With the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference fast approaching and numerous global crises competing for our attention and resources, it is vital to elevate the interconnected nature of the challenges we face.

As if the harm caused by flaring conflicts and humanitarian disasters is not tragic enough, their devastating effects are amplified by and intertwined with the impacts of climate change. Researchers have found that climate change is a “threat multiplier” for armed conflict with climate-related disasters increasingly linked to armed conflicts, such as the impact of a dramatic decline in rainfall and the expansion of the Sahara Desert on the war in Sudan. And on the other side of conflicts, militaries are responsible for an estimated 5.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to international experts. This vicious cycle contributes to major setbacks in development progress, disruptions to food security, mass displacement, and persistent harm to human health beyond the immediate crises.

The scale and urgency required to address how climate change intersects with other critical issues demands our immediate attention. Panorama Strategy is thrilled to see the first-ever “Day of Health” at COP28, recognizing that the climate crisis is a health crisis. Building resilient health systems that can withstand the burdens of climate change requires stakeholders from across sectors to work together to advance understanding, develop solutions, and propel intersectional shifts. Embracing a holistic approach based in systems change is crucial to fostering a collaborative and adaptive global response that secures a sustainable future for generations to come.

Even as the impacts of climate change become clearer, uncertainty and risk are frequent themes that persist in conversations about climate change. This underscores the need to advance our collective understanding of the challenges we are facing and the solutions they demand. The books listed below provide greater insight and challenge us to imagine how we can drive transformational change to create a healthier, more peaceful, and sustainable planet.

Uncertainty, risk, and opportunity

The reality of climate change brings with it a complex landscape of uncertainty, presenting both unprecedented risks and unique opportunities. As we work to discover the unknowns, mitigate risk, and leverage opportunities, it is imperative to learn from history to better understand the interconnectedness of climate change and economic, social, and political systems. The scale of change needed to overcome inequities that climate change exacerbates presents an opportunity for us to restructure economic systems. With the books below as helpful guides, we can navigate the uncertainty ahead by looking at our challenges from different perspectives and hopefully finding some clarity as we go.

Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations, by Anthony McMichael

McMichael brings his perspective as an epidemiologist to explore how shifts in climate patterns throughout history have contributed to the spread of diseases, famines, conflict, and destabilizing public health crises. It underscores the interconnected nature of environmental and public health challenges, and their ability to alter the fate of nations. With climate patterns intensifying and shifting at unprecedented rates, the potential for destabilizing impacts on human societies is tremendous. The lessons drawn from this historical overview can help us look to a future full of uncertainty with a better understanding of how climate systems shape the vulnerabilities of our food systems, risks to our health, and influence the welfare of human populations.

Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice, by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel

Inflamed highlights the relationship between our biological systems and the profound injustices of political and economic systems to demonstrate how social, economic, and political factors contribute to the unequal distribution of health outcomes and resources. The authors explore how inflammation is connected to the traumas experienced due to structural injustices we experience, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the diversity of microbes living inside of us, which help to regulate everything from our brain’s development to our immune system’s functioning. While the book is not focused solely on climate change, the authors illuminate how structural injustices, exacerbated by climate change risks, influence social determinants of health and make the case for reestablishing our relationship with Earth as we decolonize systems of oppression.

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, by Kate Raworth

Given how deeply entwined climate change and our economic model are, this challenge to traditional economic thinking pushes us to consider the alternatives. Raworth proposes the "doughnut" model, grounded in the idea that an economic system should meet the needs of all people while operating within the planet's ecological limits. The fresh approach presents practical strategies for restructuring economic systems for a more equitable future, based on regenerative and distributive practices. It challenges us to see the opportunities to restructure old and worn-out ways of doing business into new systems that help people to thrive.

Imagining possible futures, creating systems-wide change

To create transformational change, we must push ourselves to imagine possible futures. With climate change exerting increasing pressures on global economies and societies, the imperative for businesses to understand that there are other models of “business as usual” and recognize the strategic advantages of climate action has never been more crucial. The structural changes needed to address systemic inequalities exacerbated by climate demand consideration of alternative strategies and tactics. The three following books invite us to view the challenges ahead with some creativity, imagine a future grounded in planetary solidarity, and envision a more sustainable global economy.

The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, by Kim Stanley Robinson

This story welcomes us into a world of possible futures. It is a long one for sure, but also thought provoking, exciting, and makes the risks of climate change feel real. The novel explores the creation of an international organization, the Ministry for the Future, tasked to advocate for future generations of citizens of the world as if their rights were as valid as the present generation's. Robinson weaves together a compelling, and at times harrowing, narrative combining elements of science, politics, and human resilience, to show how humanity might overcome the existential threats of climate change. By imagining alternative realities for the future, we may open our eyes to new solutions to the challenge ahead.

The Circular Economy Handbook: Realizing the Circular Advantage, by Peter Lacy and Jessica Long

In this book, the authors present a practical framework and strategies for companies to transition from linear, resource-depleting business models to more sustainable and regenerative circular models. It is filled with valuable case studies and actionable insights. The authors show how companies can decouple growth from relying on scarce and often harmful resources while creating strategic advantages for their business by embedding circularity into their organization and enabling broad based systems change. This handbook provides actionable steps for businesses to implement circular practices, explains the principles of the circular economy, and demonstrates the economic advantages for companies that proactively integrate climate-conscious strategies into their operations.

Climate Change as Class War: Building Socialism on a Warming Planet, by Matthew T. Huber

Challenging conventional perspectives, this book argues that climate change is not only an environmental crisis, but also a manifestation of class struggle. It offers an enlightening reframing of how consumption and production contribute to emissions, challenges us to reconsider the most effective methods for reducing emissions, and provides a strategy that brings environmental politics into the core of union and working class organizing to transform our energy system. With its analysis of the socio-political dimensions of climate change, the need for a radical shift in economic and political systems to address both environmental degradation and social injustice is made clear.