Amid deepening economic inequalities, raging conflicts and record-breaking weather events, the world seems locked in a cycle of shocks in which the Covid-19 pandemic marked an escalation. In failing to provide credible ways out of the simultaneous and connected crises of climate change, pandemics, and inequality, the status quo has proven unable in securing a livable planet, let alone just societies.

This reading list brings together the books that recognise this failure and argue that the climate ecological crisis needs to be understood and faced as political and economic challenges.

The authors of these ideas are no utopians. Kate Aronoff for example highlights the chokehold fossil fuel interests will continue to have over climate policies in the next 30 years. Kim Stanley Robinson points out the formidable challenge that a world of competing nation-states presents to the logic of climate change, while admitting the unlikelihood of sweeping system change. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Kolbert argues that faced with extinction, some of the most unlikely techno-fixes might need to be on the table.

Still, in their frank and realist assessments of the present, these authors see an opportunity for radical transformation. A recurring proposal is that the new climate politics demands that the deep connections between social and environmental struggles become the basis for collective action.

These books also show that in the midst of cascading crises, confronting the established ways of thinking is the first step to adopting a new approach to inhabiting the earth. Dive into these reads to challenge your perspective and explore new ways of seeing the world.

Articles in this focus

Is Degrowth the Future?

A new book exploring the origins, sub-currents, and evolution of degrowth, as well as the solutions it offers for the future.

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How We Put Out the Fire

Writer Kim Stanley Robinson explores how science fiction can be a source of inspiration rather than a reason to despair.

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Fighting the New Climate Change Denialism

A new type of denialism is taking hold in the fossil fuel industry, a bid to ward off systemic change and protect their business model.

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“No Good Choices Left”: Our Dilemma Under a White Sky

After her Pulitzer-winning The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, Under a White Sky, describes the world of “techno-fixes” to the damage we have inflicted on nature.

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Imagining a Virtuous Break with the Modern Age

Abundance and Freedom by Pierre Charbonnier is an environmental history of ideas that links changing patterns in land use to political thought as it developed in the modern era.

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Threads of Political Ecology: A Review

A selection mapping some of the major currents that have shaped political ecology in recent years and which continue to do so.

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