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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the general reader, informed layman or specialist
John Urry is a sociologist and has written a worthy book that looks at the impact of climate change and how we might respond to it as a society. Unsurprisingly, it looks at a sociological approach to the impact rather than taking the economic approach of many authors.
There are 10 chapters, looking at the facts and figures of climate change, modelling scenarios,...
Published on 9 Aug 2011 by Gary White

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars too academic
This book does not have an author ..... it is simply a very loose collection of the varied and diverse opinions of other people on the topics to do with climate change - similar to what you might have collected with a Google search. If that is what you want then fine.
Published on 18 Nov 2011 by Mr. R. G. A. Thomas


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old problems through fresh eyes - an important book for all, 2 Sep 2011
By 
R. WEST-SOLEY "Rich West-Soley" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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Much has been written on the subject of climate change, so how is this work different? Urry takes a step back from the usual limited view of closed systems, and examines the notion that the social is completely embedded in both causes and potential solutions to damaging climate change. It's an effective strategy, as the author argues convincingly that without including the social aspect, strategies are unlikely to become embedded sufficiently to prove useful. The bulk of the book sees Urry take various aspects of climate change management in turn, including government, innovation and mobilities, examining them in light of their social nature. Unsurprisingly, given Urry's background in the sociology of space, his thinking on spatial issues and climate change is particularly strong.

It's a realistic book, with a focus on patterns and systems and an acceptance that when 'locked-in', these are hard to change, and reinforce themselves through positive feedback. There's some excellent analysis of what possible 'tipping points' may be for large-scale movement to a low-carbon society, and on the conditions required for these to occur. Naturally, neo-liberalism takes a good beating, with a central thrust of the book being the necessary evolution of a society-economy rather than the detached, individualistic market economy supporting a high-carbon world. Although you'll find the familiar material in here - the oil industry's conspiracy against climate change science, the evils of consumerism - the sociological links make the old arguments seem fresh and challenging again. Urry is also realistic enough to admit the importance of fashion and fad, and admit that these will not go away, and must form part of the solution.

Stylistically however, I think this book misses a trick somehow. Some passages are tirelessly academic, and would lose the average reader amidst the sociological name-dropping and jargon. This is a shame, as Urry's message is of such importance that a work like this should be as accessible and convincing as possible to as many people as possible. That said, most of the book's ten short chapters are not too marred by this slightly stuffy edge. Some sections are brilliantly constructed and even gripping, driving home the author's arguments with colourful descriptions linked to real-world examples (Dubai serving as an excellent example of the absurdity of current carbon-greed).

Also, the chapter of imagined future worlds has a touch of the flights of fancy about it, which took an edge of seriousness away from the chapters before it. Dan Gardner in Future Babble recently echoed the age-old warnings to anyone trying to imagine the future, that they will most likely look silly in hindsight. That said, the arguments supporting the four projections in this book are well-balanced, with reasons for and against their likelihood, and they serve well to illustrate some of the points made earlier.

Everything considered, it's an excellent and concise examination of climate change placed correctly in its interconnected social and economic contexts. Social scientists - students and practitioners alike - will get a lot from its discussion of social practices as an undeniable part of the picture. Certainly a book that policy-makers should take notice of, and one exploring issues that everybody should be thinking about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the general reader, informed layman or specialist, 9 Aug 2011
By 
Gary White "gwhitegeog" (Fulham, London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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John Urry is a sociologist and has written a worthy book that looks at the impact of climate change and how we might respond to it as a society. Unsurprisingly, it looks at a sociological approach to the impact rather than taking the economic approach of many authors.
There are 10 chapters, looking at the facts and figures of climate change, modelling scenarios, possible catastrophes, our high carbon 'addiction', oil dependency, the politics of climate management, dealing with catastrophes, adopting low carbon lifestyles, future scenarios and 'selling' future models to society.
It's a well written book, taking into account latest best practice in terms of climate modelling and presenting some challenging and though-provoking scenarios and suggestions. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 19 Dec 2011
By 
L. Hutchinson (Newcastle Upon Tyne, Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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A great deal has been written on climate change yet this book really stands out as it takes on an holistic approach. The author argues that one has to consider society and culture in order to affect a worthwhile strategy. A large portion of this book sees Urry take various aspects such as government and technological advancements, examining them in light of their social nature.

