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

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

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

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


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 planet's midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.

Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism" - a political hardening of wealthy states - is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.


What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.

—T. S. ELIOT, The Waste Land

EKARU LORUMAN lay beneath a flat-topped acacia tree, its latticework of branches casting a soft mesh of shade upon his body. He wore a silver earring and khaki shorts and lay on his side with his arm twisted awkwardly beneath him. The left side of Ekaru’s forehead was gone, blown away by the exit of a bullet. His blood formed a greasy, black slick on the desert floor. His sandals, shawl, and gun had been stolen.

Ekaru had been a pastoralist from the Turkana tribe, who live in northwest Kenya, on the arid savannas of the Rift Valley. He had been killed the day before when a neighboring tribe, the Pokot, launched a massive cattle raid. Ekaru’s corpse lay here on the ground, exposed to the elements with goats and sheep browsing nearby, because the Turkana do not bury people killed in raids. They believe doing so is bad luck, that it will only invite more attacks. So they leave their dead to decompose where . . .

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