One of the most informative books I’ve read over the past year has been Prisoners of Geography. It really shows how many of the worlds hot spots are directly tied into geographic problems, in ways even I did not realize or could imagine. Climate change will exacerbate this issue. Climate caused food scarcity will be the silent killer of over half a million people this year, dwarfing the deaths from global terrorism or gun violence. It will likely lead to future wars, if it has not already. Similarly, water shortages are going to get worse. Rapidly urbanizing and industrializing Bangladesh and India are running out of water.
While the pundits are blaming Hindu nationalism for India’s offensive annexation of Kashmir, the reality is, it holds a lot of India’s water. This is also why India and China will continue to compete over the Himalayas. Yes, Israeli nationalism is fueling the annexation movement for the occupied territories, but Israel also wants to secure the fertile Jordan valley for irrigation. If it must sacrifice the two state solution on that altar of progress, so be it. The Kurds sit on water supplies, and even the Syrian Civil War might be considered a water war.
Russia is losing its permafrost, drying out one of the largest lakes in the world, and actively moving its imperial gaze Ukraine’s way not only to secure access to the Black Sea for its southern fleet but also to secure Ukraine, aka the breadbasket in Europe, as its traditional cattle producers lose arable land to climate change. The Chinese oppression of the Uighur people is partly driven by their climate mitigation strategy. Food scarcity is also on the horizon and will lead to massive famine and further warfare.
It is time all the candidates and not just Jay Inslee talk about the clear and present danger climate change poses to national security. It is a bigger threat to the American way of life than terrorism is. We do not want another Dust Bowl, also projected to be on the horizon. We do not want further climate migration to the United States from places rapidly running out of food and water. We do not want our own food and water supply to continue to dwindle. It is time we put America first by putting climate on the front burner. If we do not, it is America that will get burned.