Two Joint Task Force 129 crews on board HH-60G Pave Hawks fly over Crystal Beach, TX, on Sept. 13, 2008. The JTF 129 crews rescued 48 people and pets stranded in the Galveston area; Photo via Flickr: Simminch

Two Joint Task Force 129 crews on board HH-60G Pave Hawks fly over Crystal Beach, TX, on Sept. 13, 2008. The JTF 129 crews rescued 48 people and pets stranded in the Galveston area; Photo via Flickr: Simminch

More evidence that caring about the environment is, indeed, patriotic, and that our government’s failure to recognize this soon may lead to a very grim future for our country: An article that appeared this past weekend in The New York Times warns of the grave national security challenges that our country will face as a result of global warming. And it’s not only our reliance on Middle Eastern oil that we have to worry about; food shortages, drought, destructive weather events, pandemics — even new borders to defend as a result of the shrinking Arctic ice cap — will place an increasing strain on the US military.

Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements, or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change…. This argument could prove a fulcrum for debate in the Senate next month when it takes up climate and energy legislation passed in June by the House.

While it’s all well and good that some members of the US military and Congress are finally waking up to this — a full four years after the national security catastrophe that followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — one has to marvel at the length of time it’s taken the intelligence community to connect the dots. In 2004, the United Nations began studying the links between global warming and war; in 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon blamed drought as a factor in the genocide in Darfur; and in 1992, political writer Thomas Homer-Dixon (then a professor at the University of Toronto) wrote an op-ed piece for the NYT entitled “As Resources Are Wasted, Mass Violence Will Rise.”

Read the NYT article here

–Jennifer Grayson

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