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


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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: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

More 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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Very well written.
Wilma K. Mussen
The author urges us to "become active agents of transformation by recognizing that we have the capacity, the energy, and the creativity to make the change".
L. N. Olchoff
Given the frightening reality of peak oil, global warming, and the worldwide agrarian crisis, this is an extremely important and thought-provoking book.
wildflowerboy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful 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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By wildflowerboy on December 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John B. Morton on January 7, 2010
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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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Curtis Osiowy on November 16, 2009
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Vandana Shiva makes solid use of the 144 pages of her latest book: Soil Not Oil. Though Climate science is not her primary field of study, she does make great insights into the ways that instruments like carbon taxes are being used to benefit industry and those that own them rather than the planet and those that inhabit it. Her perspective (being from India) is always intriguing and is definitely contrary to the North American mainstream. Her insights into the plight of poor, who happen to make up the vast majority of the planet are well constructed and executed. A must read if you are at all socially conscious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By asap1082 on January 21, 2014
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I had to purchase this book for a class of mine. I was a little skeptical about reading it and thought it would be completely off the rockers, but it was in fact opposite of everything that I thought. It was an amazing book. It really gave you insight on a lot of issues in the world when it came to water and how major companies had the rights to water. I'd definitely recommend this book for people to read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Miner on April 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Being an environmentalist and advocate for equality I wanted very much to like this book. However, Shiva's work is full of inaccuracies and incoherent theories.

She claims that oil subsidies make small organic farms appear more expensive than large industrial farms. I don't like a lot of practices of industrial agriculture, and as it stands, it is unsustainable. However, small farms would be more expensive regardless of oil subsidies due to the economies of scale. You need less oil to transport one pound of food produced on an industrial farm since they usually travel on massive semi-trucks which are very fuel efficient, than you need to transport one pound of food produced on a local organic farm, since that food is usually transported in tiny loads in the back of vans. Each pound of food produced on a large farm takes less human labor- and that's a good thing for most people. I'm sorry Vandana, but I don't have some sentimental vision of being a farmer and living on the land. I’d rather read and do hobbies than till soil.

Shiva asserts "the fossil fuel economy... has rendered humans redundant to the economic enterprise of production." This is wrong. The phenomenon of unemployment came into existence with the emergence of capitalism around 1800, a century before fossil fuels were prominent factors of production. On the other hand, many fossil-fuel-driven economies have seen virtually zero unemployment, like the Soviet Union and Cuba, or postwar Japan, which averaged 1-2% unemployment. Shiva's framework about fossil fuel causing unemployment is wishful thinking, not based on historical knowledge. I don't like fossil fuels either, but to blame unemployment on oil is false.
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