Books

Consumptionomics

“The current crisis is over money tends to obscure bigger crises over the whole direction of out society. Chandran Nair well brings out the need for us to think again: about our consumption of diminishing resources, the way we measure economic wealth and social health, the changing balance of power between East and West, and the damage we are doing to the natural environment – in short, the future of human society in a vulnerable world. Most important he points to a better way ahead.” – Sir Crispin Tickell. Buy on Amazon.

***

 

CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories - Watch the Trailer

CAFO provides an unprecedented view of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations where an increasing percentage of the world’s meat, milk, eggs, and fish are produced. As the photos and essays in this powerful book demonstrate, the rise of the CAFO industry has become one of the most pressing issues of our time. Industrial livestock production is now a leading source of climate changing emissions, a source of water pollution, and a significant contributor to diet-related diseases, and the spread of food-borne illnesses.

The intensive concentrations of animals in such crammed and filthy conditions dependent on antibiotic medicines and steady streams of subsidized industrial feeds poses serious moral and ethical considerations for all of us. CAFO takes readers on a behind-the-scenes journey into the alarming world of animal factory farming and offers a compelling vision for a food system that is humane, sound for farmers and communities, and safer for both consumers and the environment. Buy on Amazon.

***

Shaping Sustainable Fashion

The production, use and eventual disposal of most clothing is environmentally damaging, and many fashion and textile designers are becoming keen to employ more sustainable strategies in their work. This book provides a practical guide to the ways in which designers are creating fashion with less waste and greater durability.

Based on the results of extensive research into lifecycle approaches to sustainable fashion, the book is divided into four sections:

  • source: explores the motivations for the selection of materials for fashion garments and suggests that garments can be made from materials that also assist in the management of textile waste
  • make: discusses the differing approaches to the design and manufacture of sustainable fashion garments that can also provide the opportunity for waste control and minimization
  • use: explores schemes that encourage the consumer to engage in slow fashion consumption
  • last: examines alternative solutions to the predictable fate of most garments – landfill.

Illustrated throughout with case studies of best practice from international designers and fashion labels and written in a practical, accessible style, this is a must-have guide for fashion and textile designers and students in their areas. Buy on Amazon.

***

Fish

Fishing has played a vital role in human history and culture. But today this key resource faces a serious crisis as most species are being overfished or fished to their very limit. Governments have tried to tackle the problem with limited success. Many of their actions have been counterproductive or ineffective. What will happen to global fisheries, and the populations that depend on them, as we continue to catch more fish than the oceans can reproduce?

This book explores the causes of the current crisis in the world’s fisheries, and what needs to be done to address the situation. It explains the structure of the fishing industry, the incentives that persuade individuals or companies to catch fish at unsustainable levels, and illuminates the problems created by governmental efforts to use fishing policy as a tool for economic development or to win votes in domestic elections. It also looks at the role of aquaculture in either decreasing or increasing the pressure on wild fish stocks.

The dire condition of fish stocks has led governments and consumer organizations to consider new approaches to protect the global supply of fish. DeSombre and Barkin conclude by showing how such methods, along with new forms of international regulation and informed decision-making by consumers, all have an important part to play in rewarding and thus encouraging sustainable fishing behaviour in the future. Buy on Amazon.

***

The Face On Your Plate - The Truth About Food

“It’s a challenge to create transformative moments with books, but [Masson] does it.”—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

In this revelatory work, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson shows how food affects our moral selves, our health, and our planet. Masson investigates how denial keeps us from recognizing the animal at the end of our fork and urges readers to consciously make decisions about food. Buy on Amazon.

***

 

The Shadows of Consumption

An environmentalist maps the hidden costs of overconsumption in a globalized world by tracing the environmental consequences of five commodities. Buy on Amazon.

***

 

 

 

 

The Challenge for Africa – A New Vision

In this urgent yet optimistic new work, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai provides a unique perspective on the fate of Africa. Informed by her three decades as an environmental activist and campaigner for democracy, “The Challenge for Africa” celebrates the enduring potential of the human spirit, and reminds us that change is always possible. Buy on Amazon.

***

 

 

Dominion

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”–Genesis 1:24-26

In this crucial passage from the Old Testament, God grants mankind power over animals. But with this privilege comes the grave responsibility to respect life, to treat animals with simple dignity and compassion. Buy on Amazon.

