It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Friday, May 20, 2011

On the Move with Climate Change

In 2008, a National Intelligence Assessment judged that “global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years.” Later, in 2009, National security analysts and policy makers further concluded that “changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics.”

That about says it. Whether you believe climate change is human caused or just another swing in a long history of natural cycles, either way this is the situation. If you do not believe climate change is happening at all, then you can just skip this post and put  your head back in the sand.

Mass migrations and pandemics – as people, other flora and fauna, and microbes follow changing patterns of arable land, potable water (or any water at all!), and hospitable temperatures, or simply move around a shrinking planet.

Alarums are frequently raised about one exotic species of plant or animal or another disembarking from ships, planes, or dirty shoes, or even being purposively and unwisely introduced, and then proceeding to invade natural and urban habitats, pushing out native species. Witness French broomkiller bees, or (just today in an Associated Press report) stink bugs.

 On the pandemic side of things, we have the likes of Dutch elm disease, Asian flu, and even, way back when, AIDS.

Yes, as trite an observation as it is, ours really is a shrinking planet, and climate change is only exacerbating and accelerating by orders of magnitude the relocations and dislocations that have already been underway with advancing transportation and communications technologies. It ain’t going away, and we can’t stop it any more than we can stop, at this late date, the world’s ice caps and sheets from melting. Exotic species will become native species, migrating human populations will become native populations, and we will accommodate our immune systems to new bugs.

All we can do is acknowledge, accept, and adapt. And the sooner we do so, the better. The sooner we turn our mental, physical, and fiscal energies away from resistance and clinging to business as usual and focus them instead on understanding and adapting to the nature of the changes already taking place, the sooner we will create a new business as usual

We can do this. And we can do it without breakdown in civil order or military action, which the national security community anticipates but which comes only from fear of change and resistance to reality. The sooner we get a move on and do this, the better we will not just survive but thrive. After all, the concept of survival of the fittest, what Darwin originally called natural selection, meant not survival of the most physically strong and fit individuals but rather survival of the species most able to adapt and fit into its environment.

The choice, as always, is ours.

No comments:

Post a Comment