Climate change must be confronted
I am writing to express my thoughts about our country’s national security policy as it pertains to the issue of global climate change.
I recently read Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and although there were many policies which Mrs. Clinton states, and I agree, should be priorities for “anchoring a more peaceful and prosperous world” and “putting American leadership on a firm foundation for decades to come,” there was one issue that was largely absent from this address. This issue, of course, was global climate change. Mrs. Clinton’s first four priorities go into great depth on the topics of our foreign conflicts and the great costs associated with them: efforts to build strong networks in the Asian Pacific, our engagement with the dynamic Arab world, and economic statecraft. It is during her description of her fifth priority, “elevating development,” that she mentions climate change as an issue worth addressing.
I believe that the issue of climate change deserves more than just a bullet point beneath another heading. During the past few decades, we have finally gained the technology and knowledge to recognize the stresses that our society puts on the planet. As a nation, we have a tendency to think about the short-term rewards as opposed to the long-term consequences. In the case of global warming, these consequences will not only be felt locally but by people all around the world. As each of the five priorities that Mrs. Clinton addressed in her testimony focus on American leadership and “anchoring a peaceful and prosperous world,” I am certain that it is time for us Americans to step up and lead the fight against global climate change. Climate change is a global security issue, and as we strive to anchor this peaceful and prosperous world, we must truly make this issue a top priority for the benefit of our planet.
Global climate change will affect the world in many ways that we can predict and, undoubtedly, many more ways that we cannot. We know that as ice sheets melt due to climate change, the level of the oceans will rise. Also, we know that increased climatic variability will lead to reduced crop output as precipitation becomes less dependable. We know that heat waves and droughts will occur more frequently and that biomes will change, causing species to relocate into new habitats, including those which carry diseases like malaria. Economies around the world that depend on agriculture will be hit hard with the loss of arable land as a result of sea levels rising, and with the increase of crop failure due to unfavorable growing conditions. As a consequence, economies that rely on international trade will suffer, not only stunting the involved economies but depleting food resources as well.
These are issues that most Americans are familiar with. Global climate change is not a new concept; nor is it the “theory” it was a decade ago. Global warming is inevitable, and it is up to us as the world’s anchor to lead the way in changing a culture that lives for today and ignores the consequences of tomorrow. It is time for every American to become educated on the issues that will affect the future of everybody. Information is out there. Websites like www.climate101.org, epa.gov and climate.nasa.gov are wonderful resources which everybody should look at. Our leaders must use their charisma and rhetorical skill to convince the general public to make global climate change a national security priority. Global climate change should be addressed in our schools so that the future generations will have the information they need to make the decision to work towards a better future. Stopping global climate change is crucial to our efforts to anchor a peaceful and prosperous world.
Kevin Tyler lives in Vermontville.