Class Year


Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Winter 2007


The world is facing a convergence of numerous social, economic, and environmental problems, and many say that it is the first time in human history that this has happened on such a scale. Yet history, particularly the rise and fall of previous civilizations, may help us understand what is coming, and how to handle it so that we do not risk the fall of the human civilization. In The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, author Thomas F. Homer-Dixon looks to the Roman Empire to examine what will likely happen when society breaks down under the weight of the problems we face, and to learn how to prevent the collapse of our civilization. The pervasive issue of climate change is the key example used throughout the book.