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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Let us start first with a Thomas Friedman article-conclusion first!

If you ask “what are the real threats to our security today,” said Lester Brown of The Earth Policy Institute, “at the top of the list would be climate change, population growth, water shortages, rising food prices and the number of failing states in the world.

As that list grows, how many failed states before we have a failing global civilization, and everything begins to unravel?”

Hopefully, we won’t go there. But, then –

we should all remember that quote attributed to Leon Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”   —- Well, you may not be interested in climate change, but climate change is interested in you.

Folks, this is not a hoax. We and the Arabs need to figure out — and fast — more ways to partner to mitigate the environmental threats where we can and to build greater resiliency against those where we can’t. Twenty years from now, this could be all that we’re talking about.

Please go to the link for a very interesting article that tells us that the Arab Spring did happen in part because of the lack of attention to climate change on the part of government officials that were racking it all in to themselves – those official rapists of their countries.

Thomas Friedman is not the only one asking why Arab Spring now, and why the Arab World has not produced any democracies like other Islamic Countries – non-Arabs – actually did. Why is there no Arab State like Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Bangladesh? This last version of the Question was posed by Fareed Zakaria on today’s CNN/GPS show.

Seemingly – all Arab States that are within the huge North-Africa Middle-East area of the Arab conquests in the 12th and 13th Centuries have no real Civil Society. In all these States the economy is run by the people of the ruling Monarchy or by those close to the Government.
The people as such were kept low by an alliance of the rulers with the heads of the religion and the goal of this alliance was to fight another religious group – and here comes in the military that is completely loyal to the ruling power that is also the economy’s leader. This kind of socio-economic system did neither allow for the development of a meaningful Civil Society, nor a really forward looking Middle Class.

To above obervation by Fareed Zakaria we see the add-on by Thomas Friedman:  “The Arab awakening was driven not only by political and economic stresses, but, less visibly, by environmental, population and climate stresses as well. If we focus only on the former and not the latter, we will never be able to help stabilize these societies.”

Thomas Friedman tells us of draught in Syria and North Africa and how this draught pushed the societal lid and was part of the reason for this present day upheaval.

And a Warning – 12 of the world’s 15 most water-scarce countries — Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Israel and Palestine — are in the Middle East, and after three decades of explosive population growth these countries are “set to dramatically worsen their predicament.

Then think also about the observatio – “Alot more mouths to feed with less water than ever. As Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of “World on the Edge,” notes, 20 years ago, using oil-drilling technology, the Saudis tapped into an aquifer far below the desert to produce irrigated wheat, making themselves self-sufficient. But now almost all that water is gone, and Saudi wheat production is, too. So the Saudis are investing in farm land in Ethiopia and Sudan, but that means they will draw more Nile water for irrigation away from Egypt, whose agriculture-rich Nile Delta is already vulnerable to any sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.


The Link to Thomas Friedman:  www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/opinion/sunday/friedman-the-other-arab-spring.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120408

by Thomas Fuchs

The Other Arab Spring.

By , Published in The New York Times  April 7, 2012 as an OP-ED Column.

ISN’T it interesting that the Arab awakening began in Tunisia with a fruit vendor who was harassed by police for not having a permit to sell food — just at the moment when world food prices hit record highs? And that it began in Syria with farmers in the southern village of Dara’a, who were demanding the right to buy and sell land near the border, without having to get permission from corrupt security officials? And that it was spurred on in Yemen — the first country in the world expected to run out of water — by a list of grievances against an incompetent government, among the biggest of which was that top officials were digging water wells in their own backyards at a time when the government was supposed to be preventing such water wildcatting? As Abdelsalam Razzaz, the minister of water in Yemen’s new government, told Reuters last week: “The officials themselves have traditionally been the most aggressive well diggers. Nearly every minister had a well dug in his house.”

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