Monday, August 01, 2011

Not Just a Hotter Planet But Also A More Unjust and Unstable One

In the coming decades, tens of millions of people will be forced to flee their homelands, braving violence and poverty in search of shelter. However, these refugees will not be running from the horrors of war or prosecution, but from the changing climate.

Many people have yet to hear about the rising tide of environmental migrants, but the threat is real. In 2010, according to Pew Center on Global Climate Change, "more than 90 percent of all disasters and 65 percent of associated economic damages were weather and climate related."

The numbers look even worse on the ground. In rural Bangladesh, rising waters are threatening to swallow the coastal communities and leave millions without homes.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the sea level only needs to rise by a few feet to turn a cultivated area of 1,000 kilometers squared into a marsh. The frequency of floods has continued to escalate exponentially. This pushes young workers into cities and erodes the cultures of rural communities.

And, while some places are flooding, others are drying up. There is an ongoing drought in East Africa, which has created massive hunger and aggravated conflict as groups fight over the dwindling resources.

On "Democracy Now!". Christian Parenti, the author of "Tropic Chaos," stated that "climate-driven warfare brings the environmental toll of imperialism full circle."

-Gabrielle Gurian