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Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  275 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the pl ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Nation Books (first published 2011)
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Mohamed El-Mahallawy
May 16, 2014 Mohamed El-Mahallawy rated it really liked it
نوع جديد من الكتب لم أقرأ في ذلك المجال قبلاً وهو تأثير التغير في طبيعة الأرض من حرارة وجفاف على الحروب والمشكلات وإن كان الموضوع مفهوم ضمناً ولكن الرجل الكاتب استطاع أن يُضفره بشكل متوازن ممتاز على طول الكرة الأرضية ودولها كبيرها وصغيرها .. ولكنه لم يقترب بالطبع من أوروبا بشكل عام ولا من الولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص وكأنهما خارجتان عن المشاكل البيئية ... وربما هما بالفعل خارجتان بسبب تقدمهما ...
ناقش الرجل مشاكل دولية تاريخية وآنية وربطها بالتغيرات البيئية بشكل منطقي للغاية ...
الكتاب عبارة عن كم ثق
May 23, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing
"In much of the world, it seems that the only solidarity forthcoming in response to climate change is an exclusionary tribalism, and the only state policy available is police repression. This is not 'natural' and inevitable but rather the result of a history--particularly the history of the Global North's use and abuse of the Global South--that has destroyed the institutions and social practices that would allow a different, more productive response."

"There must be another path. The struggling s
Mar 02, 2013 Joan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: environmental activists
This book was a real candidate for the "cannot finish" category but I gritted my teeth and got through it. Let me say upfront that this is an important book and presents its case thoroughly. It is an academic book in many ways, with a vocabulary that often lost me and I have a pretty extensive vocabulary! Parenti's writing style does feel academic as well: this book is not going to end up on the NYT bestseller list by any means. His topic is really how society is dealing with and is going to dea ...more
Christian Parenti is a well respected journalist at nation Magazine (And other places) and this is a deeply reported account of violence, poverty and climate change in the middle lattitiudes of the planet, an area known as the global south. Parenti's thesis is straightforward: cold war militarism and neo-liberal economic reforms have made a number of stressed nations truly horrendous places to live, add in the reality of climate change and you have a recipe for chaos and disaster. There are some ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Utkarsh rated it it was amazing
"THE" book- Period! A must read for anyone who has ever held an iota of concern for the environment. More so for him/her who hasn't. Beautifully portrays the interdependence of societal stability with climate, and the acceleration of the former's collapse catalyzed by climatic anomalies. Much more than just a book on planting trees or reducing carbon footprints, 'The Tropic of Chaos' champions the cause of the many few who have relentlessly worked to place climate at the forefront of all interna ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Shawn rated it really liked it
This book does a wonderful job of what it does, which may not be what you're going to expect it to do if you judge from the title. It's a great summary of how much of the tropical world got to its current state as a result of colonialism, surging population, the games played by both sides in the Cold War in these countries and the aftermath of those games (the facts that many of them are awash in weapons provided by both sides and that they haven't had stable governments since). Parenti also mak ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Nils rated it really liked it
A decent journalistic account of how climate change is driving conflict, a classic example of an author thinking that the plural of anecdote is evidence. What's more interesting is the way Parenti argues that the sorts of conflicts that will be created (or at any rate exacerbated) by climate change will be low intensity & urban and that therefore the COIN technologies being developed to deal with the post-9/11 GWOT will actually find a second life as a way to contain and manage the malign po ...more
Dec 10, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Wow, things are really bad, and getting worse. It's definitely immoral to bring children in the world, so, please, stop doing that now. I mean it! Stop!

