Ukraine and Palestine as Nature’s Harbingers

Carcass of a farm animal in Kenya’s drought. Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT), Creative Commons

Even amid shocking news events, we ignore at our peril the larger reality of what is happening to our world, warns Chris Wood in his Natural Security column. Excerpt:

More than on most days, the handcart in which we are all riding toward a very unpleasant destination feels like we’re maybe in sight of the station. Even for a hardened student of the headlines, the human tragedies in the Ukraine and Palestine are sorrowful to contemplate.

And yet necessary, too. They confront us not only with the human reality of the moment but also, stripped of their context and backstories, the end that awaits millions more of us across much of the world. 

That is because it is no longer possible to imagine a future that is consistent with the observed declines of such critical natural supplies as safe water, fertile soil and a living ocean, that does not also imply vast and widespread mortality — either from the direct effects of drought and flood and storm, or from military violence as peoples compete for the dwindling essentials of life.

In fact, we are already surrounded by the deaths we have unleashed, both literal ones and the figurative irrecoverable loss of what it takes to live a tolerable existence: homes, families, livelihoods. By one estimate, three times as many human lives were lost to the consequences of climate change on July 17, as to the attack on Malaysia’s ill-fated jet … read more (subscription*).

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A few words about an old friend

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