From Publishers Weekly
The latest communiqué from the emerging genre of traveling the world in the footsteps of climate change is an intelligent, nuanced report on the complex relationships between increasingly unstable weather patterns and politics, ecology and lifestyles. Journalist Faris shows how the genocide in Darfur has roots in desertification and may be a canary in the coal mine, a foretaste of climatically driven political chaos, and how the resulting emigration of Africans to Europe is causing economic pressures that are being met with fascistic movements in Italy and Britain. Locals are abandoning Key West and New Orleans due to unsustainable insurance premiums; Bangladesh is likely to be flooded out of existence; and drought may wipe out the Amazon rain forest within 70 years. Faris cites a study predicting a world depicted by Mad Max, only hotter, with no beaches and perhaps with even more chaos. But, depressingly, he admits that his travels researching this book released nine times an average person's annual carbon use and that the world many have opened its eyes to climate change, but we're far from taking effective action. (Jan.)
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A journalist concerned with on-the-ground evidence of global warming, Faris reports on what he learned in visits to various regions around the world. A global climatic component is involved in local environmental situations, Faris finds, the details of which he expands in presenting the explanations of scientific or policy experts. What counts most in this work, however, are the impressions of climate change Faris gathered from his interviews with local inhabitants. They make tangible the abstractions of the issue in Sudan, Key West, Brazil, California, Canada, and India. In addition to covering local people’s observations about desertification, coral bleaching, and the temperature-sensitive wine-making industry, Faris looks into local political ramifications, especially those concerning people forced to move because of environmental stresses. He presents background to the violence in Darfur and notes the concerns of insurers about America’s hurricane-prone southern coasts. Faris’ reportorial techniques work well in his narrative, priming readers for his recommendation for urgent action on climate change. --Gilbert Taylor