Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The violence of climate change feeds potential for human violence

Ferguson is no different than Gaza or Syria: it is a Mecca for disaffection. And like those other sites, the inherent injustices are circumstantially fueled.
I find it both heart-breaking and mentally exhausting to try to understand the conflicts we see around the world now. I am not alone. It seems difficult for even the most sophisticated people to layer the complex sources and consequences of the imbalances that lead to chaos. The geopolitics, biogeography and local demographics need to be separately teased apart and viewed dispassionately, at a time when few of us have the skills or even the incentive to take that on. That, however, is the task ahead for us all. It is a good one for ecological art. 

My previous research on correlating climate change and conflict zones gives me a modest head start. In terms of correlating observations between Ferguson, Gaza and Syria, besides being on similar meridians, they share what Dr. Jim White & I analyzed in "Trigger Points/ Tipping Points," for "Weather Report," for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007: that conflict zones will follow climate change hot spots. Geopolitically, as biogeographically, the chaos of disruption will eliminate the previously balanced competitive system and the role/ functions of many species/ human groups in that previous system. Other species/ groups will be reduced because the interactions shift dramatically. If we consider the principles of island biogeography that contend a steady intake outtake flow will sustain a measure of equilibrium, then we can observe how the equilibrium of previous ecosystems will end. The result on the biological level is the collapse of ecosystem biodiversity. In human terms, this means war.

What I am curious about in Ferguson, is whether the best minds can help another self-organization emerge rather than the descent into increasing anguish we are witnessing? As in the Middle East, these conflagrations are irresistible opportunities for invasive elements, whether you call them instigators, ISIS or European green crabs. 

The tragic mistake I fear, is the probability that the imminent socio-political goal is order for it's own sake rather than combining due process with the needed global macro approach I foresee as necessary. Without the macro view, I believe we will continue to see these kinds of disruptions escalate, proliferate and destroy civilization as we know it.

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