BookBrowse Reviews Forecast by Stephan Faris

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Forecast

The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley

by Stephan Faris

Forecast by Stephan Faris X
Forecast by Stephan Faris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Beth Hemke Shapiro

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A powerful, gracefully written, eye-opening account of climate change and how it has altered and will alter our world

Instead of traveling to exotic locations for pleasure, author Stephan Faris spends a great deal of his time visiting developing nations to cover topics which are not pretty. In Forecast he examines global climate change in countries where much of the citizenry already lives on the edge of subsistence and where the effects of climate change are already tangible.

Faris introduces some thought-provoking ideas about the ramifications of climate change. For example, in a discussion about the strife in Darfur, he maintains that while many people view the plight as racially motivated, the distinction between Arabs and Africans is primarily one of lifestyle: herders and farmers who battle over what little productive land is available. Before the area's devastating drought, a grid system of grazing land alternating with crop land permitted both groups to coexist relatively peacefully. Up until recently the prevailing theory behind the area's waning rainfall had been that the local population had destroyed its own land through deforestation and overgrazing. Now, however, climatologists have discovered that changing oceanic temperatures and irregular African monsoons have most likely caused the drought, not local populations.

Faris predicts that global warming might create some strange bedfellows, too. Usually considered the domain of liberals, in Great Britain the environment is fast becoming an important focus for the small and intolerant British National Party's anti-immigrant agenda*. Richard Barnbrook, a top BNP activist, maintains that the settling of non-white immigrants from countries with troubled land into British neighborhoods increases construction and destroys green space. In short, Faris notes, "By talking about floodplains and water shortages, Barnbrook was replacing the politically unpalatable—if openly stated—fear of foreigners with a more acceptable empathy for the environment."

Armed with a master's in journalism from Columbia University and a CV citing his coverage of issues in the Middle East, China and Africa for many prestigious publications, Faris demonstrates incredibly sound reporting. But sometimes the writing is almost too calmly controlled for a subject this cataclysmic. In his epilogue the author states, "In a sense, this book is an exercise in optimism," and "The consequences of global warming described in this book may be alarming, but they're not meant to be alarmist." The lack of passion contrasts with the numbing possible scenarios, such as the potential of tens of millions of refugees entering India, Burma, China, and Pakistan if Bangladesh were to experience large-scale flooding.

Further, he often describes sources in a perfunctory manner that offers readers no glimpse into the humanity involved in this looming crisis. "Tom wore a gray short-sleeved shirt. He had a thick torso and moved slowly while he cooked. Sue had reddish hair and sharp, fine features. She wore a white blouse with wine-colored dots." But that just might be his point: the mere thought of potential impact of climate change is scary enough without needing to add any personal elements.

*The British National Party (BNP) is a far-right, whites only, political party that gained 0.7% of the popular vote in the 2005 election and has no seats in the British parliament.  It has one seat on the Greater London Assembly and perhaps 50-60 seats in parish and community councils throughout Britain.

Reviewed by Beth Hemke Shapiro

This review was originally published in January 2009, and has been updated for the September 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Word Is Murder
    The Word Is Murder
    by Anthony Horowitz
    A wealthy widow enters a London funeral home to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours ...
  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.