***

Without the Hot Air 

Addressing the sustainable energy crisis in an objective manner, this enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal level and an international scale—for Europe, the United States, and the world. In case study format, this informative reference answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries. While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the calculations of expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world at large. Buy on Amazon.

***

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand

Humans have always used denial. When we are afraid, guilty, confused, or when something interferes with our self-image, we tend to deny it. Yet denial is a delusion. When it impacts on the health of oneself, or society, or the world it becomes a pathology. Climate change denial is such a case. Paradoxically, as the climate science has become more certain, denial about the issue has increased. The paradox lies in the denial. There is a denial industry funded by the fossil fuel companies that literally denies the science, and seeks to confuse the public. There is denial within governments, where spin-doctors use ‘weasel words’ to pretend they are taking action. However there is also denial within most of us, the citizenry. We let denial prosper and we resist the science.

Climate Change Denial explains the social science behind denial. It contains a detailed examination of the principal climate change denial arguments, from attacks on the integrity of scientists, to impossible expectations of proof and certainty to the cherry picking of data. Climate change can be solved – but only when we cease to deny that it exists. This book shows how we can break through denial, accept reality, and thus solve the climate crisis. It will engage scientists, university students, climate change activists as well as the general public seeking to roll back denial and act. Buy on Amazon.

***

When the Killing’s Done - Watch the Trailer

T.C. Boyle’s most powerful and fully realized work yet-”terrifically exciting and unapologetically relevant” (The Washington Post).

Principally set on the wild Channel Islands off the coast of California, T.C. Boyle’s new novel is a gripping adventure with a timely theme. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist spearheading the efforts to save the islands’ native creatures from invasive species. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a local businessman who is fiercely opposed to the killing of any animals whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert her plans. As their confrontation plays out in a series of scenes escalating in violence, drama, and danger, When the Killing’s Done relates a richly humane tale about the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Buy on Amazon.

***

Earth on the Edge - How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

In 1898, a woman forsakes the comfort of home and family for a love that takes her to a remote lighthouse on the wild coast of California. What she finds at the edge of the earth, hidden between the sea and the fog, will change her life irrevocably.

Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart’s Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. She knows she should be pleased, but she’s restless instead, yearning for something she lacks even the vocabulary to articulate. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she’s found her escape from the banality of her preordained life.

But escape turns out to be more fraught than Trudy had imagined. Alienated from family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse at Point Lucia, California—an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. There they meet the light station’s only inhabitants—the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks.

Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the dramatic geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, The Edge of the Earth is a magical story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths. Christina Schwarz, celebrated for her rich evocation of place and vivid, unpredictable characters, has spun another haunting and unforgettable tale. Buy on Amazon.

***

How to Make and Use Compost: The Ultimate Guide

Whether you live in a flat with a balcony or have a family and garden that generates large amounts of food and green waste, this book shows you how to compost everything that can be composted—at home, work, or school, and in spaces big or small. It covers how to create the right mix for successful garden compost; how to compost food waste safely; the full range of composting systems; composting with a wormery; making liquid feeds and your own seed and potting compost; and composting in schools, with advice on getting a school scheme started. How to Make and Use Compost features a comprehensive A-to-Z guide, which includes what you can and can’t compost, concepts and techniques, and common problems and solutions. Buy on Amazon.

***

The Gaia Warriors

Inspired by the work of outstanding scientist and thinker James Lovelock and written by acclaimed author Nicola Davies, here is a book that takes a clear look at how and why Earth’s climate is changing and the ways we can deal with it. Its style is simple and its explanations are compelling, illuminating not only hard facts but also the opinions and potential solutions of scientists all over the world. But there are other voices too, those of people young and old — lawyers, food producers, fashion designers, scientists, rock stars, architects, conservationists, kids, campaigners, and more — who are trying to change the way they (and we) live on the planet. At once comprehensive and accessible, this galvanizing call to arms includes web links and resources that make it easy to join the cause. Buy on Amazon.

***

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism

In this paperback edition is a foreword by activist and author John Robbins and a reader’s group study guide. This ground-breaking work, voted one of the top ten books of 2010 by VegNews Magazine, offers an absorbing look at why and how humans can so wholeheartedly devote ourselves to certain animals and then allow others to suffer needlessly, especially those slaughtered for our consumption.

Social psychologist Melanie Joy explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals. She coins the term “carnism” to describe the belief system that has conditioned us to eat certain animals and not others.

