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Hell and High Water
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Natural History, Politics & Current Affairs
Publication Date
01 July 2008
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

Hell and High Water

Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition
by Alastair McIntosh - Find out more about the author


Also available to download from the iBookstore

'Splendid' – The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Douglas Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

'McIntosh’s excellent expose might just clear a path out of the darkness' – The Herald

'Thoughtful, incisive and emotionally powerful' – Friends of the Earth

'An alternative, deeply humanist version of green politics ... of genuine international importance' – Scotsman

Climate change is the greatest challenge that the world has ever faced. In this groundbreaking new book, Alastair McIntosh summarises the science of what is happening to the planet – both globally and using Scotland as a local case study.

He moves on, controversially, to suggest that politics alone is not enough to tackle the scale and depth of the problem. At root is our addictive consumer mentality. Wants have replaced needs and consumption drives our very identity. In a fascinating journey through early texts that speak to climate change – including the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, Plato’s myth of Atlantis, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth – McIntosh reveals the psychohistory of modern consumerism. He shows how we have fallen prey to a numbing culture of violence and the motivational manipulation of marketing.

To start to resolve what has become of the human condition we must get more real in facing up to despair and death. Only then will we discover the spiritual meaning of these our troubled times. Only then can magic, new meaning, and all that gives life, start to mend a broken world.

Alastair McIntosh is a Scottish writer and campaigner for social justice and environmental sustainability. He holds fellowships at the Centre for Human Ecology, the E. F. Schumacher Society and the Academy of Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster. In 2005 the University of Strathclyde gave him an honorary post as Scotland’s first professor of human ecology. He lectures around the world at institutions including the Russian Academy of Sciences, the World Council of Churches, WWF International and, for the past decade, teaching nonviolence on the Advanced Command & Staff Course at Britain’s leading military staff college.

Visit Alastair’s own website at You might also find this interesting – The Centre for Human Ecology.

Praise for Soil and Soul by Alastair McIntosh

‘a terrific book’ – Guardian

‘the book of the decade’ – Robin Harper MSP

‘It is a beautifully written analysis’ – Scotland on Sunday

‘A book of passion and wit … weaving a dizzying range of ideas into a bright fabric … It is a book every Scot should read’ – Scotsman

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