How and why the working class are being blamed for climate change, and what we can do about it
Elaine Graham-Leigh, A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food and Climate Change, (Zero 2015) 250pp.
Received wisdom is increasingly that we all have to eat less to save the planet, but received wisdom is wrong. A Diet of Austerity argues that, just as the poor are blamed for the economic crisis, Malthusian conceptions about food and ecology are being used to hold the working class responsible for climate change and global hunger. Challenging existing dogmas about overconsumption and personal responsibility, it shows that what we need to stop climate change is system change.
'Elaine has a produced a must-read book for all of us concerned with combatting climate change. We can't diet our way to a better world but we can and must change the system to sustain the future. This book is well written, fascinating, controversial and essential.'
Derek Wall, Former Green Party of England and Wales Principal Speaker and author of 'The Rise of the Green Left'
'Who is to blame for climate change? Graham-Leigh says it's not fat people, cows or the working class. A challenging and interesting book, packed with new ideas to make you think again about what you thought you knew.
Jonathan Neale, Author of 'Stop Global Warming, Change the World'
'Food production and consumption is increasingly recognized as a major driver of global climate change, but where does the balance of blame lie? Elaine Graham-Leigh’s book makes an important and timely contribution to the debates swirling around food production systems, 'overconsumption' and climate change. The class-based ideological assault on working people as the culprits of our multi-faceted ecological crisis, are elucidated with great clarity by the author. For people who believe combining social justice with ecological sustainability is an essential part of the answer, Graham-Leigh’s book provides essential ammunition as to why it is our system of food production for commodity exchange, and the waste inherent in it, rather than individual behavior and food choices, that lies at the heart of the crisis.'
Chris Williams, Author of Ecology and Socialism
'An excellent, polemical book; enjoyable, interesting and very, very well-written. A really new contribution to theory and an incisive argument.'
Chris Nineham, Author of 'The People v Tony Blair'
Elaine has been an environmental campaigner for more than a decade. She speaks and writes widely on issues of climate change and social justice, and is a member of Counterfire. She is the author of A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food and Climate Change and her latest book, Marx and the Climate Crisis is out now.
More articles from this author
- Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care - book review
- The Monster Enters: Covid-19, Avian Flu and the Plagues of Capitalism - book review
- Capitalism as a dynamic system: Marx and the Climate Crisis - extract
- Marx and the Climate Crisis - extract
- Engels was right, class society and women's oppression aren't inevitable or irreversible
- Covid-19, lockdown, and civil liberties
- Chomsky’s Deterring Democracy: books that made me a socialist