Sunday, 18 April 2010

Some books to read for the environment reader

Although I have never read Bill McKibben, I have long had considerable sympathy with the view he takes in books like Enough, where he argues that technology can have very destructive effects. I certainly know about the experience of farming on Australia’s Paleozoic-age soils even with the most careful technology has led, owing to its immense advantage in labour efficiency, to such destructive effects as the drying up of the Coorong.

Today, McKibben has made a short list of books he recommends for ecological reading. Having been familiar with some of these writers already, I can say that it is a worthwhile list to at least look at. More than that, the emphasis the books have on a sense of community the book have satisfies somebody who knows clearly that the public-based ecological model of techological innovation practiced in Europe is not likely to work. It is a simple fact that Europe’s culture today is quite literally free from any sense of community at all. This individualism means, as Eric Kauffman has shown, that Europe, East Asia, Canada and New Zealand, all of which can probably support population densities 100 times that of Australia for the same ecological impact, will face huge population declines.
  • Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
  • Heart and Blood by Richard Nelson
  • Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
  • Plan B by Lester Brown
  • The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder

No comments: