Scientists Warn of Global Dangers
“Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.”
“Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.”
The climate news today (and really every day now) is not good. The Times article below focuses on just one of the bad bits. Global warming and consequent shifts in weather patterns are stressing everyone, but especially those people living in equatorial regions. Droughts, fires, and floods are becoming intolerable. The emerging climate-change-driven diaspora will carry the stress north and south into temperate latitudes. Projections made by many scientists in the U. S., European Union, and Asia portray a dismal future for Earth and humanity.
Climate-change emigrants and their descendents moving north will not escape the ravages of a warming planet for very long. Stresses in northern latitudes have already begun. As the human population squeezes north to find food and water, resources will dwindle and conflicts will intensify. Nature in even the diminished form that we see now will sink toward unsustainable levels where wild plants and animals, then watersheds, then soils, and then fresh water are lost.
As I look out across my fields of invasive weeds and my ponds and small stream choked with artificially fertilized algae and filled with invasive animals, I remember the sunflowered fields and sparkling creek of my childhood. As the pace of climate change accelerates, “the good old days” will become a meaningful phrase for younger and younger people facing a constant need to adapt to more difficult times.
Want to keep up with the changes? The Daily Climate carries the best selection of current stories I’ve found. The Daily Climate included a link to the story below along with dozens of others. (Header image: A farmer tries to revive his unconscious cow. Photo by CNN.)
“Climate change is not equal across the globe, and neither are its longer term consequences. This map overlays human turmoil — represented here by United Nations data on nearly 64 million “persons of concern,” whose numbers have tripled since 2005 — with climate turmoil, represented by data from NASA’s Common Sense Climate Index. The correlation is striking. Climate change is a threat multiplier: It contributes to economic and political instability and also worsens the effects. It propels sudden-onset disasters like floods and storms and slow-onset disasters like drought and desertification; those disasters contribute to failed crops, famine and overcrowded urban centers; those crises inflame political unrest and worsen the impacts of war, which leads to even more displacement. There is no internationally recognized legal definition for “environmental migrants” or “climate refugees,” so there is no formal reckoning of how many have left their homes because climate change has made their lives or livelihoods untenable. In a 2010 Gallup World Poll, though, about 12 percent of respondents — representing a total of 500 million adults — said severe environmental problems would require them to move within the next five years.
‘Amazon Basin: As glacial melting reduces freshwater reserves for the Andean plain, tensions are growing between locals and the mining and agribusiness operations that consume much of what remains. Researchers predict that this resource conflict will drive more migrants to the Amazon Basin where many have already turned to informal mining and coca cultivation, fueling the rise of criminal syndicates.
“Lake Chad, 3. Syria, 4. China, 5. Philippines” –Jessica Benko (New York Times: Continue reading.)
GR: Conflicts should perhaps be included in the list of the top nature destroying human activities. This gives us construction and farming, global warming, invasive species, pesticides and toxic wastes, soil erosion, resource harvesting (deforestation, fishing, and hunting), and conflict. As global warming advances, conflict will probably move up in the list.
“Over the last 60 years, more than two-thirds of the world’s remaining biodiversity hotspots have experienced armed conflict. The effects have been myriad, from destruction as a result of military tactics to indirect socioeconomic and political changes, like human migration and displacement. This so-called “war on wildlife” has important implications for conservation and peacebuilding efforts, according to a recent literature review published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.“
“Through armed conflict, global socioeconomic and political dynamics can ultimately threaten local animal populations and the vulnerable human communities that rely on their services,” said Kaitlyn Gaynor, lead author of the study, via email.
“The paper, a collaboration between natural and social scientists at the University of California-Berkeley, categorizes 144 case studies around the world that illustrate direct or indirect links between armed conflict and critical wildlife populations, from African elephants in Angola to mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
“The results of the literature review show a clear trend towards “non-tactical” pathways of conflict affecting wildlife more than tactical. Non-tactical pathways include changing institutional dynamics (83 cases), movements of people (81 cases), and altered economies (84 cases).” –Bethany N. Bella (Continue: A Survey of the “War on Wildlife”: How Conflict Affects Conservation.)
The top stories today are not good. Most of them focus on Trump’s effort to end climate research and remove inhibitions on fossil fuel use.
