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Solving the World's Problems: Book Reviews


The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!!

Ever had that feeling? You would be in the minority if you hadn't. Between economic stagnation, dysfunctional government, Syria, gun warfare in our streets, climate change, Zika virus, the idiocy of the opposition political party (you can take your choice there), and any one of dozens of other derangements of modern society--it's remarkable that we aren't all in therapy. In fact, many of us are.

Some examples:

... and the list could undoubtedly go on and on.

Lessons from a Slower Time.

Evidence is mounting that we humans simply aren't evolutionarily evolved enough to handle the 24/7  barrage of media that we're being pummeled with, and we lose our perspective (and sanity) if we try. So periodically, it's good to step back and pursue the solutions to all the world's problems in a different media--books.

Lots of books come out now too--more than anyone could ever read or would ever want to. So with regard to solving the world's problems, here are some suggestions of recent works that would be worthy of a look.

Book Recommendations.

The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline by Jonathon Tepperman covers many modern topics from an unconventional perspective.

The book reveals the often-overlooked success stories, offering a provocative, unconventional take on the answers hiding in plain sight. It identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, economic stagnation, political gridlock, corruption, and Islamist extremism—and shows that, contrary to the general consensus, each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one. (Amazon.com)

Climate Change and Resource Conflict: The Role of Scarcity by Judith Bretthauer examines the role of climate change in shaping our geopolitical world's future.

Does climate change cause conflicts? This book analyses the economic, political and social conditions under which countries with low levels of freshwater or arable land experience armed conflict. There are strong theoretic arguments linking climate change and scarcity of livelihood resources to conflict. (Amazon.com)

Strategies for Rapid Climate Mitigation: Wartime mobilisation as a model for action? by Laurence Delina examines the successes we could achieve if we treated climate change as an enemy and mobilized our forces to meet and defeat it.

(This book) examines the wartime-climate analogy by drawing lessons from wartime mobilisations to develop contingency plans for a scenario where governments implement stringent mitigation programs as an ‘insurance policy’ where we pay for future benefits. Readers are provided a picture of how these programs could look, how they would work, what could trigger them, and the challenges in execution.

The Knowledge Wars by Peter Doherty examines how we became a science and knowledge-resistant society and the damage that is causing.

(This book) examines the nature of scientific knowledge through the controversies that have called it into question, charting the fractious relationship between knowledge and power over the centuries and into the modern day. With passion and humour, through anecdotes and case studies, it celebrates curiosity, urges both rigour and skepticism, and equips us to make up our own minds. (Amazon.com)

The Truth Wars by Peter Lee examines the role that truth plays in our understanding of various national policies and strategies.

'Focusing upon the three great global political crises of our time: military intervention, the financial meltdown, and the actual 'meltdown' threatened by climate change, the author provides a probing and deeply unsettling assessment of the manner in which competing and often illusory truth-claims are fashioned by political leaders, governments, international institutions and demagogues solely in order to re-shape the world in their image, and to gain control over the lives of others. Our fundamental assumptions about what Truth is, or what it means, are put to test in this eloquent, articulate, and provocative work.' - George R. Lucas Jr., U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, USA (Amazon.com)

From the Top: Shaping America's Arctic Policy and Strategy by the Army War College takes an unbiased, security-focused perspective on how the changing arctic will impact our future.

Today, unique geographic developments and adjustments in the international political landscape are highlighting the geopolitical importance of Alaska and the Arctic Region once again. Three distinct trends have contributed to renewed interest in the Arctic: new emerging sea lanes due to climate change, increased natural resource competition, and the rise of competitors in the region. Combined, the competition for natural resources made more accessible by climate change and the political developments in the Arctic and the Pacific create a significant challenge for US policymakers. (Amazon.com)

In Summation.

None of these books will particularly make you feel any better about the challenges we face in our modern society. What they WILL do is enable you to put some order to the chaos that is our 24/7 media world and develop strategies that will better serve and protect the public. Happy reading!

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.