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Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis Paperback – October 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A world-renowned environmental leader and recipient of the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award), Shiva has authored several bestselling books, most recently Earth Democracy. Activist and scientist, Shiva leads, with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin, the International Forum on Globalization. Before becoming an activist, Shiva was one of India's leading physicists.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896087824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896087828
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rajesh Oza on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
The World is Not "Phat"

SIDDHARTHA R. OZA and RAJESH C. OZA

Four years ago, Tom Friedman celebrated globalization with his best-selling "The World is Flat." While seeming to upend the status quo (after all, the world is round), Friedman emphasized the importance of multinational companies and their market-based economics. Indeed, he updated his Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention ("people in McDonald's countries didn't like to fight wars anymore") to a high-tech "Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention" ("global supply chains in the flat world are an even greater restraint on geopolitical adventurism"). Last year, in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," Friedman acknowledged the problems of global warming, rising expectations, and population growth, but he continued to promote the free market, causing us to recall Einstein's quote: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

An antidote to this monocultural thinking is Vandana Shiva's "Soil Not Oil," a little book that questions conventional wisdom and demands environmental justice. Whereas Friedman views globalization as an ameliorative process, one that makes life less Hobbesian--less "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"--Shiva is a realistic utilitarian who believes the globalized world is not "phat," not at all cool: not only is the earth heating up due to careless fossil-fuel addiction, but this addiction has also exacerbated the inequity between the haves and the have-nots.

Shiva is a scientist, activist, feminist, philosopher, and community organizer who champions the rights of those whose lives are nasty, brutish, and short--those without a seat in corporate boardrooms.
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In her latest book, Vandana Shiva, a leading opponent of water privatization and biotechnology, takes on the energy and transportation sectors, exposing how the oil industry is causing climate chaos and food insecurity. She also condemns industrial biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel, arguing that the mass production of genetically engineered monoculture crops like corn and soy is robbing the poor of land and food. Furthermore, tropical rainforests which are crucial carbon sinks are being bulldozed to plant soy and palm plantations, killing these delicate ecosystems along with the indigenous peoples that inhabit them. While trading in one's automobile for an oxcart, donkey, or bicycle may seem like a bizarre idea to most middle-class white folks in the global north, such sustainable alternatives are the norm for millions of people in Latin America, Asia, and Africa and should be embraced by everyone concerned about climate stability. I, personally, found Vandana Shiva's childhood recollections of riding an elephant to school totally delightful! Given the frightening reality of peak oil, global warming, and the worldwide agrarian crisis, this is an extremely important and thought-provoking book. Please read it and do what you can to support decentralized, small-scale, biodiverse, local, organic food systems and sustainable, carbon-neutral transportation alternatives!
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Thank God for Vandana Shiva. In an insanely materialistic and rapacious world corrupted by corporate theft, her intelligence, depth and humanity are a breath of fresh air for decent people the world throughout. Read this book and others by someone who understands and articulates the consequences of a world where mindless corporate power is pillaging the globe in frightening Terminator II fashion.

J.B.
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This unforgettable book presents a no-nonsense analysis of the results of mechanization and industrialization on people, plants, and the soil, resulting in a three-pronged crisis threatening the survival of humanity. In four beautifully succinct chapters, Shiva describes how these challenges are not only intertwined but are the result of the same inaccurate business assumptions. Woven into each chapter, Vandana Shiva provides threads suggesting a plan for an extreme lifestyle "makeover" for humanity, one which will address all three challenges simultaneously, yet which would probably be unacceptable to most people in the Global North.

This book is a "wake-up call" to humanity! Vandana Shiva begins by describing three emergencies, life-threatening crises that humanity faces today. We all know about peak oil and climate change, as they are regularly covered by the media. The third emergency is food insecurity, which Shiva describes as interconnected and intertwined with the other two crises. Shiva describes a food crisis as caused by "the combined impacts of the industrialization and globalization of agriculture" . Stepping back through history, Vandana Shiva reminds us that industrialization and later globalization of manufacturing - which were only possible with cheap and plentiful fossil fuels - have triggered climate change and peak oil. But what was the mindset that launched mechanization and later globalization? It is here that Shiva really takes off, explaining how the term "development" is used in biology versus economics, and how development serves to oppress people and degrade the earth's natural infrastructure today.

Woven throughout these chapters are hints to Shiva's preferred solution.
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