I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility

The US Pentagon has acknowledged that climate change increases the possiblity of conflict around the world.  "The Pentagon will for the first time rank global warming as a destabilising force, adding fuel to conflict and putting US troops at risk around the world, in a major strategy review to be presented to Congress tomorrow. The Pentagon, in acknowledging the threat of global warming, will now have to factor climate change into war game exercises and long-term security assessments of badly affected regions such as the Arctic, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/pentagon-ranks-global-warming-destabilising-force

 International Alert, an independent  peace building organization funded by the European Union,  has spent twenty years attempting to create peace.  "Effects of climate change such as more frequent natural disasters, long-term water shortages and food insecurity could combine with other factors and lead to violent conflict." http://www.international-alert.org/press/Climate_change_conflict_and_fragility_Nov09.pdf

 In spite of these two organizations' diametrically opposed missons, they agree on the security implications of climate change. Unlike the Pentagon, International Alert attempts to understand and  prevent conflict. They conclude that, by instituting good governance,  peaceful solutions to the problems caused by global warming are more likely to be created.  Do you doubt their conclusions?   Fragile states are characterized by an elite that controls economic and political opportunity - think of Guatemala.  Conflict risk is increased when  resources are hogged by by elites and the poor have no access to institutional structures through which their grievances can be addressed.     Hmmmnnnnn  - now I'm wondering if the BC pipeline bomber feels he has no other way to express grievances besides violence.     (Goerge Monbiot did call Canada a thuggish petro state.)

I conclude that climate change activists must be politically aware and work towards increasing participation in democracy if a velvet climate revolution is to be successful.

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