Christian Parenti on Taking Power in a Climate of Chaos

“Left Out,” a podcast produced by Paul Sliker, Michael Palmieri and Dante Dallavalle, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists and organizers on the left.

In this episode, we sat down with Christian Parenti to discuss climate change and our current political and economic landscape. Parenti is a sociologist trained at the London School of Economics and is currently an economics professor at John Jay College. He’s written extensively on the connection between climate change and geopolitical conflict around the globe and has reported from war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia. His writing has appeared in Fortune, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Middle East Report, London Review of Books, Mother Jones and The Nation (where he is contributing editor).

In 2011 he authored the book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and The New Geography of Violence, which explored how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. His latest piece of work is featured in Anthropocene or Capitalocene?: Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism, alongside a collection of provocative essays on nature and power, humanity and capitalism framed within a politics of hope that signal the possibilities for transcending capitalism. In our interview, we were able to ask Christian what it was like to straddle the realm between academia and journalism; prospects of climate catastrophe; climate change and climate justice; and the role of both politics and the state in any real solutions for a way forward.