It's an excellent and concise examination of climate change placed correctly in its interconnected social and economic contexts. Because of the approach made this is a worthy book for environmentalists to consider and policy-makers and one exploring issues that everybody should be thinking about.
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3.0 out of 5 stars too academic, 18 Nov 2011
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Mr. R. G. A. Thomas "RussT" (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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This book does not have an author ..... it is simply a very loose collection of the varied and diverse opinions of other people on the topics to do with climate change - similar to what you might have collected with a Google search. If that is what you want then fine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Suitable for Academic purposes, 19 Oct 2011
By 
-EFox- (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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The book is written, and laid out, like a dissertation or research paper. If Climate change is part of something you are studying, then it is definitely worth a read, but for the average person with a casual interest, it's not exactly beach reading. It's not a quick reference book, so you will need to study it (with much concentration!) and note the pages yourself that would be of any use.

It is, however, very suitable for its purpose. Just about everything is covered, from the common perceptions of climate change to the exact sciences of it, and of course, everything is backed up with solid references and proof. It would be excellent to read if you want some substantial information that most people won't include in their own studies; one of the main things about this book is that it includes lots of information that can't easily be sourced from the internet or the more generic reference books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read but well worth the effort, 8 Sep 2011
By 
J. R. Atkinson "Jim Bob" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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This is primarily an academic work and can be quite difficult to read as it does not flow that well in places. However, this is the only criticism I have. Most of the book is well written and is a fascinating look at the social element to climate change. If you are interested in climate change this is definitely worth a read but is not really appropriate as an introductory work to climate change. The book contains some excellent research and has some important ideas on how climate change can be tackled going forward.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too academic for me, 15 July 2011
By 
Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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The author presents the climate crisis and the need for a human response in a social rather than an economic or ecological perspective. By invoking the social aspects he argues we are more likely to be able to create an appropriate response. I would agree that you have to change the way we all act and what we all want and that the social aspect is very important. But it is important to reach out and make this aspect accessible and this is where the book fails compared to a much less academic book such as "Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth?" or compared to the articles of George Monbiot.

So while the arguments are carefully made it is too hard going for a lay reader and it is only really suited to those studying academically.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful reading, 7 July 2011
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P. A. Pendrey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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The author proposes that a change from a high carbon system should be effected as soon as possible. Our current resource wasteful system has been promoted worldwide over the past decades. To change to a low carbon environment would entail a change in society - commuting, leisure and our communities. This change would be opposed by large organisations and companies and possibly, politically. Temperature rises would affect people globally - flood, drought.

The author examines the likely outcome as oil, gas and water shortages arises and the social changes after a low carbon system is introduced.

Urry has used sociology as opposed to economics to put forward his ideas.

This is a fairly complex study, but the book is ideal for students of sociology, geography and those interested in environmental issues and offers a warning to all of the consequences if we do not change our high energy using systems with their wasteful use of oil, gas and water.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very academic read!, 15 July 2011
By 
Mrs. D. A. Bremner (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Climate Change and Society (Paperback)
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I found this book very difficult to read. It is fine if you are a professor of sociology (as the author) but for the layman very complex. I ploughed through this one page at a time & had to put it down to try to work out the message on practically every page. This was a serious important message for mankind but why did it have to be written in such a complicated way? Surely the stamp of a good author is to be able put across a complicated message in simple terms? A great pity because Professor Urry is trying to convey an urgent climate change message vital for society!
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Climate Change and Society
Climate Change and Society by John Urry (Paperback - 13 May 2011)
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