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The Unseen Trigger Behind Human Tragedies

Posted: 01.03.2017 no comments


Read the full article online at http://www.takepart.com


climate-change-connections“Syria’s civil war and mass exodus has become, to many global citizens, another source of compassion fatigue. But before it was a war zone, it was the cradle of civilization, with marvelous ruins at Palmyra, Bosra, and Krak de Chevaliers bearing the marks of myriad cultures; Damascus and Aleppo were cosmopolitan and comfortable. So how did it descend into turmoil? While the roots of political conflict are complex, Syria was tipped into war by a number of surprising factors. The country was flooded with more than 1 million Iraqi refugees from the U.S.-led war, a situation that was causing Syrians severe economic stress. At the same time, the worst drought in at least 500 years had begun. In Syria, climate change was a catalyst for war. And the country isn’t alone. Climate change is the hidden trigger for a range of human crises.


Experts are careful to couch climate change as a “threat multiplier,” as the Department of Defense called it in 2014, not a direct cause of human dramas. Climate change is melting glaciers and raising sea levels; causing more frequent and extreme floods, droughts, and heat waves; turning the oceans more acidic; and degrading soil and air quality. As natural systems change, crops fail, wildfires burn hotter, energy blackouts increase, giant storms destroy cities, and infectious diseases break out more frequently. These stressors amplify tensions in “regions with weak governance, poor living conditions, or persistent conflict that limit the capacity of governments and societies to cope with additional stress,” according to the Defense Department report. Below, we examine climate change’s far-reaching and often unseen consequences, from conflict, terrorism, and mass migration to child marriage and disease.”


Read the full article online at http://www.takepart.com