Book Review: “Earth Grab!”

Publisher: Pambazuka Press
ISBN: 978-0-85749-044-5
Pages: 170 plus index
Price: £14.95

Earth Grab is a straight-forward look at how the ecological crisis could get ugly(ier) if we end up relying on techno-fixes. It warns that if we are not careful, quick-fixes pedalled by powerful corporations could be the final nail in this planet’s coffin. The book is divided into three sections/reports, looking at geo-engineering, the biomass economy (that’s not a typo in the book’s title, in case you were wondering) and genetically engineered ‘climate-ready’ crops.

It reads a lot like a textbook and each chapter is filled with definitions, case studies, quotes, pictures and headings which break the topics down into very small manageable chunks. Although the text flows fairly well, the book doesn’t have a clear ‘voice’ (as i’ts actually written by a group of researchers). This makes it hard to keeping reading at times, but even so, it tells you everything you need to know about issues such as geo-engineering; why and when they emerged, who the major players are, as well as why its hugely problematic.

As it’s broken down so well, it’s easy to dip in and out and is useful as a reference guide. It is completely jargon-free and every single word is defined and explained- I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a complete climate change newbie

The only down-side I can think of is that it can be a little apocalyptic. I mean, do people really believe that reflecting sunlight to cool the planet is a good idea? Or that we could realistically get everyone to agree to it? Personally, I’d like to have a little faith in common sense. Although, after reading about the shady going-ons of various corporations and supporters, that faith was tested! However, I stick with my point that the image of gangster-style capitalists after a chunk of the planet versus the Pocahontas-like farmers was a bit grating after a while.

Overall, a well researched and clearly written book which looks at some important issues which will undoubtably become more important as the climate situation gets more desperate.

::Earth Grab is available at

Arwa Aburawa

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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2 Responses to Book Review: “Earth Grab!”

  1. pardoe says:

    Sounds good, I’ve just requested that Manchester Library orders a copy in, but won’t hold my breath:

    “Thank you for your stock suggestion which has been passed to our buying team for consideration. Please note this will not reserve the title for you, nor can we provide progress reports on the purchase of suggested titles. With the temporary closure of Central Library and consequent lack of storage space, it is unlikely that specialist material will be bought”

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