“Maybe the Truth is, Without A Healthy Environment, There Is No Economy”

From My Green Conscience blog, a fabulous visual essay review of the book “Climate Wars” by Eric Pooley. As My Green Conscience states:

Franke James merges science, art and storytelling to inspire people to take action and “do the hardest thing first” for the planet. Franke uses her skills as an artist, photographer and writer to create visual essays on environmental and social issues. She is the author of two award-winning books, Bothered By My Green Conscience and Dear Office-Politics, the game everyone plays.

Here are a few of the vivid and evocative images from Ms. James’ essay:


Go to “Ending the Climate Wars” to view/read the full essay.

More links:

The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and The Fight to Save The Earth, by Eric Pooley, Deputy Editor of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Bloomberg.com

Climate Change and National Security – American Defense Officials Speak Out

Climate Change will have profound implications for the security of every nation. Experienced military experts have come to some conclusions on what’s coming. The defense experts on this video include General Gordon Sulllivan, Former US Army Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral David Titley, Oceanographer and Navigator of the US Navy, Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, and James Woolsey, Former CIA director.

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This video comes from Peter Sinclair and “Climate Crock of the Week“.

I am away this week on a low-carbon canoe trip in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Enjoy the video!

“We’re Not Doomed, We’re Just In Big Trouble” – Gwynne Dyer On Global Instability And Climate Change

“Recent scientific evidence has…given us a picture of the physical impacts on our world that we can expect as our climate changes. And those impacts go far beyond the environmental. Their consequences reach to the very heart of the security agenda.”

Margaret Beckett, former British foreign secretary

This is the quote that opens Gwynne Dyer’s book, Climate Wars. Mr Dyer is a London-based independent Canadian journalist, syndicated columnist and military historian. In 2010 he received the Order of Canada. His website summarizes his career this way:

Born in Newfoundland, he received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published by over 175 papers in some 45 countries.
His first television series, the 7-part documentary ‘War’, was aired in 45 countries in the mid-80s. One episode, ‘The Profession of Arms’, was nominated for an Academy Award.  His more recent television work includes the 1994 series ‘The Human Race’, and ‘Protection Force’, a three-part series on peacekeepers in Bosnia, both of which won Gemini awards.  His award-winning radio documentaries include ‘The Gorbachev Revolution’, a seven-part series based on Dyer’s experiences in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in 1987-90, and ‘Millenium’, a six-hour series on the
emerging global culture.

So, what does Climate Wars have to say about the challenges the world faces in the coming decades, thanks to the grossly inadequate response of most governments to the threat that it poses? Some of the expected consequences of runaway climate change in the decades ahead are dwindling resources, massive population shifts, natural disasters, spreading epidemics, drought, rising sea levels, plummeting agricultural yields, devastated economies, and political extremism. Any one of these could tip the world towards conflict. Mr. Dyer points out that the military forces of both the United States and Britain have taken this threat seriously for years, although under George W. Bush’s presidency,  it was dangerous to one’s career to be seen treating climate change as a real and serious phenomenon. Despite that, the Pentagon hired the CNA Corporation to study the geopolitics of climate change. The resulting report, produced by the CNA Corporation in collaboration with eleven retired three- and four-star generals, was issued in April 2007 and is titled National Security and Climate. In that report, General Anthony C. Zinni, former commander-in-chief, U.S. Central Command, wrote:

You already have great tension over water [in the Middle East]. These are cultures often built around a single source of water. So any stresses on the rivers and aquifers can be a source of conflict. If you consider land loss, the Nile Delta region is the most fertile ground in Egypt. Any losses there [from a storm surge] could cause a real problem, again because the region is so fragile.

We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll. There is no way out of this that does not have real costs attached to it.

For more of Gwynne Dyer on climate change, check out these videos or go to CBC’s website to listen to Climate Wars.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaFphYKT_I0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UvHfsdZQNE]

American Military On Climate Change: If We Wait for 100% Certainty, Something Bad Is Going To Happen

Last week, a group of academic and military experts representing both the U.S. and Britain gathered at a symposium at the Museum of Natural History. The symposium, Climate Change And Global Security, examined the reasons why any discussion about global warming should include a broader look at the implications for long-term global security. The moderator, Andrew Nagorski of the EastWest Institute, stated:

“What often does not come across in the discussions of climate change…is that the militaries of the U.S., the U.K., and other countries have for a long time operated on the assumption that climate change is something that you have to deal with. Whatever the causes, the consequences [of climate change], you have to factor it into your planning.”

Dennis V. McGinn, retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy and member of the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board, does a good job of summing up how climate change poses a national security threat, and how it could destabilize societies around the world:

“From a military and national security expertise perspective we question ourselves, what are we doing taking about climate science, we’re collectively 400 years of time in uniform at peace and at war. Our chairman of the military advisory board General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the Army put it best. He said we never have 100 % certainty. If you wait for 100% certainty on the battlefield, something bad is going to happen. We never have it. So, from that conclusion about how we should approach this from a risk management proposition, what can we do to prevent, to mitigate what we can’t prevent and to adapt what we can neither prevent or mitigate, the effects of climate change. That is the challenge for us across the globe. Certainly, as a global leader that the US is we bear a special responsibility for rising to meet that challenge and to turn it into the opportunity that can make us more secure nationally and internationally and more prosperous in the future.”

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Here is another video of the retired Vice Admiral speaking at a “Re-energize America” town hall meeting on the impact of America’s oil dependence on the national and economic security of the country.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPFIBm6dQC8]

If the British, U.S., and other militaries are taking the threat of climate change seriously, isn’t it time our politicians did, too?

More links:

In Canada, remind our politicians to support Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act

To listen to the podcast of “Climate Change and Global Security” click here

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security

Navigating Climate Change: An Agenda for U.S.-Chinese Cooperation , a report by the EastWest Institute