Other stories by the Associated Press, New York Times, Carbonbrief, and the Washington Post. In a total refutation of “for the people,” Trump’s climate efforts are contrary to the wishes of most Americans. As we approach the melt season, north polar sea ice is very thin. The Dakota Access pipeline is full of oil. Global-warming induced drought is creating famine and war. The one good story is that Maryland has banned fracking.
For these stories and more, go to: Climate News | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
GR: The first four of these suggestions are for you to take to prepare for the challenges of climate change. You should recommend the last four suggestions to your government. (More on meeting the climate emergency.)
Donald Trump has rejected global leadership on the issue, so now it’s down to us as individuals to plan, and push through new policies change where we can.
“If, like many of us, you have the sense that seasons are changing, winters are milder, summers a bit warmer, springs coming earlier, and autumns not quite what they used to be, you’d be right. According to a report released today by the United Nations, 2016 was the warmest year on record, breaking the record previously held by 2015, and before that by 2014. Having three years of record-breaking temperatures is a clear trend that the climate is changing.
Preparing for Climate Emergencies
1) “Make a plan; build a kit. Natural disasters are on the rise and are only projected to occur more frequently and be more intense thanks to climate change. Ensure you are prepared by having a plan for what you and your family will do in the case of a disaster. Then make a kit that has the supplies you’ll need to withstand and recover.
2) “Get to know your neighbours. In a disaster, government resources are likely to be strained. Building strong social networks, including within your own neighbourhood, can be an extremely effective way to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
3) “Reduce your carbon footprint. Anything we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help slow down climate change. The mantra I use is that we must manage the unavoidable through adaptation, but avoid the unmanageable through mitigation.
4) “Call your legislators today, and every day. Demand that they preserve and advance domestic and international climate programmes, policies, and funding streams. Don’t take these programmes for granted.” –Missy Stults (Continue reading: Climate change is happening now – here’s eight things we can do to adapt to it | Missy Stults | Opinion | The Guardian).
Gr: The U. S. military takes the “threat multiplier” effect of climate change very seriously. Here’s why.
“The Buzzfeed story lead says it all: “Meet the woman whose two-word catchphrase made the military care about climate” . That woman is Sherri Goodman, and she will be in Australia in early April. And the film about climate change and the military will be on ABC TV’s 4 Corners next Monday night.
“The national security dimension of climate change receives little attention in Australia, but is the subject of intense focus overseas, particularly in the United States. Climate change interacts with other pre-existing problems to become an accelerant to instability in unexpected ways. Scarce resources, growing water scarcity, declining crop yields, rising food prices, extreme weather events and health impacts become catalysts for instability and conflict, especially in Asia. This has profound implications for Australia, economically and socially, quite apart from the climate change impact on Australia itself.
“You are unlikely to ever see another climate film like “The Age of Consequences”, so tune into 4 Corners at 8.30pm on Monday night, and find out how the US military really see the challenges of global warming. And yes, they really do get it. A lot better than most politicians.
SCREENING DETAILS: “The Age of Consequences”, from PBS International, directed by Jared P Scott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 20 March at 8.30pm EDT. Replayed on Tuesday 21 March at 10.00am and Wednesday 22 at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8pm, and at ABC iview.
“This striking documentary investigates the accelerating impact of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change interacts with societal tensions, sparking conflict. Whether long-term vulnerabilities or sudden shocks, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as “accelerants of instability” and “catalysts for conflict” in volatile regions of the world.
“Sherri Goodman will be touring Australia in the first week of April. As well as meeting with government, business, and national security think-tanks, and extensive media engagement, Ms Goodman will be speaking at three public events (use the “Continue reading” link below to get event details).
“Sherri Goodman is a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security. From 2001-2015, she served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CNA, a non-profit research body that provides analyses and solutions for national security leaders. Sherri is also the Founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board whose landmark reports include “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change” (2007), and “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change” (2014).
“So what will you learn from “The Age of Consequences” and Sherri Goodman? Here are a few starters:
“ARAB SPRING: Per capita, the world’s top nine wheat importers are in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, a heatwave and wild fires in Ukraine and Russia, and a “once-in-a-century” winter drought in China, resulted in wheat shortages and a global wheat price spike, with rocketing bread prices across the Middle East. Food riots resulted in countries such as Egypt, where basic food costs are one-third of household budget, and became a trigger for the “Arab Spring”.
