100 books like The Malthusian Moment

By Thomas Robertson,

Here are 100 books that The Malthusian Moment fans have personally recommended if you like The Malthusian Moment. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Limits to Growth

Bruce Nappi Author Of Collapse 2020 Vol. 1: Fall of the First Global Civilization

From my list on the impending collapse of global civilization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an Eagle Scout selected for the 1964 North Pole expedition, graduate of MIT with both BS and MS degrees in Aero Astro – yes, a true MIT rocket scientist. I quickly took planning roles at the “bleeding edge” of technology: missiles, nuclear power, heart pumps, DNA sequencing, telemedicine… In every case, however, the organizations were plagued by incompetence and corruption. As an individual, I interacted with activist leaders in movements for: peace, climate, social justice, ending poverty, etc. Again, incompetence and corruption. Throughout, I dug for answers into the wisdom of the classics and emerging viewpoints. Finally. All that effort paid off. I found the “big picture”! 

Bruce's book list on the impending collapse of global civilization

Bruce Nappi Why did Bruce love this book?

Limits To Growth summarized the first major computer simulation of world society. It was comprehensive, including the influence of: human population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion. The results were sobering! It showed that, if major limits were not established for human population, pollution, and resource depletion, a severe collapse of human society would follow in the near future. What most people do not know is, the report was so disturbing it was accepted by the United Nations for action. It was so well received by world leaders that, by 1974, almost every world nation agreed to take major steps to set such limits. China, for example, established its one-child family policy. Ironically, the U.S. refused any commitment. By 1978, carbon industry disinformation killed all the commitments.

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Limits to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Examines the factors which limit human economic and population growth and outlines the steps necessary for achieving a balance between population and production. Bibliogs


Book cover of The Dispossessed

Joseph Pitkin Author Of Exit Black

From my list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My science fiction and fantasy writing is concerned with the values I was exposed to growing up. As a lifelong Quaker, I have struggled—often unsuccessfully—to live out Quakerism’s non-conformist, almost utopian commitment to equality, simplicity, peace, and community. Not only have I tried to bear witness to those values in my writing, but those ideals led me to my career as an instructor at a community college, one of America’s great socioeconomic leveling institutions. My background as a speculative fiction writer has also made me into a teacher of science fiction and fantasy literature at my college, where I read and came to love the books I recommend here. 

Joseph's book list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality

Joseph Pitkin Why did Joseph love this book?

I found this book (whose subtitle is “An Ambiguous Utopia”) one of the most thought-provoking works of fiction I have read.

The Dispossessed was my first introduction to anarchism as a political platform, and while it didn’t make an anarchist out of me, it was the book that allowed me to imagine anarchism as a coherent political philosophy. Practically every page of the book offers a critique of modern capitalism, and it’s impossible to read this book without considering the structures in our world today that ensure a system of haves and have-nots.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Dispossessed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…


Book cover of The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure

Giorgos Kallis Author Of Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care

From my list on living within limits.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote a book on Limits. Limits is the core question of modern environmentalism. But I want to break environmentalism out of the grip of Malthusianism and a set of ideas about our world as being inherently limited, that have delegated us environmentalists to party-pooping prophets of doom. I want to reclaim a radical notion of self-limitation which is what makes the environmentalist movement unique – a claim that a free life worth living is a life lived within limits, a simple life so that others may simply live. It is not the planet that is asking us to limit ourselves, but we that desire it.

Giorgos' book list on living within limits

Giorgos Kallis Why did Giorgos love this book?

Michel Foucault had a variety of interests and wrote about many different topics – ecology and limits to growth were definitely not among them. I have found this book super useful though in thinking about what I call self-limitation, the processes through which individuals and collectives voluntarily craft the limits of their action and their power. Foucault’s book analyses how ancient Greeks perceived sexuality, and how they managed their bodies and desires. For the Greeks mastery over one’s wants was seen as key to personal freedom and development. Sexual freedom was part and parcel of the self-regulation of sexual desire. I can´t say I understand everything Foucault writes, but this is definitely one of his clearest books, with a more American style short prose than his previous labyrythical French writing. Reading about a civilization that was so similar, but also so different from ours, and how it regulated without suppressing…

By Michel Foucault,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sequel to The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction, the brilliantly original French thinker who died in 1984 gives an analysis of how the ancient Greeks perceived sexuality.

Throughout The Use of Pleasure Foucault analyzes an irresistible array of ancient Greek texts on eroticism as he tries to answer basic questions: How in the West did sexual experience become a moral issue? And why were other appetites of the body, such as hunger, and collective concerns, such as civic duty, not subjected to the numberless rules and regulations and judgments that have defined, if not confined, sexual…


Book cover of The Limits to Scarcity: Contesting the Politics of Allocation

Giorgos Kallis Author Of Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care

From my list on living within limits.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote a book on Limits. Limits is the core question of modern environmentalism. But I want to break environmentalism out of the grip of Malthusianism and a set of ideas about our world as being inherently limited, that have delegated us environmentalists to party-pooping prophets of doom. I want to reclaim a radical notion of self-limitation which is what makes the environmentalist movement unique – a claim that a free life worth living is a life lived within limits, a simple life so that others may simply live. It is not the planet that is asking us to limit ourselves, but we that desire it.

