Top 10 Green Reads for 2021
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
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Ten years ago, a destructive industry would have been closely associated with weapons engineering firms, government War Machines, and oil companies. Today this reference applies to global industries that also affect the environment and human rights. When looking into the logistical inner-workings of society, the interconnectivity of everything becomes apparent. Too often we find ourselves facing human and environmental crises that go hand-in-hand; where you find one, the other lurks around the corner. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on a growing and intertwined global economy, it becomes essential to understand the economy’s ability to negatively impact the Earth and its inhabitants.
The following list of books produce a deep dive into the destructive nature of industrial machines that are connected to environmental and human rights issues while providing either broad or detailed analyses of the particular focus within their genre. We invite you to peruse this consolidated list and turn a page or two based on your research goals, reading interests, or whatever piques your curiosity!
#10 Dogs & Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan by Alex Kerr (2002)
Chronicling the disastrous use of cement and concrete in Japan’s building boom; on one hand protecting its land and people from frequent seismic activity in the region, but on the other destroying its natural ecosystem in the process. Kerr captures the reality of environmental destruction and its effects on a culture previously touted for its connection to land and tradition alongside its prowess in innovation and technology.
#9 Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow (2021)
One must acknowledge Rachel Maddow’s innate journalistic ability to weave facts from seemingly disparate circumstances into a cohesive and alluring story plot. Here she ties the oil and gas industries to weakened democratic states, polluted waterways, and a rise in authoritarian regimes. An eye-opening experience within the bound pages of a book that you will not want to put down.
#8 America’s War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflict by James McCartney & Molly Sinclair McCartney (2015)
Come along as the authors recount the rise of America’s War Machine and its current interconnected state with every aspect of American society, culture and politics. James and Molly McCartney guide readers through a compelling history of War; beginning with the Cold War and ending in the modern era. Are politicians and the defense sector vested in a safer world or in a violent one? Look at America in a new light - as a country ever expanding from its Eastern and Western coasts; extending far beyond any empire known to man.
#7 Want, Waste, or War? The Global Resource Nexus and the Struggle for Land, Energy, Food, Water and Minerals By Phillip Andrews-Speed, Raimond Bleischwitz, Tim Boersma, Corey Johnson, & Geoffrey Kemp (2014)
Focusing on economic markets, foreign relations, and human security, this book examines the governance challenges associated with the sustainability of modern resources, their finite availability, and their consumption. It has a heavy analytic base which expounds various methods for addressing severe nexus challenges on a global and local scale. The authors dare to pose the ultimate question, “How can waste, want, and war be avoided?”
#6 Fashionopolis: Why What We Wear Matters by Dana Thomas (2020)
Thomas gives us an insider’s peek behind the operating curtains of the fashion industry in her latest work, providing an analytic look at the top of the elite fashion pyramid, all the way down to the fast-fashion base. Exploitation is the name of Fashion’s game and it has increased exponentially due to the emergence of fast-fashion, globalization, and continual technological revolutions. Emphasizing a need to reclaim traditional crafts and utilize sustainable technologies, Thomas articulates the need to produce better fashion, guard intellectual property, protect the environment, and care for the labor force.
#5 The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket by Benjamin Lorr (2020)
Lorr writes a powerful social commentary on the ecosystem of American groceries, the stores they are sold in, and the workers who grow and deliver them. Look into the intricacies of a vastly unknown organization of essential workers responsible for providing and stocking the items Americans desire for their pantries, kitchens and stomachs.
#4 Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food, Waste, Hunger and Climate Change by John M. Mandyck & Eric B. Schultz (2015)
How is it possible for 800 million people to be chronically hungry and 2 billion to be considered malnourished in today’s day and age? The earth, alongside modern agriculture techniques, make it possible to produce enough food to feed the world’s population and yet food waste is the third most contributing factor to carbon emissions. Food Foolish explores the ramifications of food waste on the world hunger crisis, climate change, national security, and the growth of food deserts in urban centers.
#3 The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy by Jake Alimahomed-Wilson & Ellen Reese (2020)
The Cost of Free Shipping is a conglomeration of academic essays divided into four sections: Amazon’s Rise in Global Power; Exploitation & Resistance; Communities Confronting E-Commerce; and Struggling to Win. This work defines how one business has completely reshaped global logistics, economies, consumerism, and history while also providing its audience methods to counter what it terms “Amazon Capitalism”.
#2 The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism by Adam Rome (2001)
Among the first of its kind to explore suburban efforts at reducing environmental impacts, Rome places emphasis on two historic waves in American society: the mass migration to the suburbs post World War 2 and the rise of the environmental movement. His focus on the suburban sprawl covers the impacts of electricity, heating & cooling, human waste, reshaped natural landscapes and campaigns to protect natural habitats.
#1 The Environmental Impact of Suburbanization by Matthew E. Khan (2001)
This is a quick read that expounds quantitative measurements of environmental consequences related to suburbanization: household driving, home fuel consumption and land consumption within a suburban setting. Khan vouches for necessary government controls on emissions to protect air quality and tech innovations to mitigate environmental impacts caused by resource consumption - all backed up by hard data. Although short, it packs a mighty punch!
If you have further recommendations to enhance a broader understanding of the world we live in as it relates to the Green movement, feel free to email us or share your thoughts via our social media bar.
About the Author
Christine Dujcakova is a freelance writer and editor based in Slovakia and has worked with The Grey Point of View since 2021. An American expatriate who enjoys traveling the world with her family and devoting her free time to broadening our understanding of the ever-changing landscape of global politics, culture, and ideals. Christine enjoys sharing her discoveries of the vast world we live in today.
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