ISBN 978 1 84694 671 4. “No Local – Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won’t Change the World” by Greg Sharzer as published by Zero Books in 2012. This is a small book by a relatively unknown author. Its cover and title attempts to ape Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” but there is no comparison. At first glance the concept was very attractive to us: a critique of re-localisation. Yes, it is a critique but one by a devout Marxist. As such it is tortuous reading. It is like studying the work of an 18th Century Catholic theologian who argued that Buddhism was the work of the devil because Buddhists didn’t care how many angels could be stood on the head of a pin. The critique only makes sense if you are a Marxist.
Jay Rayner (restaurant critic for The Observer newspaper) recently blogged about how much he hated dishwashers (http://t.co/BQgkBFUf): “At dinner parties, guests who had offered to help clear up find themselves standing in the middle of my kitchen, paralysed with fear when they realise helping means “washing up”.” In an era where kids think that what happens in a kitchen is the cooking portrayed by the TV show “Come Dine With Me” it seems the art of washing-up-by-hand is dying.
ISBN 978 14088 2483 2. “Merchants of Doubt – How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming” was written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway and first published by Bloomsbury in 2010 (this paperback in 2012). If you fast forward to the Conclusion in this book you may be forgiven for thinking you were still reading the last book we reviewed “Debunking Economics” by Steve Keen. For what links the two is how a dogmatic belief in “free market fundamentalism” can cause people to abandon all reason. As if under the influence of some bizarre cult perfectly reasonable people start to deny the very principle of reality: they start fighting scientific rationalism with propaganda.
Nothing more clearly illustrates the division between old fashioned green thinking & the modern sustainability movement than Genetically Modified food. A recent clash of Tweets between author Mark Lynas (“The God Species“) and Dr Vandana Shiva (author “Soil Not Oil“) exposes just how deep the battle wounds have become. The gloves are off but maybe both are missing the point.