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How Climate Change Worsened Violence in Syria

Environment  (tags: world, politics, food security, water, humans, environment, ecosystems, climate-change, government )

- 1900 days ago -
In October 2010, just months before a Tunisian street vendor self-immolated and sparked what would become the Arab Spring, a prolonged drought was turning Syria's verdant farmland into dust.

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Past Member (0)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:32 am
Interesting article.

lee e (114)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 9:46 am
Climate change effects every aspect of life on the planet - another aspect here sadly noted

Philip Heinlein (474)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:03 pm
How does climate change play into civil unrest? Where does it rank compared to other violence-causing factors?

Caitlin Werrell: We use the term "threat multiplier" or "accelerant of instability," in the sense that climate change can exacerbate other threats to national or international security. The way it does that is often through water: You have an increased prevalence of drought or floods or changing rainfall patterns, and what this does is it changes your ability to grow food, it has impacts on food security, it influences your ability to produce energy, it influences your infrastructure.

Philip Heinlein (474)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:06 pm
Drought is not something new, and people for thousands of years have been dealing with how do you survive in very arid regions. What is new is the rate of change, how long these droughts are lasting, the intensity of the drought. So to some degree, people in these regions are best-equipped to deal with water scarcity, but a lot of times these changes are very different from the floods and droughts of yesterday.

In Syria, prior to the unrest that eventually exploded into revolution and armed conflict, Syria had experienced an unprecedented drought, lasting about five years. In 2011, NOAA produced a report showing that the Mediterranean littoral and the Middle East had significant drought conditions that were directly related to climate change. And then we found some reporting that had been done over the course of the drought which were showing that in Syria the drought, connected with natural resource mismanagement by the Assad regime, had led to a mass exodus, rural-to-urban migration, as farmers lost their livelihood. The UN estimated that about 800,000 people in Syria during the course of the drought had their livelihoods entirely destroyed. In the run-up to the unrest in Syria, a lot of international security analysts, even on the eve of the exploding unrest, had determined that Syria was generally a stable country, and that it was immune to social unrest and immune to the Arab Spring. It was clear that there were some stresses underneath the surface, and those migrations that we're talking about, internal migrations, also put pressure on urban areas that were already economically stressed, and that was added on top of refugees that had been coming in from Iraq since the US invasion.

Philip Heinlein (474)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 5:08 pm
Talk about connecting the dots. Certainly we can connect them and conclude that climate change is real. But this article is talking about an entirely different connection.

Prolonged drought leads to both water scarcity and food scarcity. Conflict and unrest can't be far behind.

This is the brave new world we are facing.

Magdika Cecilia Perez (131)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 11:53 pm
thank you!

Magdika Cecilia Perez (131)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 11:53 pm
thank you!

Robert O (12)
Friday March 8, 2013, 12:58 am

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Friday March 8, 2013, 1:59 am

PlsNoMessage se (588)
Friday March 8, 2013, 4:03 am

Many Feathers (139)
Friday March 8, 2013, 6:21 am
it does take alot to have violence erupt...

Elizabeth M (65)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 1:11 pm
This is a very interesting article. Thank You for posting Cal.
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