Book cover: Blood and Earthby Kevin Bales
Spiegel and Grau, 2016
277 pgs
Grades 11 and up

“Modern slavery is destroying the planet.” ~ Kevin Bales

Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World provides a well-researched exposé of the estimated 36 million enslaved men, women, and children forced labor for others while simultaneously destroying our planet. Bales explains: “… slavery is one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas producers, and it is hidden from us.”

Though there are treaties and laws protecting these lands, slaveholders don’t abide by these laws, or bribe governments to allow them access, or the crimes are hidden in remote locations.

Bales thoroughly elaborates on the 11-step supply chain that connects slave-harvested conflict materials to the products we purchase, along the way identifying the criminals involved and the horrors the victims endure. These individuals were forced into slavery by attack and capture, a fake legal system with corrupt leaders, trickery, debt, and hereditary enslavement.

Blood and Earth offers strategies for how we can stop modern slavery and save our planet. Examples include: writing to companies to support organizations such as the iTSCi (Tin supply Chain Initiative); purchasing conflict-free products; pressuring governments and leaders to uphold the laws; supporting organizations that are working within countries to educate others to bring this problem to the forefront being solved.

Bales explains that we know where slaves are, and that there are treaties and laws protecting the forests, yet the corruption can be linked in some cases to leaders who turn a blind eye.

Bales emphasizes that there are many organizations making great strides on these issues, and the momentum is growing. He notes that we all have a part to play in working toward a free world.

Blood and Earth provides current data and information useful for a variety of actions, such as creating lessons, developing book talks, helping educate others on conflict-free products, writing legislators, developing plays or short films with students, working with farming cooperatives, researching products before buying them to ensure they’re slave-free, and supporting organizations such a Free the Slaves.