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…

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…

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…

Recovering a Lost River

In Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, Revitalizing Communities, author Steven Hawley leads readers on a meandering journey up the Snake River – dropping in on the communities it threads through – to its wilderness headwaters in Idaho. The largest tributary of the Columbia River, the Snake was once one of the continent’s most productive salmon-bearing rivers, with salmon returns estimated to number in the tens of millions each year. Today its salmon runs are only a shadow of their former abundance and the species has been extirpated from some tributaries altogether.
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Dodging the Toxic Bullet

David R. Boyd, one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers and an expert in the field of human health and the environment, draws on this expertise in writing Dodging the Toxic Bullet: How to Protect Yourself from Everyday Environmental Hazards, in which he provides a comprehensive assessment of practical strategies for individuals to avoid environmental health hazards. Despite the outlook, Boyd gives reasons for optimism by suggesting that environmental hazards are largely preventable. Through the conscious actions of individuals, he argues that environmental risks can be significantly reduced.

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The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights
David E. Gumpert
White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green, 2009, 288 pages

The Raw Milk Revolution, by David E. Gumpert, would more accurately be entitled “Milk Wars.” Any attempt to sell raw milk creates a froth of such proportions that we must conclude that it is symptomatic of something bigger.

The war is all about politics and ideology – about food control and food beliefs. So when battle lines are outwardly drawn around issues of food safety and the right of citizens to choose the food they want, it takes Gumpert’s sharp journalistic skills to uncover what risks to profits and livelihoods could lie beneath….[Click here to read more!]

A Physicist’s Plea For The Environment

Terracide
Hubert Reeves, translated by Donald Winkler
Toronto, ON: Cormorant Books Inc. 2008, 200 pages

Hubert Reeves was born in Montreal, but is a household name in France, where he once directed a national research centre and appears regularly on television. He is one of many scientists (an astrophysicist, to be precise) who has switched gears recently in order to sound the alarm about climate change. His most recent publication, Terracide, was first written in French (Mal de Terre) in 2003, but has been updated for this newer translation in English.

Reeves’ overview of our ongoing environmental crises may seem a little over-generalized to some readers… [Click here to read more!]

An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada and Defending the Environment: Civil Society Strategies to Enforce International Environmental Law

An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada
Paul Muldoon, Alastair Lucas, Robert B. Gibson and Peter Pickfield
Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited
2009, 285 pages.

Defending the Environment: Civil Society Strategies to Enforce International Environmental Law
Linda A. Malone and Scott Pasternack
Washington, DC: Island Press
2006, 359 pages.

An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada is the perfect book for university or even high-school students who want to understand the basic language of environmental debate. From an outline of environmental protection regimes to endangered species issues and environmental assessment, this text covers a diverse range of themes, and is marked by clear writing and effective explanations.

Quite literally, this text has something for everyone: Aboriginal jurisdiction, the making of laws, international law, and law enforcement in particular problem areas such as nuclear energy, mining, fisheries and watershed… [Click here to read more!]

Silence of the Songbirds: How We Are Losing the World’s Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them and Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

In Silence of the Songbirds, Bridget Stutchbury, a biology professor at York University, writes clearly and expressively about the dramatic declines of many songbirds. In her words, “By some estimates, we may have already lost almost half of the songbirds that filled the skies only forty years ago.”

Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and Genetically Modified Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment

ased on his analysis of dozens of studies, reports and personal accounts, Smith reveals shocking instances when governments and corporations misled, lied and covered up evidence about the health and safety risks of GM foods. These deceptions allowed the products to be fast-tracked to the market, thereby externalizing the costs of this infant science.

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

Perhaps it is the economic crisis. Maybe it is climate change, soaring extinction rates or the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. Or then again, it could simply be the nagging sense among more and more people that the human project has somehow gone awry. Whatever the case, in recent years, we have witnessed an explosion of popular interest in books that question, even excoriate, the most fundamental assumptions of our current, growth-at-all-costs economic system.