Giorgos' book list on living within limits

Giorgos Kallis Why did Giorgos love this book?

This edited volume questions the notion of scarcity, which is the lynchpin of modern economics. Ever since Malthus’s Essay on Population at the turn of the 19th century, there is a myth that human wants are unlimited (and illimitable) and that the world is too small for all of us and our needs. Economists invented this myth to justify capitalism´s perpetuation of inequality and poverty amidst plenty, constructing an ideology of limitless growth as the only possible response to our predicament of this supposed universal and eternal scarcity. The contributions to this volume reveal how this ideology of scarcity plays out till our day, and elites invoke scarcity and limits to control the bodies and desires of marginalized groups. 

By Lyla Mehta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Limits to Scarcity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scarcity is considered a ubiquitous feature of the human condition. It underpins much of modern economics and is widely used as an explanation for social organisation, social conflict and the resource crunch confronting humanity's survival on the planet. It is made out to be an all-pervasive fact of our lives - be it of housing, food, water or oil. But has the conception of scarcity been politicized, naturalized, and universalized in academic and policy debates? Has overhasty recourse to scarcity evoked a standard set of market, institutional and technological solutions which have blocked out political contestations, overlooking access as a…


Book cover of Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation

Haydn Washington Author Of A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature: Healing the Planet Through Belonging

From my list on the environmental crisis and possible solutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion is life, hence why I became an environmental scientist, and why I became a conservationist at age 18, leading the campaign to protect Wollemi National Park in Australia. My sense of wonder towards nature has transformed my life. As Aldo Leopold observed, we ‘live in a world of wounds’ as the ‘more-than-human’ world is rapidly declining. But it doesn’t have to be this way, positive if challenging solutions exist. Hence why I write about environmental science, ecological economics, ecological ethics, denial, human dependence on nature, meaningful sustainability, and what we each can do to give back to Nature.

Haydn's book list on the environmental crisis and possible solutions

Haydn Washington Why did Haydn love this book?

Society has to face up to the fact that there are far too many people on planet Earth, probably several times more than is ecologically sustainable. It is no use denying it and making it taboo. Sure we need smaller ecological footprints – but we also need fewer feet. Overpopulation means that life on Earth is indeed on the brink of extinction. This is probably the best book I know that tackles the population issue with both science and compassionate ethics for all life.

By Philip Cafaro (editor), Eileen Crist (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life on the Brink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life on the Brink aspires to reignite a robust discussion of population issues among environmentalists, environmental studies scholars, policy makers, and the general public. Some of the leading voices in the American environmental movement restate the case that population growth is a major force behind many of our most serious ecological problems, including global climate change, habitat loss and species extinction's, air and water pollution, and food and water scarcity. As we surpass seven billion world inhabitants, contributors argue that ending population growth worldwide and in the United States is a moral imperative that deserves renewed commitment.

Hailing from a…


Book cover of The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

From my list on American environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! When I was teaching courses in environmental history and women’s history, I kept noticing the intriguing intersections, which inspired me to write Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers. Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library and on YouTube). 

Nancy's book list on American environmental history

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

Adam Rome examines an underappreciated topic in environmental history: the environmental costs of the ever-growing American suburbs. Mass migration to the suburbs coincided with the rise of the environmental movement. That convergence was followed by political controversy, and ultimately codes, regulations, and guidelines. Rome is a great storyteller who reveals important shifts in growth management and environmental policy. 

By Adam Ward Rome,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bulldozer in the Countryside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The concern today about suburban sprawl is not new. In the decades after World War II, the spread of tract-house construction changed the nature of millions of acres of land, and a variety of Americans began to protest against the environmental costs of suburban development. By the mid-1960s, indeed, many of the critics were attempting to institutionalize an urban land ethic. The Bulldozer in the Countryside was the first scholarly work to analyze the successes and failures of the varied efforts to address the environmental consequences of suburban growth from 1945 to 1970. For scholars and students of American history,…


Book cover of Natives and Exotics: World War II and Environment in the Southern Pacific

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Why are we passionate about this?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

Bennett has produced an outstanding tour-de-force integrating the military history of the Central and Southwest Pacific with the new field of war and environment studies. Bennett goes beyond the immediate impact of combat to consider the military use of natural resources, the effect of bases on islands that never saw fighting, the movement of people, plants and diseases, and the politics of how Islander people and places were used in the war. From how foreign imaginations about the tropical environment affected military planning, to the conflict’s real long-term effects on lands and seas, this book adds essential depth to our view of the war years in this region.

