Written by Laurence C. Smith, the book looks at the four forces that are driving major change in the economy and human lifestyle, including decreasing natural resources, demographic shifts, globalization and climate change.
"While this book is partly about such global forces, it has a more specifically geographical remit: the Arctic and the far north. These regions have been the focus of much of Smith's academic research. He has important work to his name on how Arctic ecosystems will be transformed by climate change and how this may feed back to impact the rest of the world – for instance through methane bubbling out of the melting permafrost and adding to global warming. Now he posits that the far north will become the cockpit of wider global change.
This is important. We have for decades focused our global angst around the teeming tropics. We fear that economic development there is wrecking the rainforests and releasing their carbon into the air. And we worry that the poor billions in the hottest region of the planet will suffer most from global warming. But Smith's 'thought experiment' switches to events in the high latitudes of the north."