Good disaster porn, marred by horrifically inaccurate descriptions of tropical meteorology and hurricane dynamics. Also, the Coriolis effect makes theGood disaster porn, marred by horrifically inaccurate descriptions of tropical meteorology and hurricane dynamics. Also, the Coriolis effect makes the wind turn right in the Northern Hemisphere, not left. I could go on... ...more
A short read, but I think oversimplified. The premise that solutions have arisen as we needed them, and therefore will continue to do so, is the philoA short read, but I think oversimplified. The premise that solutions have arisen as we needed them, and therefore will continue to do so, is the philosophy of historical determinism in which I don't really believe. The proposition that we are now in a period of food surplus seems surprising, given more than 10% of humanity doesn't even have clean water... but water isn't addressed despite its huge role in making that food possible. The complexity of each ratchet-hatchet-pivot cycle, really anything beyond the population/food interaction, seems very much understated here. ...more
Excellent, well written and with great principal characters. Most writings about plausible (and dystopian) futures skip over how we get there, or onlyExcellent, well written and with great principal characters. Most writings about plausible (and dystopian) futures skip over how we get there, or only describe it in retrospect, but not this book--this is true "cli-fi"/"disaster porn" with all the details that make it visceral and believable. Having lived in Arizona for a couple years, I had no problem visualizing the settings and situations here, and empathizing with many of the characters....more
Excellent and critical commentary on the connections between climate change, capitalism, and environmentalism as it has been practiced for the past feExcellent and critical commentary on the connections between climate change, capitalism, and environmentalism as it has been practiced for the past few decades. Clear in the conclusion that such practice is not working, and we need to change it from the bottom, because economic and political (and, yes, environmentalist) leaders are not going to do it quickly enough. This is a chronicle of a movement at the fetal stage of development (to which Klein aptly makes analogies) and a plea for attention, nurturing, awareness, education and involvement in order to take it to the next stage. What that next stage looks like was not clear to me, and may indeed not be clear to the people making such pleas, perhaps because we haven't actually ever done that next stage before. Analogies in terms of scope and depth of social change are drawn to the abolitionist movement, which has stretched over about two centuries and is still running. This movement needs to move even faster and spread even wider. It remains interesting, however, that those on the wrong side of abolition (wealthy, entitled, upper-class Western Civilization white males) are pretty much the same as those on the opposing side of the climate justice movement.
Having read Klein's "Shock Doctrine" recently, I really see these two books as one evolving story that isn't done yet. Reading this book alone, I would have been looking for more of the astounding investigational depth into the status quo that Klein provided in "Shock Doctrine." Her depth of discussion on the connections between industry and politics in North America is adequate, but could have had more power by calling out specific donations and lobbies and the damaging, de-regulating legislation that those relationships produced. A key link to the the US military as the single largest US consumer of fossil fuels is made, but not explored much further. Some of this may have required repetition of points from "Shock Doctrine" but then, if repetition is required to draw further conclusions in an even larger context, I'm not averse to that larger combined perspective. That perspective is exactly what is needed to open so many eyes to the depth of change that is needed. Klein seems to stop just short of that level of (justified) outrage in her chronicle here, though. Together, "Shock Doctrine" and "This Changes Everything" are a nearly complete picture of what's wrong, and what we're up against in the industry-military-politics-economics-climate fight. Maybe her ongoing reporting efforts and next book can draw all of those together?
I loved this book, don't get me wrong. I also wanted more depth, more scathing arguments, and more moral outrage at the (often corrupted) people and groups who insist on maintaining the status quo that is driving the need for a growing climate justice movement....more
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 authorThis 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, but have not yet found. However, the author's case studies do not bring the history of that convergence up to the present, especially with the Arab Spring events and the situation in Syria that have clear roots in the climate-related pressures of the Middle East region.
That's not to say that the tropics are the only place these things have been happening, and the trouble is, the roots of so many diverse troubles can be traced to a number of factors, and never solely climate or governance or ethnic strife or natural resource policies. One issue that ties many of these factors together is economic influence and policy, which the author does seem to address well in the cases presented. The central geographical proposition, that these things are occurring in the tropics, is very similar to Thomas Barnett's "Pentagon's New Map" and later works. While Mr. Barnett focuses primarily on governance, economics and military policies and the balancing of power through those means, this book makes a strong case (except possibly in the discussion of Mexico, which was focused primarily on the drug trade) for the influence of climate and the changes it may bring in such a dynamic balance. The discussion of American and EU responses, both actual and preferable, to these pressures could have used some more and deeper discussion.
Otherwise, some map errors and typos detracted from the writing, and a few of the histories were overly brief and/or convoluted, with events presented out of chronological order. Graphical helpers such as more detailed (and correct) maps and timelines for each case might have helped considerably. An expansion of the "convergence" to patterns of natural resource governance, use and abuse is almost necessary, in my opinion. That's the book that I was really looking for, that incorporates all of those factors and provides historical analyses of their interplay. Perhaps that's the book that I need to be writing......more
A good survey of many issues that climate change is already bringing about around the world. Very well done.
Note in the chapter on NYC that Dr CullenA good survey of many issues that climate change is already bringing about around the world. Very well done.
Note in the chapter on NYC that Dr Cullen predicts a hurricane scare that motivates the city toward greater preparedness. She was only a year off! Then again, she also predicted four consecutive World Series wins for the Yankees by then... ...more
Deep politics, which I don't enjoy, but this was in a context of climate change and drastic measures. Some of the political dialogue was very confusinDeep politics, which I don't enjoy, but this was in a context of climate change and drastic measures. Some of the political dialogue was very confusing at times, with advisers and the President talking in circles, and it not always being clear who is taking what position in that discussion. The message is the key, however: if Nature and the changes we are already seeing in the climate, with severe storms and retreating coastlines and people having to move in order to survive, let alone thrive, then what will it really take to get the message across to people and their governments that talk is cheap (see: Kyoto) and meaningless, and action is imperative, even if uncomfortable? What, of the future, is being sacrificed for our present comfort and ease?
Also, it was nice to read a book that didn't just stop and wrap everything up as soon as it reached page 300. This book came out several years ago. Now, it seems like so many novelists just want to do the bare minimum and get it on the market, even if the story suffers. This is not one of those novels. The plotting, despite being grounded in so much politics, was superb. I can't imagine how long it took the author to get the sequence of details just right so that the narrative remained so plausible all the way through, with apparently no anachronisms within the story itself or mistaken cultural references to times before the novel's own time (2032-2033)....more