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Nature_and_Environment.58

Sustainable Planetary Management

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{Nature_and_Environment.58.15}: ... {wren1111} Sun, 29 Oct 2006 19:21:00 CST (52 lines)
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<b>War Climates</b>
"http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/10/23/war_climates.php"

<i>Our political systems and global politics are largely unequipped
for the real challenges of today’s world. Global economic growth and
rising populations are putting unprecedented stresses on the
physical environment, and these stresses in turn are causing
unprecedented challenges for our societies. Yet politicians are
largely ignorant of these trends. Governments are not organized to
meet them. And crises that are fundamentally ecological in nature
are managed by outdated strategies of war and diplomacy.

Consider, for example, the situation in Darfur, Sudan. This horrible
conflict is being addressed through threats of military force,
sanctions and generally the language of war and peacekeeping. Yet
the undoubted origin of the conflict is the region’s extreme
poverty, which was made disastrously worse in the 1980s by a drought
that has essentially lasted until today. It appears that long-term
climate change is leading to lower rainfall not only in Sudan, but
also in much of Africa just south of the Sahara Desert—an area where
life depends on the rains, and where drought means death.

Darfur has been caught in a drought-induced death trap, but nobody
has seen fit to approach the Darfur crisis from the perspective of
long-term development rather than the perspective of war. Darfur
needs a water strategy more than a military strategy. Its 7 million
people cannot survive without a new approach that gives them a
chance to grow crops and water their animals. Yet all of the talk at
the United Nations is about sanctions and armies, with no path to
peace in sight.

Water stress is becoming a major obstacle to economic development in
many parts of the world. The water crisis in Gaza is a cause of
disease and suffering among Palestinians, and is a major source of
underlying tensions between Palestine and Israel. Yet again,
billions of dollars are spent on bombing and destruction in the
region, while virtually nothing is done about the growing water
crisis.

China and India, too, will face growing water crises in the coming
years, with potentially horrendous consequences. The economic
takeoff of these two giants started 40 years ago with the
introduction of higher agricultural output and an end to famines.
Yet part of that increased agricultural output resulted from
millions of wells that were sunk to tap underground water supplies
for irrigation. Now the water table is falling at a dangerous pace,
as the underground water is being pumped much faster than the rains
are recharging it.

Moreover, aside from rainfall patterns, climate change is upsetting
the flow of rivers, as glaciers.
...

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