Plato’s Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology


“If Herman Daly is the economist for sustainable development, Amory Lovins the physicist and Al Gore the politician, William Ophuls must be the philosopher. Ophuls’ first book on the subject, Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (1997), placed him among the few scholars of the time (Rifkin and Daly in the United States; Leiss and Paehlke in Canada) who had managed to bridge the gulf between science and politics to insist that modern values and the democratic politics associated with them were on a collision course with ecology.”Click through for our full review…

The Agitator’s Library


With the worldwide explosion of the Occupy movement, and related Indignado protests in Europe, renewed attention has focused on the possibility of a new high water mark in the push for social change. Each of these four books approaches issues of social change from different perspectives, all drawing from a similarly rich vein of wisdom and experience. ”Click through for our full review…

Education & Careers – Alternatives Journal Call for Proposals

  ALTERNATIVES JOURNAL * CALL FOR PROPOSALS *Education & Careers* Proposals due Monday March 26, 2012 at 9am EST ALTERNATIVES’ final issue of 2012 will explore the next generation of job opportunities and identify how to choose an environmentally conscious career path right now. To complement our annual Canadian Environmental Education Directory (which compiles post-secondary…

The Failure of Environmental Education

In The Failure of Environmental Education (And How We Can Fix It), the authors Charles Saylan and Daniel T. Blumstein – a non-profit educational society director and a university professor – bring a nice mix of historical information regarding environmental education, and a thoughtful discussion of the need for improvement and the barriers to be overcome. The main failure of environmental education, the authors contend, is that the lack of comprehensiveness, integration, flexibility and focus has resulted in a serious deficiency in public awareness of environmental problems. So they provide a “manifesto for addressing how people think about environmental education.” Click through for our full review…

Book Review: Here on Earth

Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet is as much a personal letter to humanity as a natural history of the planet. It asks, “Will ours be a Medean or Gaian future?”, referring to diverging hypotheses named for Greek goddesses, one destructive and the other life-giving. Tim Flannery – Australian scientist, Copenhagen Climate Council chairman and author of The Weather Makers, argues that rather than being a foregone conclusion, “what we believe…will determine our fate.” The time to decide what we believe, he says, is upon us.

Here on Earth

Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet is as much a personal letter to humanity as a natural history of the planet. It asks, “Will ours be a Medean or Gaian future?”, referring to diverging hypotheses named for Greek goddesses, one destructive and the other life-giving. Tim Flannery – Australian scientist, Copenhagen Climate Council chairman and author of The Weather Makers, argues that rather than being a foregone conclusion, “what we believe…will determine our fate.” The time to decide what we believe, he says, is upon us. Click through for our full review…

Alternatives Journal wants YOU!

So far, 24% of respondents say that Robert Bateman is their favourite Canadian nature artist. 43% say that The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is their preferred environmental book for children. Help Alternatives Journal celebrate its 40th birthday by adding your choices to our 40 Best-Of Lists for a Better World. We want to know about your environmental favourites….

The Wealth of Nature

The title of John Michael Greer’s The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered contains references to two very different economic works: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. He calls on both books in his attempt to demonstrate that contemporary economics has gone astray.

Global Governance and the UN

Considering our vast cultural and political differences, is it really possible to collectively solve the world’s social, economic and environmental problems? And more importantly, if so, how do we formalize our commitments to change without an overarching global government? The highly recommended Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey is a bold attempt to answer these questions by emphasizing the value of international co-ordination in tackling the most pressing and challenging issues of the 21st century. Click through for our full review…

Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted

In his book Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, author Justin Martin sets out to give Olmsted due recognition as a pioneering environmentalist. In lush detail, Martin walks the reader through the chapters of Olmsted’s life: sailor, farmer, journalist, abolitionist, park superintendent, Civil War medical commissionaire and gold mine manager.
Click through to read the review.

Green Book Review: Urban Homesteading

Concerns for our unsustainable, fossil-fuelled lifestyle underlie Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Blume’s book, Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. The book provides a colourful overview of what each of us can do to build a more self-sufficient future.

Urban Homesteading

Concerns for our unsustainable, fossil-fuelled lifestyle underlie Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Blume’s book, Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. The book provides a colourful overview of what each of us can do to build a more self-sufficient future. It explains the principles of homesteading and permaculture, and provides a wide range of ideas and how-to projects for the urban dweller. Presented in a straightforward and accessible manner, skills depicted range from growing and preserving your own food – both plant and animal – to natural building and grey water recycling. The authors explain how even small changes we make will benefit our communities, our environment and ourselves. is a revised edition of a book that addresses the common feeling that the planet is in trouble and we have little control over the outcome. Author Frances Moore Lappé tackles the issues of the world by acknowledging the problems and the overwhelming task of dealing with them, and then doesn’t waste any time offering up solutions.Click through for our full review…

Book Review: Getting A Grip 2

Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want is a revised edition of a book that addresses the common feeling that the planet is in trouble and we have little control over the outcome. Author Frances Moore Lappé tackles the issues of the world by acknowledging the problems and the overwhelming task of dealing with them, and then doesn’t waste any time offering up solutions.Click through for our full review…

Getting A Grip 2

Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want is a revised edition of a book that addresses the common feeling that the planet is in trouble and we have little control over the outcome. Author Frances Moore Lappé tackles the issues of the world by acknowledging the problems and the overwhelming task of dealing with them, and then doesn’t waste any time offering up solutions.Click through for our full review…

The Secret Life of Stuff

The underlying message in Julie Hill’s book, The Secret Life of Stuff: A Manual for a New Material World, is one of conscious simplification. Not one to slap the wrists of consumers, she professes a love of shopping and the joy she gets from the perfect “find” for pennies. She does, however, question the ways in which we currently try to “green” our buying habits.Click through for our full review…

Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs

If the world as you knew it was going to end in 21 days, what would you do? Find shelter, locate a water supply or possibly pull out your SKS assault rifle? Wendy Brown’s Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs takes readers through day-by-day preparations in order to live comfortably after an infrastructure collapse created by cheap oil.
Click through for our full review…

The Ptarmigan’s Dilemma

If I were asked by a visitor from outer space for the best information on the history and ecology of life on Earth, I’d offer this book. Deservedly short-listed for the 2010 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, The Ptarmigan’s Dilemma covers all the bases, bridging the authors’ decades of research into animal ecology and their many engaging encounters with animals. From Alternatives Journal 37.3: EcoBooks, published May 2011
Click through for our full review…

Rocking the Environment with Alternatives Journal (37.4)

Musicians have always drawn inspiration from the world around them, but what happens when that world is in trouble? For an increasing number of environmentally minded artists, their efforts are moving off-stage. Instead of writing green lyrics, they are setting up foundations, leading conservation drives, greening their tours, and changing the faces of both environmentalism and music.