First published in 1972, but still highly relevant, ’The Comedy of Survival’ by Joseph W Meeker does not fit ‘comfortably’ within the normal pattern of books on nature and the environment. In fact its main thrust is within the arts and in particular literature. What the author is aiming to do is point in the direction of a synthesis between art and ecological engagement and philosophy. I have not come across another book which tackles this complex and difficult subject area, for which it must be a seminal text. Meeker, however, touches on deep aspects of our attitude to and understanding of nature and the environment as he tries to develop what he sees as an explanation of our fundamental attitudes to the more than human world through artistic conventions. Along the way, his thoughts certainly challenge the reader’s preconceptions about how we understand and relate to nature. Continue reading Art and ecology discussed in a fundamental way
In inimitable fashion, Jerry Mander attacks the principals, structure and operations of Capitalism without mercy. It is a convincing critique from a declared non Socialist or Marxist. Mander takes apart the fundamental drivers of the Capitalist system: the need for unending growth and the implicit faith in GDP as a measure of economic success, but he also lays bare the infiltration of the amoral giant national or international Corporation (the cornerstone of the capitalist economy) into all sectors of the supply of material goods and services. The single objective of creating wealth for shareholders, he believes, is held above all other values and motives. Continue reading Jerry Mander hits out at a 200 year old system!
Published in 1995, this book is a comprehensive compendium of writing about the Deep Ecology movement that emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. This is the best book I have read about the movement, because of its breadth of coverage and the selection of important writers included. Covering such subjects as ‘What is Deep Ecology’ and ‘The Historical Roots of Deep Ecology’, the book also includes key texts by Arne Naess, who first defined the idea of Deep Ecology, and chapters covering related movements, the political aspects and critical writings on the differences between ‘deep’ and ‘shallow’ ecology.
Continue reading A comprehensive guide to Deep Ecology
Havergey; Burnside, John; Little Toller Books, 2017
I have to say that I chose this book to read because I was seduced by its cover. I can only add that it turned out to be a whimsical and seemingly gentle novella, but one that in the end packs a big punch. If I write too much here about why I’ve added it to my list of ‘influential’ books, I fear that I will spoil its impact. Environmentalists and ecologists please read!
Kate Raworth’s Book is written in a language nearest to the one that economists understand, but at the same time sets out truths (such as that economics is embedded within society and in turn within the ecology of the world) that the culture of economics currently for the most part denies. With its ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’, the book surgically kills off the misguided holy cows of current economics. Continue reading The economics of compassion & survival
Jeremy Lent set out to prove a theory about humanity that interprets the history of the human race as a search for meaning based on certain long-term “big ideas”. Whether he proves this theory or not, this wide ranging account of history and prehistory throughout the world creates a wonderful background for developing an understanding of where we have come from and who we are. Continue reading If you are looking for food for thought, here is a feast!
This is a very readable book. Not because Berry writes in an easy journalistic way, he certainly doesn’t, but because the book feels like someone is just talking to you in a very direct way about their life and values. It makes the reader think hard about the way both s/he and Mr Berry see the world. His point of view is, at the same time, both radical and conservative. It is hard hitting and he certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Continue reading Bluntly expressed, but carefully honed, here are messages that are impossible to deny!
Paul Shepard (1925-1996) regarded this book as his most important. With convincing arguments and resonating descriptions of certain periods of human progress and modern humanity’s addictions and delinquencies, it postulates that, during the last 10,000 years, we have not taken the right steps towards greater adult maturity.
Continue reading A radical look at human history over the last 10,000 years
Drawing together two seemingly disparate strands, Jerry Mander produces a potent critique of North American culture. His scrutiny of industrial technology is compelling, drawing out the downside of even the technologies we might believe are personally liberating: television, the computer and the corporation are all exposed as a combined force to homogenise our personalities, our lives and the environment. The relevance of the title “In the absence of the sacred” becomes clear when he turns to the plight of the American Indian. Continue reading Published 25 years ago this book remains fresh and relevant!
I have been a follower of Colin Tudge for quite a few years and his theories on how to feed people in a sustainable way are clearly stated in a number of his books. In this latest book “Six Steps Back to the Land” he sets out the clear advantages of smaller scale mixed farming as an efficient a sustainable way of producing food. Continue reading Another great book from Colin Tudge