Climate Change in a Hot, Flat, and Crowded World

In an era of globalization9780312428921 like we have never seen in our history, the reality of climate change takes a new shape. In Thomas’s Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded, he discusses our inefficient energy methods which are causing global temperatures to rise (hot), the middle class to rise in economies all around the world resulting in increased connection and consumption (flat), and the world population to grow due to increased standards of living which allow people to live longer (crowded). Friedman’s discussion on climate change goes beyond the rhetoric of melting ice caps and unsustainable energy methods but frames it in the context of globalization and human development. He touches on a variety of concepts, each of which makes the book accessible and relevant to each person who reads it. Friedman’s perspective on climate change aligns closely with the goals of Coalition for Peace Action as he calls his readers to radically change the ways in which they think about climate change, and recognize the need for change on a massive scale.

As climate change is an issue that affects everyone, it is also an issue that will require everyone to work together to solve. Hereby Friedman’s book has something for everyone, as it takes a holistic approach to addressing climate change through a Green Revolution. He explains the ways in which businesses and corporations can capitalize on a Green Revolution and thereby make the United States and economic world leader again. He says, “This is Code Green…. Anything a country can do to go green today will make it stronger, healthier, more secure, more innovative, more competitive and more respected.”

From a social justice standpoint, he discusses the ways in which a Green Revolution can help developing economies by providing sustainable energy methods which would work to eradicate energy poverty and force economies that rely on exports of fossil fuels to mobilize their workforce and thus diversify their economies. His analysis of unsustainable practices highlights the ways in which they are inherently oppressive. People who live in countries with economies that rely mostly on exports of fossil fuels rarely see the massive wealth accumulated by this industry and rely on minuscule transfer payments from their countries’ corrupt governments. Furthermore, because the economies of these countries are not diverse, there is little opportunity for economic mobility which causes the poor to remain poor as the countries elites accumulate more and more wealth. A Green Revolution will require these countries to diversify their economies and tap into their countries’ workforces to build an economy no longer reliant on fossil fuels.

Friedman’s Green Revolution will be the most difficult challenge humanity will ever face, and will thereby require a broad-based movement aiming to attack the roots of this problem. “If we can pull this off, it will be the biggest single peaceable project humankind will have ever undertaken.” Hot, Flat, and Crowded highlights that Climate Change is an issue of peace and social justice. It will every person in this world and will require the world to unite and work as one to solve this crisis. Altogether, it is a great read, and the Saint Joseph’s Chapter of CFPA highly recommends this book for college students and professionals alike.