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New Books

Living planet report 2010 by Duncan Pollard, Emma Duncan,
Rosamunde Almond& et al, Oct 2010. Source: WWF

WWF’s 2010 Living Planet Report is the world’s leading, sciencebased analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity on the planet. The biennial report explores the changing state of biodiversity, ecosystems and peoples’ consumption of natural resources. It also explores the implications of these changes for the future of human health, wealth and well being. This analysis has been produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network. It uses the global Living Planet Index as a measure of the health of almost 8,000 populations of more than 2,500 species and is one of the longest running measures of global biodiversity trends.

Agriculture, food security and rural developmentAgriculture, Food Security & Rural Development by Asian
Development Bank; May 2010. Hardback; 384 Pages; ISBN #
9780198064664. Price: GBP 34.95/US$ 49.95/Euros 39.95

In recent times, the importance of agriculture in fulfilling the basic objectives of development has been increasingly reinforced. Why does the Indian economy continue to be vulnerable to weatherinduced agricultural fluctuations? Why does India have widespread poverty and malnutrition despite being self-sufficient in food production? What are the responsibilities of the state, the public sector, and civil society in redressing the agrarian crises?

This book provides answers to such questions through a comprehensive review of India’s experience in agricultural development. The focus is on key policy issues related to land reforms, sustainable water use, crop diversification, disaster management, and public–private participation in agricultural investment.

The book draws lessons from agricultural policies since Independence, both in terms of their relevance for the country’s future course of action and their wider significance for the developing world. Arguing that policies need to be rooted in the history, geography, and polity of the country, the book carefully diagnosises the challenges in the current scenario and offer reasoned suggestions to achieve the twin objectives of agricultural development and poverty reduction.

Encircling the Seamless India, Climate Change, and the Global CommonsEncircling the Seamless India, Climate Change, and the Global
Commons by A. Damodaran; ISBN 9781098066750, Hardback; June
2010; Rs. 850.

This book explores global environmental negotiations against the backdrop of complex political relations, the climate change conventions and multilateral environmental assessments and their effect on special interest groups. It weaves in the story of India’s emergent economy, its sustainable development, and the multifaceted nationhood, the diversity of its rural scene, and the challenges of seamlessness brought in by the power of its information technology. Viewing global environmental movements, the book discusses the pattern of global negotiations from the environmental summit capitals of the world—Rio, Kyoto, Cartagena, Bonn, Stockholm, Montreal, Geneva, Basel, and Copenhagen among others to graphically portray the plight of a post-modern world that grapples with the problems of climate, land degradation, chemical transfer, and biodiversity.

Green FoodGreen Food An A-to-Z Guide by Dustin R. Mulvaney, May
2010 SAGE Publications, Inc; ISBN 9781412971874: £70.00.

Our food and agricultural systems have undergone tremendous change in the 20th century. Less common now are the pastoral ways we imagine, like the image found in a bucolic farm advertisement. Agriculture has beome thoroughly industrialized and increasingly globalized. A plentiful supply of cheap fossil fuels help power mechanization, produce fertilizers and pesticides, and lengthen distance from farm to plate. The result has been a carbonintensive food system that keeps prices cheap while large retailers and processors extract value from farmers at increasing margins. The result of this transformation is an agri-food system that has done well in terms of productive capacity to feed many people but that causes considerable environmental burden and brings along its own problems in terms of poverty and food distribution.

This third volume in the SAGE Series on Green Society lays out the contours of the field of agri-food studies. It draws on scholars working in the fields of political ecology, rural sociology, geography, and environmental studies to paint a picture of the past, present, and future of agriculture and food. It provides readers with a basic understanding of the institutions, practices, and concepts to identify what is and is not a “green” food. Because food is so intimately connected to our daily lives, the food system offers perhaps the most promise to make change in a sustainable direction. What a sustainable and green food system would be like is still an open question. There are many unresolved issues about what policies would help realize it and what kinds of tradeoffs we face in deciding which paths to choose. Green Food: An A-to-Z Guide provides people interested in food and agricultural systems the basic analytical and conceptual ideas that explain why our food system looks the way it does, and what can be done to change it.

Challenging the Injustice of PovertyChallenging the Injustice of Poverty
Agendas for Inclusive Development in South Asia by Rehman
Sobhan, October 2010, SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd, ISBN
9788132104681 Hardcover, 516 pages, Price: £14.99.

This book explores issues related to poverty in South Asia in a two-pronged manner-by focusing on injustice created and perpetuated by the unjust nature of a social order as its source and then providing concrete suggestions about how policymakers may move to challenge these injustices.

Drawing research inputs from studies across various South Asian countries, the book redefines poverty as a process where certain sections of the society are excluded from equal participation in development opportunities as well as decision-making. It further identifies a variety of operational ideas for policymakers, political activists and civil society advocacy groups committed to build a more just and poverty free society in South Asia.