It… should not be surprising that the U.S. Pentagon states that global warming is a larger threat than even terrorism. “Picture Japan, suffering from flooding along its coastal cities and contamination of its fresh water supply, eyeing Russia’s Sakhalin Island oil and gas reserves as an energy source”, suggests a Pentagon memo on global warming. “Envision Pakistan, India and China — all armed with nuclear weapons — skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared river and arable land.” The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said that climate change needs to be taken as seriously as war and, further, that “changes in our environment and the resulting upheavals from droughts to inundated coastal areas to loss of arable land are likely to become a major driver of war and conflict”. Fighting global warming may be one way to prevent future wars, simultaneously increasing energy security and physical security….
[I]ncreased suffering and increasing numbers of environmental refugees, along with greater anxiety over access to food, water, land, and housing — the material essentials of life — often lead to unstable conditions that give rise to anger, ethnic violence, terrorism, fascism, and war. “It’s the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit,” states IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri. Those who needlessly degrade and destroy the environment to satisfy their own selfish pleasures are like the pre-revolutionary Queen Marie-Antoinette, declaring “Let them eat carbon dioxide”!
This is part of a long, excellent article, Are You Taking Global Warming Personally?, by Dan Brook, Ph.D and Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. over on world.edu this week.
After an well-communicated, detailed intro on global warming and concerns related to it, like those above, the authors delve into the action side of things in detail as well. And as you can tell from the title, they don’t just talk about macro-scale action, but focus a lot on personal action.
As we did a bit in Going Green Tip #3, they focus their personal action suggestions around the topic of food. One of the best ways to address global weirding is to switch to a vegetarian or (even better) vegan diet. If we are serious about addressing global weirding, this should be on our list, and it should be near the top.
The authors and many others have compared addressing global warming to fighting a war. In order to mitigate the great risks we are facing from altering the Earth’s climate, we need to mobilize to a great degree. But while mobilizing to fight an “enemy” on the other side of the world may be easy for us, mobilizing to change our own habits seems to be much more difficult. Can you do it? Can you help your friends and family to do it?
As Buddha is credited with saying, “Though one man conquers a thousand men, a thousand times in battle, he who conquers himself is the greatest warrior.” An old Aztec saying is basically the same, “The strongest warrior is he who conquers himself.”
It is time for us to take up this hardest of battles a little more forcefully and effectively.
Photo Credit: mysi anne via flickr (CC license)