Thursday, January 9, 2020

'Climate change is a threat multiplier' — environmental threats can become national security issues

Katherine Hayhoe on Twitter had a take on the link between the Australian wildfires and climate change that reminded me of a video I had watched last week.*
#AustralianWildFires climate denial claims, "it's arson! it's been warmer before! fire's natural!" The truth? Human-induced climate change is a threat multiplier. It takes existing risks + amplifies them beyond imagining, affecting every living thing on this planet: including us.
"Human-induced climate change is a threat multiplier" — I heard that in The Overlooked Link Between National Security and the Environment | Tami Relph | TEDxSantaBarbara.  Watch as Tami Relph explains how environmental insecurity, much of it caused by climate change, acts as a threat multiplier.

Can environmental threats actually become security issues? Tami Relph will explore patterns of conflict and will share how global issues can escalate if left unchecked. Tami Relph is an interdisciplinary engineer in the Environmental Security department at Naval Facilities Engineering & Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC). Ms. Relph has substantial experience in water security, wastewater systems, and sustainable engineering. Her interest in engineering stemmed from a knack for problem solving and a desire to improve living conditions sustainably in communities around the world. She joined Engineers Without Borders in 2011 and quickly became a leader in both her student and professionals chapters. Since then she has led project teams to design, implement, and evaluate sustainable engineering projects supporting community-driven, small-scale infrastructure needs in Nepal, Peru, and Tanzania. She has a Civil Engineering M.S. and Environmental Engineering B.S. from CU Boulder, an Anthropology B.A. from UCLA, and is a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in CA. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
While I've written a lot about both climate change and ISIS/Daesh, who I call the Sith Jihad, I haven't written before about how climate change, drought, and crop failure contributed to the latter's rise.  I'm glad Relph gave me a chance to correct that omission.  It also serves as an example of Commoner's First Law of Ecology, "Everything Is Connected to Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all," something I teach my students.

I also teach my students environmental literacy.  This video not only shows connection between the environment and security but also goes through all the steps of environmental literacy, awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills and action.  I could definitely use it in my classes, which resume on Monday.  I also hope that it inspires my readers to take action themselves.  It certainly is inspiring me.

*In case Dr. Hayhoe looks familiar, I featured her in Katharine Hayhoe, lead author of the National Climate Assessment, responds to Santorum and others claiming she's in it for the money.  Writing that convinced me to follow her on Twitter.  I'm glad I do.

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