9 January 2022 — Climate & Capitalism
Start the new year with seven new books for red-greens and green-reds
Ecosocialist Bookshelf is a monthly Climate & Capitalism feature, 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.
CRIMES AGAINST NATURE
Capitalism and Global Heating
Scribe Publications, 2021
Sparrow challenges the claim that we are all to blame for climate change, showing that again and again, pollution and ecological devastation have been imposed on the population without our consent and (often) against our will. He argues that ordinary people have consistently opposed the destruction of nature and so provide an untapped constituency for climate action.
INEQUALITY, CLASS, AND ECONOMICS
Monthly Review Press, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the economic inequalities that pervade every aspect of capitalist society, and multiplied them to a staggering degree. Eric Schutz illumines causes of the monstrous polarities that define our times, condemns economists’ studied avoidance of the problem of class as a system of inequality based in unequal opportunity, and exhorts us to tackle the heart of the problem at long last.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EARTH’S CLIMATE
Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change
New Society Publishers. 2021
An myth-busting guide to the natural evolution of the Earth’s climate over 4.6 billion years, showing how and why human-caused global warming is different and much more dangerous. A consise and readable book for everyone who wants to understand the science, respond to skeptics and deniers, and take effective action on the climate emergency.
A (VERY) SHORT HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH
4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters
St. Martin’s Press, 2021.
In clear and accessible prose. a senior editor of Nature zips through the last 4.6 billion years with enthusiasm and intellectual rigor, drawing on the very latest scientific findings about living beings from single cells to humans. By far the best brief overview of life’s life history I’ve read.
Tundra Beavers, Quaking Bogs, and the Improbable World of Peat
Island Press, 2021
Peatlands, often derided as useless bogs, store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.. An ode to their offbeat glory, the book also demands awareness of the myriad threats they face. It urges us to see the beauty and importance in these least likely of places , and their importance to planetary survival.
How Tropical Forests Shaped the World — And Us
Basic Books, 2021
Archaeologist Patrick Roberts argues that tropical forests have shaped nearly every aspect of life on earth. They made the planet habitable, enabled the rise of dinosaurs and mammals, and spread flowering plants around the globe. New evidence also shows that humans evolved in jungles, developing agriculture and infrastructure unlike anything found elsewhere.
Hans A. Baer
CLIMATE CHANGE AND CAPITALISM IN AUSTRALIA
An Eco-Socialist Vision for the Future
Adopting a climate justice perspective that calls for system change, not climate change, Australian ecosocialist Baer examines the roles and intersections of Greens, labor unions, environmental NGOs, and grass-roots climate movements. He proposes system-challenging transitional steps to make Australia part of a global socio-ecological revolution.