Understanding the Connection Between Climate Change and Conflicts

It has often been asserted that climate change has potential to cause conflicts. But the exact mechanism, through which climate change can cause conflicts, is not explained. And this is why some people end up being skeptical about the whole idea of climate change, and its potential to cause conflicts. So, how exactly can climate change cause conflicts? That is the question I will attempt to answer in today’s article – by exploring the connection between climate change and conflicts.

To understand how climate change can cause conflicts, we have to start by appreciating that climate change has caused significant changes in weather patterns. So you find places that used to receive a lot of rainfall are no longer receiving so much rain. You find that places that used to only have short dry spells have very long dry spells. Some previously habitable places have, for all purposes and intends, turned into deserts. That is how climate change plays out on the ground.

Further, to understand how climate change can cause conflicts, you have to appreciate the fact that there are many parts of the world where the people are still living off the land. It is easy to forget this fact, especially if you are living in the developed world. But you have to remember that while you are, say, applying for your double card from Merrick Bank, someone else  in another part of the world is trying to figure out where he will graze his goats the next day. Such is the nature of the world. When such people (who live off the land) are faced with longer dry spells, they are inclined to move to other parts – where there may be more rain, shorter dry spells and so on. But remember, there are people already living in those ‘other’ parts. So you end up with conflicts between the newly-arrived people (who moved due to climate change), and the people who have always lived in those other parts – who are averse to the idea of welcoming new people to their territories.

In a nutshell, climate change is impoverishing people who previously used to enjoy reasonably decent standards of living. And that is how you end up with people who are willing to walk across deserts, and to cross oceans on rickety boats, to reach places where they believe they can access ‘greener pastures’. Due to climate change, we are seeing an upsurge in global terrorism, wars and all manner of political conflicts. People will, of course, give different interpretations, but if you dig deeper, you realize that the core issues being fought over are matters to do with resource allocation. And you realize that it is climate change that is causing resources to shrink. When resources shrink, people find themselves fighting over the little that is remaining on the table.

The Three Most Important Things We Can Do to Minimize Negative Climate Change

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk on climate change. A lot of literature has been churned out on this topic. The scientists are able to pore through such literature, and from it, find the information they need to combat climate change. But ordinary people don’t have the time, energy or inclination to trawl through such literature, looking for info on how to combat climate change. Ordinary people want summaries, with simple practical tips on how to minimize negative climate change. Aware of that fact, I decided to write this short article, in which I will be outlining the three most important things that can be done in that regard. That is, the three most important things we can do, to minimize negative climate change.

Firstly, to minimize negative climate change, we need to get all members of the society to really know and understand the concept of climate change. You realize that there are many people who don’t understand the concept of climate change, and how it is likely to affect them. They are eve less informed about the roles they can play, as individuals, to minimize negative climate change. Therefore, there has to be an educational campaign (a sustained one), to help the members of the public in this regard.

Secondly, to minimize negative climate change, we need to switch from ‘dirty’ sources of energy. We really have to. Admittedly, this is a difficult suggestion to implement. The dirty sources of energy tend to be cheap. And nations need cheap energy, to prosper. Therefore getting them to switch from dirty energy, you will encounter difficulties. But if you can get them to appreciate just how much of a threat climate change is, perhaps you will have much less of a challenge. That is, much less of a challenge convincing them to switch from dirty energy sources.

Thirdly (and related to the second point above), we need to move towards clean energy. There are no two ways about it. Clean energy sources may not be as cheap as the alternatives. But when you consider climate change, and its likely impact in the long-run, you come to one conclusion. You come to the conclusion that the switch from dirty sources of energy to clean energy sources is a well justified move, whatever the cost.