How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth

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Overview

A best seller in France, and already translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Korean, Hervé Kempf's How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth now appears in its first English edition. Bringing to bear more than twenty years of experience as an environmental journalist, Kempf describes the invincibility that many of the world's wealthy feel in the face of global warming, and how their unchecked privilege is thwarting action on the single most vexing problem facing our world.

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Overview

A best seller in France, and already translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Korean, Hervé Kempf's How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth now appears in its first English edition. Bringing to bear more than twenty years of experience as an environmental journalist, Kempf describes the invincibility that many of the world's wealthy feel in the face of global warming, and how their unchecked privilege is thwarting action on the single most vexing problem facing our world.

In this important primer on the link between global ecology and the global economy, Kempf makes the following observations: First, that the planet's ecological situation is growing ever worse, despite the efforts of millions of engaged citizens around the world. And second, despite environmentalists' emphasis that "we're all in the same boat," the world's economic elites--who continue to benefit by plundering the environment--have access to "lifeboats" that insulate them from the resulting catastrophes.

Societies have not been able to effectively combat the expanding ecological crisis because it is intimately linked to the social crisis in which the ruling form of capitalism has been organized to impede democratic initiatives. This link explains the failure to make progress against the greatest emergency of our time, because in this relationship the oligarchy plays an essential and destructive role. For this reason, solving the ecological crisis depends on disrupting the power of the world's elite.

We cannot understand the entwined ecological and social crises, Kempf argues, if we don't see them as the two sides of the same disaster--a disaster that comes from a system piloted by a dominant social strata that has no drive other than greed, no ideal other than conservatism, no dream other than technology. But Kempf also calls for measured optimism: "Despite the scale of the challenges that await us, solutions are emerging and--faced with the sinister prospects the oligarchs promote--the desire to remake the world is being reborn."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's time we stopped pretending that the climate crisis is unrelated to market fundamentalism, because we cannot fix the climate until we fix the way power and wealth are allocated. Kempf reminds us of the verities we forgot when we became mesmerized by affluence."--Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the (Australian) Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics

"At last someone is speaking the truth that so many know yet few acknowledge: the rich are destroying the earth. And people are listening, reading, understanding. Read this book, then stop the rich from destroying our only home, and while you're at it destroy the wretched system that allows the rich to do this. Thank you Herve Kempf, and thank you Chelsea Green." --Derrick Jensen, author of A Language Older Than Words and Listening to the Land

"Can global warming be reversed and our ecological balance restored? The answer is certainly yes. But as Hervé Kempf explains with great force and élan, it will require a massive social transformation, in which the principles of ecology and social justice gain ascendance over corporate greed. How the Rich are Destroying the Earth presents brutal truths about our present-day reality, while also offering optimism in the struggle for a sustainable future."--Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Contours of Descent

"[A] bombshell book."--Louis-Gilles Francoeur, Le Devoir

"Stunning survey . . . great journalism."--Anne Crignon, Le Nouvel Observateur

"A vigorous indictment against the 'neoliberal ideology,' guilty of driving the planet towards its own destruction."--Olivier Nouaillas, La Vie

"An invigorating book, to be read at once."--L'Ecologiste

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603580359
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Pages: 140
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Hervé Kempf has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter. He is the environmental editor of Le Monde, France's most influential daily newspaper, and the founder of Reporterre, a Web site devoted to discussion about the environment and social justice. He lives in France.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Greg Palast Palast, Greg

1 Catastrophe. And Then What? 1

2 Environmental Crisis, Social Crisis 26

3 The Powerful of This World 44

4 How the Oligarchy Exacerbates the Ecological Crisis 60

5 Democracy in Danger 75

6 Emergency and Optimism 97

Epilogue: At the Planet Cafe 101

Notes 107

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful study of capitalist chaos

    Hervé Kempf is Le Monde's environmental editor. In his foreword, US journalist Greg Palast reminds us that the great green guru Al Gore pushed through the North American Free Trade Agreement and ran Clinton's crusade against safety and environmental rules.

    Kempf shows us what a disaster the present world order is. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation notes that 925 million people are undernourished, and two billion suffer food shortages. One billion people live in slums. Capitalism misuses our resources across the world.

    He notes, "the global oligarchy wants to get rid of democracy and the civil rights and public liberties that constitute its substance." So now states criminalise protest, constantly watch us all, extend police powers and normalise torture. We live in a permanent state of emergency. As he sums up, 'Capitalism no longer needs democracy'; it was just a useful cover during the Cold War.

    He points out that the media express the views and interests of the ruling class. For example, the French media during the campaign on the EU Constitution insulted opponents of the proposed Constitution - that is, the majority of the French people - as xenophobes and fascists.

    He also denounces the absurd idea that capitalism's 'invisible hand' will bring peace and wealth for us all, as in some modern cargo cult.

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