Social Ecology Blog

A French fiction on municipal direct democracy

Vincent Gerber in Geneva writes:

Hadrien Delahousse, whom some of you met in Vermont last year [and at the TRISE meeting in Greece –ed.], has lent me an interesting book (in French) : “La commune libre de Saint-Martin” by Jean-François Aupetitgendre (pseudonym), edited by Les éditions libertaires in 2012.

It could be called a political fiction. The author tells the story of a commune (of 5,000 people) that starts to develop parallel power and to function as a direct democracy. He presents the different problems that come out and how the people organize themselves to overcome them. It [...]

Book Review: Gunnar Rundgren’s “Garden Earth”

Garden Earth: From Hunter and Gatherer
to Global Capitalism and Thereafter
by Gunnar Rundgren

Reviewed by Grace Gershuny

Gunnar Rundgren is well known in the international organic community as an articulate leader, consultant, theorist, and practitioner of organic agriculture world wide.  A founder of the influential Swedish organic certification program KRAV, he later became President of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), helping transform it from a highly Euro-centric organization to one with strong representation from every continent.  His consulting organization, Grolink, helps train organic farmers in Africa and has advised several UN agricultural programs.  Grolink [...]

Social Ecology at the annual Left Forum (NYC, June 7-9th)

For the first time in many years, the ISE is presenting a panel at the annual Left Forum, at Pace University, next to City Hall Park in New York City.  Please join us!

The revolutionary project of social ecology
Sunday, June 9th, 12 noon, Room E307

With Brian Tokar, Dan Chodorkoff, Chaia Heller, and Eleanor Finley

Since the 1960s, social ecologists have advanced a revolutionary outlook that examines the problematic relationships between society, capitalism, social hierarchy and the natural world. Three generations of social ecologists will discuss social ecology in historical, philosophical, and political terms, focusing significantly on social [...]

Mike Small: Scotland’s Local Food Revolution

ISE alum Mike Small has been working in the Fife district of Scotland to develop new models of organizing around local food. That work has now culminated in a book titled Scotland’s Local Food Revolution.

Mike writes:
It seems fitting  in the same week that climate warming greenhouse gas reached 400 parts per million for the first time in human history … to launch a book on efforts to radically change the food system.
The book is not about the Fife Diet, it’s about the wider movement and the response to the collapsing dysfunctional industry that thrives [...]

Janet Biehl on the “Pioneers of Ecological Humanism”

From The New Compass, a review by Janet Biehl of Pioneers of Ecological Humanism, by University of London anthropologist Brian Morris. The book offers a comparative review of three pioneers of current ecological thought, Lewis Mumford, René Dubos, and Murray Bookchin.

Janet writes:
… the expanding capitalist order has proved itself to be unsustainable – it is the very path leading to the ecological crisis. But the alternative, the fetishization of wilderness, is untenable as well, since pursuing it would require a massive reduction in human population (neo-Malthusianism), the subordination of human aims to perceived natural ones, [...]

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    ISE alum Robert Ogman’s “Against the Nation: Anti-National Politics in Germany”

ISE alum Robert Ogman’s “Against the Nation: Anti-National Politics in Germany”

Against the Nation: Anti-National Politics in Germany
By ISE alum Robert Ogman
Now available from New Compass Press and AK Press

Following the German reunification process in the 1990s, a new movement appeared in Germany. This movement rejected all forms of nationalism, including the desirability and legitimacy of national communities, borders, and the existence of the nation-state itself. Against the Nation covers the background of this movement—the rise of Neo-Nazism, racist violence, restriction in immigration policies, and growing state power—as well as its urge to organize society around other principles than nationality.

By examining the campaigns and documents [...]

Grace Gershuny on Ecologizing the Food System

From ISE faculty member and organic pioneer, Grace Gershuny:

This is a first installment of an ongoing discussion about Social Ecology and the food system – both why the one we have is so wrong, and how our understanding of the root causes of its failures can inform food system activists and practitioners.  There is an approximate boatload of food system bloggers of all stripes out there – this one will uniquely speak from the perspective of Social Ecology, which is sorely needed.  I hope you will jump in and offer your own insights to the questions [...]

On Boston: The Inevitability of Vulnerability

From ISE board member and outstanding singer/songwriter Ben Grosscup:

Boston Tragedy Reveals Inevitability of Vulnerability
By Ben Grosscup

Public acts of inexplicable and horrific violence such as what we saw in Boston on Monday reveal basic vulnerabilities that are painful but necessary to face.

My whole family converged in Boston to cheer on my father and my two brothers who entered the Marathon. We are all well. My brothers and I heard the 2 explosions from a few blocks away, not knowing what they were until many minutes later.

My sorrow is for the suffering of the people who died, [...]

“Apocalypse, Not?” by Brian Tokar

A review of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, by Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen and James Davis (Oakland: PM Press, 2012, 178 pp.).

Eric Toensmeier’s new book project

We were hesitant to post a Kickstarter link here, but glad to make an exception for Eric Toensmeier’s new, pioneering book project.  The working title is “Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices.” If you’ve ever attended a class of Eric’s at the ISE or elsewhere, or visited his and Jonathan Bates’ spectacular permaculture homestead in Holyoke, Mass. (described in this recent book), you know that Eric is on the leading edge of permaculture practice, and a passionate advocate for social-ecological transformation.

This book is the culmination of [...]