflies are now facing the very real prospect of extinction. Entomologist Josef Reichholf immerses us in a world that we are in danger of losing forever. Step by step he explains the science behind this impending ecological disaster, and shows how it is linked to pesticides, over-fertilization and the intensive farming practices of the agribusiness.

Julia Adeney Thomas, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz
THE ANTHROPOCENE
A Multidisciplinary Approach

Polity Press, 2020
The new realities of the Anthropocene will need our best efforts, across disciplinary divides, at effective hope and action. This book starts with an exploration of the Anthropocene as a geological concept, ranging across the physical changes to the landscape, to the rapidly heating climate, to a biosphere undergoing transformation. It then turns to human history, both in the deep past and more recently, examining the politics and economics of growth spurring the Anthropocene, and potential ways of mitigating its cruel effects.

Deborah Rowan Wright
FUTURE SEA
How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans

University of Chicago Press, 2020
The world’s oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright lays out a radical strategy of 100 percent ocean protection that would end destructive industrial activities, safeguard marine biodiversity, and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive along coasts and in seas around the globe.

Philippe Bihouix
THE AGE OF LOW TECH
Towards a Technologically Sustainable Civilization

University of Bristol Press, 2020
People often believe that we can overcome the profound environmental and climate crises we face by smart systems, green innovations and more recycling. Philippe Bihouix proposes an alternative perspective, against the grain to argue that ‘high’ technology will not solve global problems and envisages a different approach to build a more resilient and sustainable society.

Jennie C. Stephens
DIVERSIFYING POWER
Why We Need Antiracist, Feminist Leadership on Climate and Energy

Island Press, 2020
Energy expert Jennie Stephens argues that the key to effectively addressing the climate crisis is diversifying leadership so that antiracist, feminist priorities are central. All politics is now climate politics, so all policies, from housing to health, now have to integrate climate resilience and renewable energy. By highlighting individuals and organizations making change happen, she provides inspiration and encourages transformative action on climate and energy justice.

Jairus Banaji
A BRIEF HISTORY OF COMMERCIAL CAPITALISM
Haymarket Books, 2020
The rise of capitalism to global dominance is largely associated, by both laypeople and Marxist historians, with the industrial capitalism that made its decisive breakthrough in 18th century Britain. Banaji reaches back centuries and traverses vast distances to argue that this leap was preceded by a long era of distinct commercial capitalism that reorganized labor and production on a world scale.


Seven books we reviewed in Climate & Capitalism in 2020

John Bellamy Foster
THE RETURN OF NATURE
Socialism and Ecology

reviewed by Peter Critchley

Hadas Their
A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM
An Introduction to Marxist Economics

reviewed by Michael Roberts

Richard Smith
CHINA’S ENGINE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COLLAPSE
reviewed by Chris Slee

Andreas Malm
CORONA, CLIMATE, CHRONIC EMERGENCY
War Communism in the Twenty-First Century

reviewed by Simon Butler

Diana Stuart, Ryan Gunderson, Brian Petersen
CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS
reviewed by Wayne Deluca

Sharon E. Kingsland
THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN ECOLOGY 1890–2000
reviewed by Ben Courtice

Joel Kovel
THE EMERGENCE OF ECOSOCIALISM
reviewed by Mike Shaughnessy