Image above: ‘Live Book’ Credit: Thyago SORGlFX
News from Nowhere give us their round-up of recommended environmental reads for 2020.
Starting with the environmental heavyweights, Naomi Klein’s latest book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal (Allen Lane, Hardback £20) gathers her writings from the front-line of climate breakdown and rouses us to action, politically, spiritually & imaginatively. For a penny less, Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns fame similarly encourages our imagination in From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of the Imagination to Create the Future We Want (Chelsea Green, Hardback £19.99), arguing that change can happen rapidly and dramatically when we choose it. Meanwhile Greta Thunberg only wants £2.99 for No One Is Too Small To Make a Difference (Penguin), unless you prefer the expanded version which includes her latest speeches (Allen Lane, Hardback £14.99). And if these books inspire you to direct action, Extinction Rebellion have produced This is Not a Drill (Penguin £7.99) with chapters from Courting Arrest to The Zero-Carbon City. For an example of an inspiring fight against a giant multinational, Fred A Wilcox’ Shamrocks and Oil Slicks: A People’s Uprising Against Shell Oil in County Mayo, Ireland (Monthly Review Press £17.99) details a community’s story of resistance against corporate power. Indian activist Vandana Shiva has long been teaching us that there can be no solution to climate change without women’s empowerment, and Why Women Will Save the Planet (Zed Books £9.99) details why and how in a range of international writings by herself and other women, from Uruguay to Africa. A new book by Chris Goodall, What We Need to Do Now: For a Zero Carbon Future (Profile, Hardback £9.99) comes with glowing recommendations and maps out the large-scale policies and technologies Britain urgently needs, using wind, solar and hydrogen, in areas such as farming, fashion & fuel. On a more personal scale you could try Ross Mars’ How to Permaculture Your Life (Permanent Publications £14.95) which details very practical strategies, skills and techniques for the transition to a greener world, while The Urban Wildlife Gardener by Emma Hardy (Cico Books £12.99) will bring you the shorter-term rewards of attracting bees, birds and butterflies to any outdoor space. If going vegan is your way of making changes, Jo’s Vegan Nosh (£5) is a lovely tribute to an animal rights activist who died too young. Lots of delicious recipes with mouth-watering photos, for a snip of a price, enable her to live on. Environment isn’t just about climate change, it’s also about our relationship with nature, about housing, about social justice, and Catrina Davies’ Homesick: Why I Live in a Shed (RiverRun, Hardback £16.99; Paperback £8.99 May2020) brings these themes together magnificently in a beautifully written memoir, set in the far west of Cornwall. If fiction is what inspires you, you could do no better than The Overstory by Richard Powers (Vintage £8.99). You will never look at trees in the same light again. Or maybe you’re concerned about flooding, endangered hen harriers or the British class system which maintains our uplands as a sterile playground for the rich via the wealthy grouse-shooting lobby. All three are addressed in Mark Avery’s Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands (Bloomsbury £9.99). Likewise Gill Lewis brings the same issues into play in her fabulous children’s novel Sky Dancer (Oxford University Press £6.99). Never too soon to introduce issues of inequality, conservation and world-changing to our children. Indeed the young are now leading the way for us all – thank goodness.
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