Our planet is facing numerous threats to our way of being. Chief among the threats is climate change. The United Nations has declared that it is a “security imperative” to tackle climate change because inaction will lead to such black swan events as social and political upheavals. conflict and threaten populations and countries.
Adding to the issue of climate change is the projected rise in the world’s population to 9 billion people. Population pressures increases global food demand; this at a time when the planet is facing an environmental crisis brought on largely by climate change. For many of us in Canada it means the dwindling of polar ice. For poor countries, climate change translates into declining crop yields, falling grain reserves, soaring prices and food riots. More research funding is required to develop drought and flood resistant crops.
History has shown that insecurity over food and water can be a trigger for conflicts and civil wars. Case in point: over 35 years ago, the Israeli government diverted water away from Palestinian farmland to serve Jewish settlements; the resultant conflict is ongoing. A country’s ability to feed its citizens confers state legitimacy. Access to health care and rule of law, and the building of civil society institutions for citizens to have their voices heard also have a positive impact on a country’s political legitimacy, and hence, global security. Social disruptions such as famine or drought can lead to political upheaval. Social and political upheavals can be Black Swan events if we failed to predict and plan for them.