The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology
Forthcoming in April 2020
Twenty years ago, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature introduced a new understanding of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ecological materialism. More than simply a study of Marx, it commenced an intellectual and social history, encompassing thinkers from Epicurus to Darwin, who developed materialist and ecological ideas. Now, with The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology, Foster continues this narrative. In so doing, he uncovers a long history of efforts to unite issues of social justice and environmental sustainability that will help us comprehend and counter today’s unprecedented planetary emergencies.
The Return of Nature begins with the deaths of Darwin (1882) and Marx (1883) and moves on until the rise of the ecological age in the 1960s and 1970s. Foster explores how socialist analysts and materialist scientists of various stamps, first in Britain, then the United States, from William Morris and Frederick Engels to Joseph Needham, Rachel Carson, and Stephen Jay Gould, sought to develop a dialectical naturalism, rooted in a critique of capitalism. In the process, he delivers a far-reaching and fascinating reinterpretation of the radical and socialist origins of ecology. Ultimately, what this book asks for is nothing short of revolution: a long, ecological revolution, aimed at making peace with the planet while meeting collective human needs.
In the century following Marx’s death, left-wing scientists and writers made major contributions to the development of modern ecological thought. Foster’s brilliant new book recovers that history, making the work and ideas of those neglected ecosocialist pioneers accessible to the activists who are building today’s movements against global environmental destruction.
—Ian Angus, author, Facing the Anthropocene; editor, Climate & Capitalism
John Bellamy Foster is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and editor of Monthly Review. His previous books on ecology include: The Vulnerable Planet, Marx’s Ecology, Hungry for Profit (edited with Fred Magdoff and Frederick Buttel), Ecology Against Capitalism, The Ecological Revolution, The Ecological Rift (with Brett Clark and Richard York), What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism (with Fred Magdoff), Marx and the Earth (with Paul Burkett), and The Robbery of Nature (with Brett Clark).
Publication Date: April 2020
Number of Pages: 672
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-58367-836-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-58367-837-4
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