Welcome to the Fix library. Here you’ll find books, films/documentaries, web articles, and online videos to keep you satiated (eventually…I’ll be adding regularly) . We like seeing this collection grow, by the way, so if you think there’s something missing, send a link our way. I know it’s pretty tiny at the moment, it’s just a daunting job to list everything.
No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs. Naomi Klein, 2000.
Passionately written, Klein details the increasing influence of corporations on modern life, from the domination of our public spaces, determining our lifestyle choices, and shaping the lives of workers.
The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein, 2007.
Hard hitting accounts of the way disasters and profit have become increasingly intertwined, meanwhile having devastating effects on the lives of those already underpriveleged and further shifting power towards those with the largest bank balances.
Confessions of an Economic Hitman. John Perkins, 2004.
Perkins retells of his life as an Economic Hitman, which involved convincing developing nations to accrue large amounts of debt that they would not be able to repay, in order for large American corporations to profit through billion dollar infrastructure projects.
The value of nothing. Raj Patel, 2009.
A mixture of economic history to unravel the roots of free market capitalism, with references to issues such as climate change and agriculture. Engaging, packed with further reading, and incredibly clarifying.
The great transformation: The political and economic origins of our time. Karl Polanyi, 1957, 2001.
Polanyi is an economic historian, and while his writing style doesn’t make for light reading, what he has to say about how we got to where we are today is incredibly enlightening. Going all the way back to the Industrial revolution, Polanyi’s greatest contribution (to me so far) is his insistence on placing society before the market, not the other way around, and his realistic and inspiring take on what freedom should mean. This work contains some truly seminal ideas which inform the existing critiques of the free market and its effects on society.
Food and agriculture
Stuffed and Starved: Markets, power, and the hidden battle for the world food system. Raj Patel, 2007.
Patel dissects the intricate links in the world food system, revealing the political and social implications behind every day food items. A relatively difficult read due to the sheer amount of information to process, not to mention the anguish of farmers in developing countries, but incredibly necessary.
Eat Your Heart Out: Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health. Felicity Lawrence, 2008.
This is an examination of the food system more from the perspective of developed nations, and in some ways this fact makes the tragedy of agribusiness and their grip on our lives even more poignant.
In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto. Michael Pollan, 2008
Pollan writes about the way “nutrition” discourse has led everyday eaters astray and confused our common sense about what it means to eat healthily. Instead, Pollan offers an engaging and practical guide to eating better, for both our own health and the health of the environment. In doing so, he reveals various food issues and discusses them in a holistic, clear, and entertaining way.
Eating Animals.Jonathan Saffran Foer, 2009
Looks at the issue of eating animals from a very holistic, empathetic view. Jonathan grew up eating meat so has a great perspective on how and why he stopped. An easy read that is still informative and incredibly throught provoking. Mostly based on US farming though.
Food Fray: Inside the controversy of genetically modified food. Lisa Weasel, 2008.
A scientific look at GM that goes beyond the lab. Perhaps a little incomplete, but certainly interesting.
Media & Communications
Media Society: Industries, Images and Audiences. David Croteau & William Hoynes. 2003 (3rd Ed)
One of my favourite textbooks, Media Society is thorough without wafflling, and still relevant today. Looks at the relationship between media on society, and society on media, in a multitude of ways.
Media, Culture and the Environment. Alison Anderson. 1997
Environmental Risk and the Media. Stuart Allan, Barbara Adam, Cynthia Carter. 2000
Gardening & cooking
The Grower’s Cookbook: From the table to the garden. Dennis Greville & Jill Brewis.
While this book is certainly not extensive, it is incredibly succinct and helpful for someone who wants to know how to grow and what to do with some of the basics – excellent for gardening beginners and beautifully photographed to make gardening a pleasure, not a bore. NZ based, which really helps with the relevance of the climate in growing food.
Silent Spring. Rachel Carson. 1962, 2002
One of the key books (some would argue the key book) that brought attention to the limits of the chemical assault on insect and plant pests through the widespread use of DDT pesticides. Many of Carson’s conclusions are still relevant today, despite the worldwide ban on DDT for use as a pesticide (it is still used to control vectors). While she attracted widespread criticism (mainly from chemical manufacturers and industry), she managed to inform the public about the wider effects of pesticide use on the environment, human health, and farmers, in a way that was easily accessible and backed up with a plethora of studies. While there are certain limitations to the alternatives she suggests, the overall argument for using holistic biological controls still persuades today.
Food & agriculture
Food, Inc. US agriculture gets a ethical, environmental blow.
We feed the world. A look at the consequences of our current way of agriculture, from the way seeds and life are made into commodities, to the waste it generates.
Food Matters. While I didn’t buy the obsession with raw food in this film it certainly raised some interesting and important questions about the relationship between food and health.
The globalised economy
Black Gold – A look at the production of the human fuel, coffee.
Crude – covers the ongoing lawsuit against Texaco/Chevron for huge oil spills in the Amazon. Goes to both sides of the issue.
The Economics of Happiness – looks at the myths of globalisation and also offers an actual alternative of localisation.
Collections covering a variety of issues
Global Issues (Anup Shah)
The food movement, rising. (Michael Pollan)
Livestock and climate change (Robert Goodland & Jeff Anhang, published by World Watch Institute) Looks into the ways livestock contributes to GHG emissions and how this contribution has not been fully accounted for in the UN’s FAO report “Livestock’s long shadow.”
Another reason to eat less meat. (Sheryl Eisenberg) Great article about the environmental impact of meat eating, including some great resources for further reading.
New emissions measurements show “green” consumerism failing. (Amanda Reed)
For the public good. Mythbusters: Privatization. (PopularEconomics)
For the public good. Mythbusters: Overview. (Popular Economics)
Please send your essays or even your thesis to me! I’d love to check it out and if you’re keen, post it on the site. Cheers
Improving News Media Communication of Sustainability and the Environment: An Exploration of Approaches (Komathi Kolandai-Matchett) University of Canterbury PhD Thesis.
How media proprietors control content (Zo Zhou) University of Canterbury Undergraduate (1st year) essay for COMS102