Environmental factors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have played a crucial role in the historical and social development of the region. The book delves into a broad set of historical literature from the past 15,000 years that neglected to consider environmental factors to their full effect.
Beyond the broad historic analysis, the chapters derive conclusions for today’s debate on whether climate change leads to more social conflict and violence. Introducing a theoretical framework focused on adaptive cycling, this book probes and refines the role of climate in ancient and modern political-economic systems in the MENA region. It also underscores just how bad the 21st-century environment may become thanks to global warming. While the MENA region may not survive the latest onslaught of deteriorating climate, there is also some interest in how a region that once led the world in introducing all sorts of innovations thousands of years ago has evolved into a contemporary setting characterized by traditional conservatism, poverty, and incessant strife.
Emphasizing regional dynamics, the book's central question deals with the role of climate change in the rise and decline of the MENA region. The book will be a key resource to students and readers interested in global warming, including academics and policymakers.
Table of Contents
1. 15,000 Years of Climate Change in the MENA: Big History, Big Questions
2. Climate Change from the Younger Dryas to the Little Ice Age
3. The Origins of Agriculture, Drought, and Ancient Empires
4. Drought and Political-Economic Transformations in the Ancient Near East
5. Cooling, Water Scarcity, and Societal Crises in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt
6. Environmental Fragility in the MENA from Late Antiquity to Early Modern Eras
7. Global Warming in the MENA Today and in the Coming Decades
8. Climate Wars – Canaries in the Coal Mine?
9. Water, Food, and Adaptation
10. The End of the MENA?
William R. Thompson is Distinguished Professor and Rogers Chair of Political Science Emeritus, Indiana University; Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics; a former President of the International Studies Association; and a former Editor-in-Chief of International Studies Quarterly.
Leila Zakhirova is Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and a Co-Editor of Asian Security. She is currently researching the impact of climate change on human security.