Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, April 2021

Seven new books to read on Earth Day

Ecosocialist Bookshelf is a monthly column, hosted by Ian Angus. Books described here may be reviewed at length in future. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that C&C agrees with everything (or even anything!) these books say.


Liam Campling & Alejandro Colás
CAPITALISM AND THE SEA
The Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World

Verso, 2021
The global ocean has long served as a trade route, strategic space, fish bank and supply chain for capitalism. The authors argue that the earth’s geographical separation into land and sea has had significant consequences for capitalist development. They focus on the creative destruction that has resulted from the collision of capitalism with the massive natural force of the sea.

Brian Tokar & Tamra Gilbertson, editors
CLIMATE JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
Resistance and Grassroots Solutions

Earthscan/Routledge, 2020
Front-line fighters from five continents explore the impacts of extreme weather events and efforts to halt the expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure. They offer various perspectives on how a just transition toward a fossil-free economy can take shape, they share efforts to protect water resources, better feed their communities, and implement new approaches to urban policy and energy democracy.

Tim Jackson
POST GROWTH
Life After Capitalism

Polity Books, 2021
Combining philosophical reflection, economic insight and social vision, Jackson argues that a post-growth society will be richer, not poorer — a place where relationship and meaning take precedence over profits and power. Post Growth is both a manifesto for system change and an invitation to rekindle a deeper conversation about the nature of the human and a world beyond capitalism.

Nicolas Graham
FORCES OF PRODUCTION, CLIMATE CHANGE AND CANADIAN FOSSIL CAPITALISM
Brill, 2021
Graham reinterprets the Marxist concept of forces of production from an ecological standpoint and in the context of the deepening climate crisis. His case studies, focusing on Canadian fossil capitalism, provide a concrete-complex analysis of the deepening of fossil-fueled productive forces and the ways that capitalism fetters the development of renewable energy technology and green infrastructure.

Michael Moss
HOOKED
Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions

Penguin Random House, 2021
Some foods even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Moss shows what the food industry is doing to exploit and deepen our addictions, and proposes ways to seize back control. A powerful account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis.

Mathew Lawrence & Laurie Laybourn-Langton
PLANET ON FIRE
A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown

Verso, 2021
An urgent manifesto for a new politics capable of tackling environmental breakdown and for a future that is democratic and sustainable by design. The authors argue that it is not enough merely to spend our way out of the crisis; we must also rapidly reshape the economy to create a new way of life that can foster a healthy and flourishing environment for all.

Kate Aranoff
OVERHEATED
How Capitalism Broke the Planet and How We Fight Back

Bold Type Books, 2021
A new denialism is taking root in the halls of power. Policymakers have given oil and gas executives a seat at the table designing policies that should euthanize their business model. Aronoff argues that democratic majorities must curb polluters’ power, create well-paid, union jobs, enact climate reparations, and transform the economy.

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