So, like, it used to be possible to grow all this food all over the world, but now, the rainy seasons that places used to have are gone -- replaced by long periods of drought that don't allow many crops to make it, followed by huge storms that destroy anything that irrigation allowed to grow. And, guess what, it's getting worse. And the political
Jan 10, 2016 Tinea rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tinea by: my awesome author boss
We see forms of violent adaptations [to climate change] emerging. In the Global South these take the forms of: ethnic irredentism, religious fanaticism, rebellion, banditry, narcotics trafficking, and small-scale resource wars [like] over water and cattle. ... In the North, the multi-layered crisis appears as the politics of the armed lifeboat: the preparations for open-ended counterinsurgency, militarized borders, aggressive anti-immigrant policing, and a mainstream proliferation of rightwing x ...more
Gordon Hilgers
Dec 08, 2014 Gordon Hilgers rated it really liked it
This relatively brief book concentrates on Africa, South Asia and Latin America--each area touched by the tropic--to give us a sort of intellectual tour guide through areas experiencing the vector of climate change and social violence. Parenti explains how this "catastrophic convergence" occurs and, in the end, illustrates ways humankind is and can counter the effects of global warming and rising desertification.
Mustafa Shahbaz
Mar 17, 2015 Mustafa Shahbaz rated it liked it
الكتاب. يتحدث حول تأثير الاحتباس الحراري على تفاقم العنف ورغم ان المؤلف يوحي دائما بان التغير المناخي هو السبب في العنف الا ان كل الأمثلة التي يوردها تتداخل فيها العوامل وفي اغلب الأحيان تكون المشكلات ذات جذور عرقية ودينية وسياسية مدفوعة بيولوجيا بإرثنا الجيني الذي يشجع التكاثر والنمو السكاني في العالم مما يخلق تنافس شديد على الموارد
Jan 27, 2016 Tim added it
Could the rise of Donald Trump be blamed on Climate Change? It sounds like a silly question, but against the backdrop of Christian Parenti's book "Tropic of Chaos," the question isn't entirely absurd.

"Climate change," declared a military think-tank report in 2007, "acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Many governments in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are already on edge in terms of their ability to provide basic needs: food, water, sh
Rod Raglin
Jan 22, 2015 Rod Raglin rated it liked it
Climate change and conflict - we have met the enemy ... Christian Parenti paints a bleak picture of the future and, what’s worse, is he backs it up with exhaustive and irrefutable research.In his book, Tropic of Chaos - Climate Change and the new Geography of Violence, the author cites war, after famine, after natural disaster to point out that even today climate change is a contributing factor, if not the major one, in most human catastrophes around the globe.And it will only get worse.Parenti ...more
May 05, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing
If anyone thinks that climate change will be a subtle warming of the status quo, they need to read this book. Mr. Parenti lays out the imminent and terrifying future of chaos and conflict. In fact, he shows with ample evidence and analysis of conflict zones, that the future of climate chaos is already upon us. From Africa to Latin America, to India and beyond, as agriculture fails due to drought, flooding, and inconsistent precipitation fully 1 billion climate refugees will be pulling the remain ...more
Nov 22, 2014 Samuel rated it liked it
Here we have an interesting sampling of geographic case studies of the "catastrophic convergence of poverty, violence, and climate change" as written by a journalist--Christian Parenti (5). He uses the scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to pin his thesis. Though he recognizes that the IPCC has been attacked for being alarmist and wrong, he dismisses these claims because the IPCC works on consensus and thus its findings are quite conservative. Wh ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Weather change is a difficult topic to sell. Change in weather is something we all relate to and can expect, which makes the task of raising the profile of global warming a pretty daunting experience indeed especially when you consider that no government or corporation is willing to sponsor it. I had my own doubts when reading about various wars and armed resistances but the link between changing weather and survival wars is so obvious that it is easily ignored. But the author is absolutely corr ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Arjun rated it it was ok

A good premise (and one I believe - that looming/current environmental changes and stresses will lead to conflict) is hamstrung by too much fitting round pegs into square holes. When a book uses the word "neoliberal" in almost every sentence, well, it becomes predictable. I wanted to learn something here and I can't say I did.
Neil Bhatiya
Jul 29, 2015 Neil Bhatiya rated it liked it
A decent overview of how governance challenges, especially in developing nations, will be worsened by climate change, and how that may lead to political instability and criminal and militant violence. Unfortunately Parenti let's his biases show: he is often too quick to blame neoliberalism (structural adjustment was bad, but it's not the root of all evil in the world) and is iffy on some facts (he lumps in the Koch brothers with the xenophobic right wing, even though they are generally pro-immig ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
This book brings into sharp focus the aspects of conflict and sustained humanitarian crisis that are made worse by Global Warming, with special attention to the theaters of the Middle East. It's a gripping, eye opening, and incredibly galvanizing read. If you ever wanted to think very clearly about how the daily choices we make in the first world affects the actions of those half a world away, I would absolutely recommend this book. Prepare to feel an uncomfortable pit of energy gnawing in your ...more
Joseph Mckenna
Jan 08, 2012 Joseph Mckenna rated it liked it
The succinct review is that Parenti's "Topic of chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violoence is less about climate change and more about failed economic neoliberalism. The book seems a bit opportunistic at times, attempts to delve into the impacts of climate change quickly devolve into Parenti's railing against the IMF, neo-Hayek, and economic liberalism. That is not to say that the book is devoid of merit. There are times when things work in the book. The chapter on Pakistan and the ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Matthew rated it liked it
This was a good overview of troubles in various places both historically and at present that can be attributed, in part, to climate change. The author's "catastrophic convergence" of economics, politics and climate is certainly valid and helps explain many of the events in recent history that have been otherwise attributed (too often with over-simplified, hand-waving arguments) to ethnic tensions and poor governance. This is somewhat like a book that I have been looking to read for a long time, ...more
Dec 17, 2013 Josh rated it it was ok
I found Tropic of Chaos interesting but my rating is a little harsh because the book foundered and was, at times, a clunky and vague read. Parenti is aiming to connect the dots between climate change, poverty and violence around the world, and he's most successful when he brings in his own on-the-ground reporting and research from Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan. But many sections are dense and lacking color and even repetitive, and I finished the book feeling like climate change was only minimally addr ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In Tropic of Chaos, American investigative journalist Christian Parenti looks into the "catastrophic convergence of poverty, violence and climate change" (p.5), studying the near history of regions between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, "a belt of economically and politically battered post-colonial states girding the planet's mid-latitudes. In this band, around the tropics, climate change is beginning to hit hard. The Societies in this belt are also heavily dependent on agricu ...more
Jul 24, 2012 Sheehan rated it really liked it
Parenti explores what he refers to as a catastrophic convergence of various non-environmental factors (e.g. neo-liberal capitalism, immigration, food scarcity, and politics) which are so highly leveraged that the axiomatic overheating of the planet will manifest in some very exacerbated hardships and outcomes if neglected.

