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CLIMATE CHANGE AND VIOLENCE July 10, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
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Polluting the atmosphere has violent consequences, and thus represent violence against human beings and other life on Earth.

But then again why should any value be placed on biodiversity, other than for sentimental reasons? Why place a value on biodiversity over the suffering of human beings? The simplest answer is that without flora and fauna we humans would have nothing other to eat, to produce oxygen, and often to form the medicines we need to overcome ailments. Other than servicing human needs and wants the non-human world might be considered to have no value.

Michelle Chen at Common Dreams describes the third world displacement of people caused, it is suggested, by climate change. She writes:

Over the next few decades, tens of millions of people will be driven from their homes. Braving violence and poverty, they’ll roam desperately across continents and borders in search of work and shelter. Unlike other refugees, though, their plight won’t be blamed simply on the familiar horrors of war or persecution; they’ll blame the weather.

If you haven’t heard about the rising tide of environmental migrants, that’s because throngs of displaced black and brown people don’t evoke the same public sympathy as photos of polar bear cubs. The governments of rich industrialized nations will scramble to shut the gates on the desperate hordes with the same self-serving efficiency with which they’ve long ignored the social, ecological and economic consequences of their prosperity. But both efforts at blissful ignorance will fail, because climate change is forcing society to confront the mounting natural and man-made disasters on the horizon.

In 2010, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “more than 90 percent of all disasters and 65 percent of associated economic damages were weather and climate related (i.e. high winds, flooding, heavy snowfall, heat waves, droughts, wildfires). In all, 874 weather and climate-related disasters resulted in 68,000 deaths and $99 billion in damages worldwide.”

The climate change deniers will have now to come up with a new epithet to throw at those accept the science of global warming, either on the balance of scientific assessment or critical evaluation of the evidence. “Alarmist” does not quite describe the situation in which it is foreseen that many millions of human beings will become displaced and desperate by consequences of extreme weather events and other effects of climate change. As always violence will simply compound the problems, increasing the costs and making solutions more difficult, if not impossible.

Michelle Chen is perhaps correct in that the rich will find no reason to help the poor, and when the non-human world is destroyed the planet will be uninhabitable by human beings.

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