Soil Not Oil
There are many books on climate change, oil dependence, and agricultural problems. Vandana Shiva links all three in Soil Not Oil.
She shows that climate change, dwindling oil reserves, and food security are all inextricably related, and that any effective solution must address all of these issues, not just one at time.
Attempts to fuel the world's burgeoning population of motor vehicles with plant-based ethanol or biodiesel appear to use as much energy as they "save". In the meantime, vast areas of forest are destroyed to grow crops that are turned into fuel; the carbon in those trees and soil are released to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change; land formerly used to grow food now grows fuel, and hunger results. Climate change disrupts rainfall patterns and thereby food production. Farmers in India are forced from their fields, driven out by debt, soils malnourished by chemical and petroleum dependence, or "development" interests and paving equipment. Pedestrians and animals are shoved aside from paths shared for centuries, but now given over to the nearly exclusive use of motor vehicles.
Shiva is relentless in linking these phenomena and the interests that drive them forward, perhaps to the ruin of the world. Further, she has no sympathy for the "solutions" currently in favor.
In a book full of eminently quotable passages, she states flatly that emissions trading "defends the rights of corporations to pollute the atmosphere and destabilize the climate"; notes that outsourcing "outsources pollution though it doesn't outsource profits", and reminds us that "proponents of industrialization must recognize that if the entire world consumed resources and energy at US levels, we would need five planets."
It's hard to imagine a more direct and forceful indictment of the status quo. But she also offers solutions, beginning with a proper relationship to the soil. Many will not want to hear what she has to say. That does not diminish the importance of her message.
Soil Not Oil
by Vandana Shiva
South End Press