Models To Live By

The Violence of Climate Change: Lessons of Resistance from Nonviolent Activists, by Kevin J. O’Brien. Georgetown University Press.

DON'T LET THE prestigious academic publisher put you off: The Violence of Climate Change is engagingly informative as it fuses theory and praxis through the narratives of inspirational nonviolent activists. Nor is it satisfied with the ideal, as it honestly and realistically engages current counterarguments and positions throughout. As such, it’s exceptionally suitable for undergraduates, who are often surprised, then pleased, to discover religion and theology’s relevance for addressing urgent ethical issues.

And what could be more pressing and threatening today than violence—in our city streets and between or within other nations, especially the growing possibility of nuclear war—and climate change? So I hope this book also finds its way to Sunday schools, adult religious education sessions, book club meetings, or pretty much anyone involved in the climate justice movement.

Author Kevin J. O’Brien, dean of humanities and associate professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran University, defines the problem of climate change as also a problem of structural violence, caused primarily by privileged, powerful nations, corporations, and individuals through simple decisions and complex systems over the generations. Those least responsible are also the most vulnerable and more detrimentally impacted.

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