“SYRIA: From 2006-2010, sixty per cent of Syria had its worst long-term drought and crop failures since civilisation began. 800,000 people in rural areas had lost their livelihood by 2009. Two-to-three million people were driven into extreme poverty, and 1.5 million people migrated to Syrian cities, which had already received a similar number of Iraqi war refugees. The cities grew very rapidly, as did food and apartment prices. The resultant social breakdown, state failure, and the rise of Islamic State was a reaction to a regime unable to adequately respond, but global and regional climatic changes were major underlying causes.
“EUROPEAN MIGRATION CRISIS: The European migration crisis is an example of reciprocal interactions between intersecting crisis becoming an accelerant to instability in unexpected ways, with the intersection of: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and displacement; the civil war in Syria; the Arab Spring and displacement across the Maghreb; and drought and desertification, war and displacement across the Sahel.
“BANGLADESH: Bangladesh is the ground zero of climate change. A one-metre sea level rise will flood 20% of the land mass and displace 30 million people. India has surrounded Bangladesh with a double security “climate refugee” fence patrolled by 80,000 troops.
“This is a world we ignore at our peril.” –Climate Code Red (Continue reading: Climate Code Red: Meet Sherri Goodman, who in two words made the military care about climate change.)
GR: Climate change will destroy human civilization as it delivers the final blow to Earth’s biosphere. Already we have lost half our wild plant and animal life and extinction rates are rising. In earlier mass extinctions, the planet lost near ninety percent of its species. This time could be worse. With continued human population growth, development, environmental destruction, and global warming, our species will join all the others and undergo massive turmoil and decline as our resource, the Earth’s biosphere declines. Though some have forgotten it, our species is dependent on a steady, healthy biosphere.
“Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale,” according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”.
“The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.
“Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required.” –Danian Carrington (More: Climate Change Will Stir ‘Unimaginable’ Refugee Crisis | Climate Central).
GR: Initiating a siege that blocks emergency vehicles and supplies from reaching people on tribal treaty lands is an obvious next step for a law enforcement system that sees itself as the defender of corporate rights. This is the strategy followed by dictators such as Bashar Hafez al-Assad the current President of Syria. Aid agencies have fought to deliver supplies to peaceful people in Syria and perhaps they can do so in North Dakota.
(Photo: The Oceti Sakowin camp is seen at sunrise during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)
“North Dakota law enforcement will begin to block supplies from reaching protesters at a camp near the construction site of an oil pipeline project in an effort to force demonstrators to vacate the area, officials said on Tuesday.
“Activists have spent months protesting plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.
“Supplies, including food and building materials, will be blocked from entering the main camp following Governor Jack Dalrymple’s signing of an “emergency evacuation” order on Monday, Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, said.
“The order was effective immediately. As of Tuesday morning, however, no vehicles carrying supplies had been turned back, said Cecily Fong, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.” —Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis. Read more: North Dakota to block supplies from pipeline protesters’ camp | Reuters
GR: The Corr of Engineers did not send an eviction notice. The letter was merely trying to avoid liability. There isn’t much new here, but we have to be pleased with news media that report on the issue.
“Despite a government order to vacate, tribal leaders as well as demonstrators camped out in Standing Rock, North Dakota, say they are staying put.
“In a letter sent Friday to Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army Corps of Engineers said they will be closing a portion of the land north of the Cannonball River on December 5, and that anyone on that land will be “considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state and local laws.”
“It’s unclear if the Corps will take steps to arrest or remove people who stay. The Army Corps of Engineers did not respond to my request for comment. One thing’s for sure: It would take a major effort to remove the estimated 5,000 encamped to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Update: The Corps released a statement late Sunday clarifying that they have “no plans for forcible removal.” Instead, they say, they are “seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.” How exactly that would happen is unclear.)
“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever,” said Archambault in a statement. “We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands.” –Cole Kazdin and Duy Linh Tu (continue reading: The Standing Rock ‘Water Protectors’ Vow to Stay No Matter What the Government Does | VICE | United States)
In 1972, a group of scientists predicted that human civilization would collapse by 2100 if there were no changes in the ways we run our businesses, governments, and daily lives. There were no changes.
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