In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows Joy investigates factory farming, exposing how cruelly the animals are treated, the hazards that meatpacking workers face, and the environmental impact of raising 10 billion animals for food each year. Controversial and challenging, this book will change the way you think about food forever. Buy on Amazon.

***

Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger?: And Other Questions People Ask Vegans

What about plants? Don’t animals eat other animals? There are no perfect vegans, so why bother? If you’re vegan, how many times have you been asked these, and other similarly challenging, questions from non-vegans? Using humor and reason, Sherry F. Colb takes these questions at face value and also delves deeply into the motivations behind them, coming up with answers that are not only intelligent but insightful about human nature.

Through examples, case studies, and clear-eyed logic, she provides arguments for everything from why veganism is compatible with the world’s major religions to why vegetarianism is not enough. In the end, she shows how it is possible for vegans and non-vegans to engage in a mutually beneficial conversation without descending into counterproductive name-calling, and to work together to create a more hospitable world for human animals and non-human animals alike. Buy on Amazon.

***

Meatonomics

Few consumers are aware of the economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Yet omnivore and herbivore alike, the forces of meatonomics affect us in many ways. Most importantly, we’ve lost the ability to decide for ourselves what – and how much – to eat. Those decisions are made for us by animal food producers who control our buying choices with artificially-low prices, misleading messaging, and heavy control over legislation and regulation. Learn how and why they do it and how you can respond.

Written in a clear and accessible style, “Meatonomics” provides vital insight into how the economics of animal food production influence our spending, eating, health, prosperity, and longevity “Meatonomics” is the first book to add up the huge “externalized” costs that the animal food system imposes on taxpayers, animals and the environment, and it finds these costs total about $414 billion yearly. With yearly retail sales of around $250 billion, that means that for every $1 of product they sell, meat and dairy producers impose almost $2 in hidden costs on the rest of us. But if producers were forced to internalize these costs, a $4 Big Mac would cost about $11. Buy on Amazon.

***

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide

Food, Inc. is guaranteed to shake up our perceptions of what we eat. This powerful documentary deconstructing the corporate food industry in America was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “more than a terrific movie—it’s an important movie.” Aided by expert commentators such as Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, the film poses questions such as: Where has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably?

Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world. Buy on Amazon.

***

The World According to Monsanto

Published to stellar praise worldwide, The World According to Monsanto charts award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin’s three-year journey across four continents to uncover the disturbing practices of multinational agribusiness corporation Monsanto.

The book exposes the shocking story of how the new “green” face of the world’s leading producer of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is no less malign than its PCB—and Agent Orange—soaked past. Monsanto currently controls the majority of the yield of the world’s genetically modified corn and soy—ingredients found in more than 95 percent of American households—and its alarming legal and political tactics to maintain this monopoly are the subject of worldwide concern, with baleful consequences for the world’s small-scale farmers.

Selected as a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2011 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, The World According to Monsanto is positioned to increase awareness of a serious threat to our food supply. Buy on Amazon.

***

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

“Overdressed does for T-shirts and leggings what Fast Food Nation did for burgers and fries.”
—Katha Pollitt

Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenny now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. And we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.

Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut. What are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being? Buy on Amazon.

***

The International Handbook of Animal Abuse and Cruelty

Animal abuse as a predictor of abuse against humans has been documented extensively. Society’s ever-rising violence has prompted experts to ask what alternatives are available to identify the early signs and stop the cycle. The International Handbook of Animal Abuse and Cruelty: Theory, Research, and Application is the authoritative, up-to-date compendium covering the historical, legal, research, and applied issues related to animal abuse and cruelty from scholars worldwide.

It will be of value to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, child welfare and domestic violence professionals, and animal welfare advocates, including veterinarians. Each chapter focuses on different but related aspect of animal abuse. The book provides fruitful areas of needed study and offers professionals contemporary reviews of the current state of our knowledge on animal abuse and its relation to other forms of human violence. The material will be of special value to readers interested in mental health issues across the life span as well as child development and developmental psychopathology. Buy on Amazon.

Check out also  The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence

***

The World Without Us

In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity’s impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.

In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.

The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York’s subways would start eroding the city’s foundations, and how, as the world’s cities crumble, asphalt jungles would give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dali Lama, and paleontologists—who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths—Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.

From places already devoid of humans (a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl), Weisman reveals Earth’s tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman’s narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that needn’t depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has. Buy on Amazon.

 

#ourbreathingplanet