Environmentalism Causes War

by | Nov 25, 2007

Hey, who needs politics or history when we have climate science? New Scientist reports on a new study that finds (not for the first time ) a correlation between climate change and war, the implication being, of course, that the former causes the latter.

“Our basic model is that deviations in temperature can hamper crop production,” says Peter Brecke of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US. This, in turn, has three effects: increasing food prices, a greater risk of death from starvation, and increased social tension, which leads to violent conflict.

And as New Scientist points out, people in high places are wont to agree that stable climate = world peace. They quote UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

Sudan was “a conflict that grew at least in part from desertification, ecological degradation, and a scarcity of resources”

What this research does show is that humans have experienced climate change, and survived, and got better at both, to the point where we now need ‘scientific’ research to show us that once there was a relationship between the climate and people’s lives. Now, thanks to industrial agriculture – and development in general – that vulnerability is massively diminished to the point that climatic variation no longer has as significant social consequences as does the actual organisation of society itself. In this age, the means exist to feed the entire world, whatever the weather. Wars and politics – not climate – cause famines, and exacerbate the effects of drought. And yet ask yourself this: which political movement is against technological developments in industrial agriculture? Which political movement is against the mechanisation of farms in the developing world? Which political organisations campaign against the use of chemical agents in agricultural production?

If scarcity causes wars, environmentalism causes wars.


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