Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Green Reading Request

Prior to the election I had been reading up on how the hard left had grappled with getting elected to local councils in the past - which led me to some very interesting places that I may write up at some point - however, that all seems a bit pointless now so I'm going to focus on a different set of reading.

What I think I really need to do is brush up on my green politics. I know it's probably an odd thing to say but it's completely true - I've got no real grounding in green political thought.

Well, on second thoughts perhaps this doesn't surprise you.

While I've read a few things to be honest I'm just a reasonably straight forward socialist and find the Green Party a comfortable home for now, so I've never really made any attempt to come to terms with what, if anything, would constitute a specifically green politics.

Perhaps you could help me out?

My request is this - do you have any recommendations for me? What should I be reading in order to bolster my eco-credentials? I'm looking for politics and philosophy rather than science and issue based reading, which I'm probably stronger/less weak on. All help gratefully received.


Cathryn said...

E F Schumacher - Small is Beautiful
The Schumacher Society's pamphlets give some good stuff on economic policy
Arne Naess - Ecology Community and Lifestyle for deep ecology

I found Dryzek's The Politics of the Earth good for a general overview of different strands of green thinking / discourse

Porritt's Seeing Green is a classic in the UK

Also, although its perhaps nominally a science text, Gilbert White's A Natural History of Selbourne is inspiring and gives a deep understanding of interconnectedness one's own place if you let yourself get into the mind of it. Also Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

weggis said...

Don't Read. Think! And then write.

Be the one that others read.

Jim Jepps said...

Thanks Cathryn, I shall add them to my list - what did you think of them?

Weggis - I think that sums up my current position - but it's good to listen as well as talk I think :)

Daniel S. Ketelby said...

Green Politics by Charlene Spretnak, Fritjof Capra, and Rudiger Lutz.

A quarter century old, but philosophically fascinating in describing how the West German Greens insituted a whole new kind of politics, about tensions between realos and fundis... and about how process is part of the product.

Peter Shield said...

Can I suggest no better starting place than your own Derek Walls Babylon and Beyond- its is a good broad picture of the different shades and approaches to Green politics. It is a good start from which to explore individual schools in greater depth.
Fir a brief review see

As a communist who has become more and more attracted to a green left politics but can't quite leave my marxist baggage at the door I also find John Bellamy Foster usefully reassuring. He's a but academic but if you do come from a marxist background then is Marx's Ecology does its best to rescue the gruesome twosome(Marx and Engels)from being totally submerged in the 19th century obsession with Progress at all costs.

Joel Kovel is pretty cool as well.

Jim Jepps said...

Thanks Daniel and Peter.

I have to say I've tried Kovel and found it insufferably dry and overly academic - it's been a while but I've read some John Bellamy Foster which, I seem to remember, was very readable and I've got an unread one of his around here somewhere... [looks at heaps of books with confused expression]

Derek writes very well when he puts his mind to it and I wish he'd write more original stuff as there's far too little of his writing around.

Cathryn said...

I thought I'd be clever and blog an answer, but now my rss feed is broken :-) So I'm down to manual linking

Derek Wall said...

Jim thanks for your kind comments,

No Nonsense Guide to Green Politics out end of August.

The Rise of the Green Left (Pluto) out mid September....with a section from Hugo Blanco

Both aimed as introductions, I don't think there is a good introduction to ecosocialism.

Of course Shahrar Ali 'Why Vote Green' is a recently published and very good intro to green politics.