While Parenti tries to place the potentially positive possibility of avoiding this convergence of hardships, he does so pretty half-heartedly, as though he has already resigned
Jim Rimmer
A book for it's time. Across continents Parenti details the extent to which climate change magnifies and turbo charges existing and entrenched challenges within communities. For westerners this is sobering and challenging reading as, to date, our societies have largely been insulated from the impact of the issues discussed. But the clock is ticking!

The final chapter is riveting in the simplicity of it's proposition. This author's prescription for moving forward ought be required reading for all
Ibrahim Helal
الكتاب يقدم بعد جديد لفهم الصراعات في عدة مناطق ساخنة في العالم
وهي ارتباط الفوضى والصراع بالجفاف والفقر
وهو بعد مادي لتناول الحركة في العالم ويغفل كثير من تشابكات التجمعات الانسانية وتعقيداتها
فيقدم نموذج تفسيري احادي البعد يفشل في الالمام بتفسير جل ظواهر تلك التحركات الانسانية ومعاركها المتعددة وجبهاتها المختلفة
Oct 14, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it
This book is mainly concerned with climate change in the tropics. I have read this info before in another book. If climate change gets worse in the tropics there will be more drought, people relocating to places they are not wanted and more war and conflict will happen while they fight for no resources.
Mar 08, 2013 Rick rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I wanted to love this book. I have been researching global warming for a while and love a good book filled with stats about it. The first chapter delivers. The rest of the book? Not so much. It's a region-by-region expose of the fighting and strife going on throughout the world, and ties them all into climate change factors or fights over natural resources. Some of these seem perfectly true, and others seem a stretch.

The book's central thesis - that climate change is going to cause a shit ton o
May 21, 2015 Chesh rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for all bleeding-heart white liberal soccer moms who "care" and want to "make a difference". Maybe the necessary shit that the world's poor and suffering are begging for will get some attention that way.
Gary Turner
Nov 21, 2014 Gary Turner rated it really liked it
Very good read. I must praise Christian Parenti for such in-depth research over many years. As Christian points out, this is a technical,economic and political problem. With the obstructionist GOP herrenvolk climate deniers, what are we to do? Christian Parenti finishes his book with some excellent ideas, only if our country was still a democracy and not owned by the Koch brothers and other bellicose neoliberals.
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Christian Parenti is a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics. The author of Lockdown America, The Soft Cage, and The Freedom. Parenti has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Los AngelesTimes, Washington Post, Playbo ...more
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“In a world that sees two meter sea level rise, with continued flooding ahead, it will take extraordinary effort for the United States, or indeed any country, to look beyond its own salvation. All of the ways in which human beings have dealt with natural disasters in the past . . . could come together in one conflagration: rage at government’s inability to deal with the abrupt and unpredictable crises; religious fervor, perhaps even a dramatic rise in millennial end-of-days cults; hostility and violence toward migrants and minority groups, at a time of demographic change and increased global migration; and intra- and interstate conflict over resources, particularly food and fresh water.” 1 likes
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