_ENVIRONMENTALISM FROM BELOW _takes readers inside the popular struggles for environmental liberation in the Global South. These communities—among the most vulnerable to but also least responsible for the climate crisis—have long been at the forefront of the fight to protect imperiled worlds. Today, as the world’s forests burn and our oceans acidify, grassroots movements are tenaciously defending the environmental commons and forging just and sustainable ways of living on Earth.
Scholar and activist Ashley Dawson constructs a gripping narrative of these movements of climate insurgents, from international solidarity organizations like La Via Campesina and Shack Dwellers International to local struggles in South Africa, Colombia, India, Nigeria, and beyond. Taking up the four critical challenges we face in a warming world—food, urban sustainability, energy transition, and conservation—Dawson shows how the unruly power of environmentalism from below is charting an alternative path forward, from challenging industrial agriculture through fights for food sovereignty and agroecology to resisting extractivism using mass nonviolent protest and sabotage.
An urgent, essential intervention, _ENVIRONMENTALISM FROM BELOW _offers a hopeful alternative to the gridlock of UN-based climate negotiations and the narrow nationalism of some Green New Deal efforts. As Dawson reminds us, the fight against ecocide is already being waged worldwide. Building on longstanding traditions of anticolonial struggle, environmentalism from below is a model for a people’s movement for climate justice—one that demands solidarity.
Ashley Dawson is Professor of English at the Graduate Center / City University of New York and the College of Staten Island. He is the author of several books on key topics in the environmental humanities, including PEOPLE’S POWER: RECLAIMING THE ENERGY COMMONS, EXTREME CITIES: THE PERIL AND PROMISE OF URBAN LIFE IN THE AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE, and EXTINCTION: A RADICAL HISTORY. A member of the Public Power NY campaign and the founder of the CUNY Climate Action Lab, he is a long-time climate justice activist.
Dharna Noor is a fossil fuels and climate reporter at the Guardian. She was previously climate producer and reporter at the Boston Globe. Earlier, she worked as a staff writer at Gizmodo's climate vertical Earther, where she also co-produced a season of the podcast Drilled on the fossil fuel industry's influence on education, and before that, she led the climate team at the Real News Network. Her writing has also appeared in publications including In These Times, Jacobin Magazine, and Truthout, and was also featured in two books: THE WORLD WE NEED and FUTURE ON FIRE.