Toronto: Random House, Canada, 2008, 288 pages.
Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2009, 288 pages.
Here’s a fact I had never considered: the word “rival” comes from the Latin word rivalis, meaning “those who draw water from the same source.” Rivalry is closely related to the availability of shared resources, and tensions are easily triggered when food and water are at stake.
Now, let’s take this to the extreme: climate change projections suggest that the flow of many of the world’s major rivers will be seriously reduced as glaciers retreat. The scale of potential conflict is staggering. The Himalayan watershed alone, which includes the Ganges, Indus, Yangtze and Mekong Rivers, supplies water to almost half the people on this planet, including nuclear powers China, India and Pakistan.
But this is about more than rivers. Two new books on the issue, Climate Wars and Global Warring, introduce a bevy of reasons for concern: natural disasters, disappearing low-lying island states, shifting coasts and access to oceanic exploitation zones, the melting Northwest Passage, desertification and altered patterns of food production. Each has the potential to redefine how we interpret and conceptualize international law, how we interact diplomatically with other nations, and how and why we engage militarily.
Cleo Paskal, a fellow at Chatham House who boasts journalistic stints at The Economist and the Chicago Tribune, seeks to “introduce and legitimize the idea that environmental change is about to have enormous, and specific, geopolitical consequences.”…[Click here to read more!]