By Judith A. Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Natives and Exotics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambitious in its scope and scale, this environmental history of World War II ranges over rear bases and operational fronts from Bora Bora to New Guinea, providing a lucid analysis of resource exploitation, entangled wartime politics, and human perceptions of the vast Oceanic environment. Although the war's physical impact proved significant and oftentimes enduring, this study shows that the tropical environment offered its own challenges. At the heart of ""Natives and Exotics"" is the author's analysis of the changing visions and perceptions of the environment, not only among the millions of combatants, but also among the Islands' peoples and their…


Book cover of Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

If Emily Hahn’s real-life adventures were in a novel, you’d say they were completely implausible. I discovered this unorthodox travel journalist when I was in my twenties, longing for my own travel experiences. Born in 1905 when women’s options were limited, Emily simply saw life as an adventure and didn’t let her gender or youth stop her from traveling the world solo. She voyaged to Africa on a steamer; worked for the Red Cross in the Belgian Congo; became a concubine and got hooked on opium in Shanghai; moved to Hong Kong where she helped with underground relief work — all the while writing books and articles for publications like The New Yorker. She inspired me to live life as an adventure and then write about it. (But obviously, without all the affairs and opium!)

By Ken Cuthbertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody Said Not to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known as Mickey to her friends, Emily Hahn was a feminist trailblazer before the word existed. She ran away to the Belgian Congo as a Red Cross Worker during the Great Depression, was the concubine of a Chinese poet in Shanghai in the 1930s, had a child with the head of the British Secret Service in Hong Kong before WWII ...


Book cover of Material Value: More Sustainable, Less Wasteful Manufacturing of Everything from Cell Phones to Cleaning Products

Sarah Winkler Author Of Recycling For Dummies

From my list on challenging our understanding of waste.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a youngster I used to drive my parents crazy because I was so passionate about recycling. I rekindled this passion about five years ago and started Everyday Recycler. Through my website I help people improve their recycling habits by offering actionable instructions with a focus on explaining how recycling works and its intrinsic value. I also advocate strongly for recycled products. I believe that by purchasing recycled products, we can help generate demand for the materials we toss in our recycling bin and contribute to the overall success of recycling. These works have educated and inspired me over the years. I hope they inspire you as much.

Sarah's book list on challenging our understanding of waste

Sarah Winkler Why did Sarah love this book?

Reading Material Value will deepen your understanding of how everyday products are made, motivate you to make more informed consumer choices, and inspire you to advocate for more sustainable and less wasteful manufacturing practices. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

But the book is jam-packed with detailed information helping the reader to appreciate what is required to make the products we use daily. In addition, I appreciate how the author gives the background information from a fair standpoint and emphasizes that cooperation and open communication are preferable strategies for change than direct confrontational tactics.

While bad companies do exist, more often than not, other circumstances impede companies from acting in a more ethical manner.

By Julia L F Goldstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Material Value as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

"Meticulous editing and a succinct style.... Exemplary for its balanced and reasonable viewpoint, the text deserves to be classified as a reference tool for countless professionals." —Publishers Weekly, BookLife Prize Creative Solutions from Smart Businesses

Are you concerned about plastic waste and its effect on public health and the environment? You're not alone.

Read Material Value to learn about the challenges facing the manufacturing world and how to make choices that are less wasteful and less harmful to people and the environment.

Discover:

How metals and plastics are made and what happens when they are recycled…


Book cover of Here: The Dot We Call Home

Amy Houts Author Of God's Earth Is Something to Fight for

From my list on Christian Earth Day books for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the author of 100+ children’s books, I work mainly on assignment for educational and faith-based publishers. But when I’m freelancing, I want the topic to be something I’m passionate about. Being married to a science teacher, we often discuss science issues. After having grandchildren, I wondered, what type of planet are we going to leave them? Our grandchildren are aware and concerned about severe weather patterns. I asked myself, what can I do? Plus, I wanted to write through the lens of my faith. I wrote my picture book, God’s Earth is Something to Fight For, to instill hope and give practical ways for children to help save Earth.

Amy's book list on Christian Earth Day books for kids

Amy Houts Why did Amy love this book?

In a clear, but profound way, Laura Alary’s picture book, Here, helps children to see the scope of their existence.

She starts with something familiar, “This is my home. I live here. But I am not the first.” Then she takes the reader back in time and space to show some good things (gardens) and some bad things (a garbage dump) on Earth. Charming illustrations by Cathrin Peterslund pair well with the text.

While it doesn’t specifically mention God, it calls on the responsibility of each person to take care of “This Dot We Call Home.”

By Laura Alary, Cathrin Peterslund (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Here: The Dot We Call Home is a simple and enchanting book that invites children to see themselves as both descendants and ancestors, and caretakers of our beautiful planet. 

This is my home. I live here. But I am not the first… 

When a child finds clues that others have lived in her house before her, she begins to wonder about them, and about those who will come after her. The more she wonders, the more her sense of home expands, stretching to include an entire planet. 

With her thoughtful approach and her unique ability to make big concepts engaging…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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