The Violence of Climate Change

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240 pp., 6 x 9
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781626164345 (1626164347)

240 pp., 6 x 9
Paperback
ISBN: 9781626164352 (1626164355)


June 2017

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The Violence of Climate Change
Lessons of Resistance from Nonviolent Activists
Kevin J. O'Brien

Climate change is viewed as a primarily scientific, economic, or political issue. While acknowledging the legitimacy of these perspectives, Kevin J. O'Brien argues that we should respond to climate change first and foremost as a case of systematic and structural violence. Global warming is largely caused by the carbon emissions of the affluent, emissions that harm the poor first and worst. Climate change is violence because it divides human beings from one another and from the earth.

O'Brien offers a constructive and creative response to this violence through practical examples of activism and nonviolent peacemaking, providing brief biographies of five Christians in the United States—John Woolman, Jane Addams, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez. These activists' idealism, social commitment, and political savvy offer lessons of resistance applicable to the struggle against climate change and for social justice.


Kevin J. O'Brien is dean of humanities and associate professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran University. He is the author of The Ethics of Biodiversity (GUP), coeditor of Grounding Religion, and coauthor of An Introduction to Christian Environmentalism. He holds a PhD from Emory University.


Reviews
"Essential reading for the climate justice movement, this book is for anyone wondering how the ideas and tactics of iconic figures of previous movements can shape action in the weird world of climate change."—Willis Jenkins, University of Virginia



"The Violence of Climate Change provides a thoughtful response to a profound set of moral challenges and breathes new hope into those daunted by our new climate reality. There is something for everyone here: insightful analysis, engaging storytelling, and examples of creative resistance. However you are working to address climate change, this book is food for the journey."—LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director, Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light, Earth Ministry



"Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Jane Addams, and John Woolman are five of the most important people our planet has produced, and it's remarkably good to see their witness brought to bear on the greatest problem our planet has ever faced."—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet