Archive for the Environmental Security Category

“Here it comes!” “Global warming!” Ahhh!

Posted in Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Popular Culture, Risk & Fear on April 28, 2010 by jessicabarranco

After talking about security, and questions about fear and power, I wanted to share this link with everyone.  This is how I feel about the environment sometimes, so I hope that this episode of South Park will help answer any lingering questions about global warming.

Please enjoy!

Click on: Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow

Episode 908 (Original Air Date: Oct 19, 2005)

A GLOBAL WARMING STATE OF EMERGENCY is declared in South Park. The world’s largest beaver dam breaks and floods the adjacent town of Beaverton. As the victims wait for help to arrive, everyone in South Park tackles priority number one: who is to blame? Only Stan and Cartman know who’s really at fault.

Rescue ME Blondie

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, War with tags , , on April 21, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Punk heroine to the rescue! Beware of blondes and lipgloss

Well, I can’t find the actual comic strip to post… but I did get a kick out of the movie!

Just wanted to pass it on.

T.M.I. (Too Many Issues) in Natural Disasters

Posted in Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Rhetoric on April 15, 2010 by Rita

This is my last blog and I feel somewhat slacking in my responsibilities. Yet, on the other hand, I am struggling with this week’s topic: Natural Disasters.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what Natural Disasters are and as you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve thought of at least a dozen recent Natural Disasters. I know that I could have inserted copious numbers of videos illustrating examples of this week’s topic but I felt it would be trite.

I have never been in a Natural Disaster yet, I can empathize with those who have and survived. Reading Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell and the article, “We Know This Place”: Neoliberal Racial Regimes and the Katrina Circumstance by Jordan T. Camp and the constant reference to Sunni Patterson’s poem, We Know This Place, I literally cannot grasp the topics discussed and I honestly do not understand where the authors are coming from.

An example of being unable to wrap my mind around these topics is Sunni Patterson’s relating how the citizens of the Ninth Ward (predominantly poor blacks) in New Orleans were mistreated after hurricane Katrina is in direct relation to the days of slavery. Maybe its my naive nature but I never thought of the issues raised by the authors.

A Natural Disaster is horrendous and we all realize that the media cannot and the vast majority do not report without an agenda or bias, so it is no surprise when listening or watching the news that only what has “shock value” and/or looks “good” on camera is reported on.

I don’t understand why these authors and the communities devastated by disasters feel/believe that their governments must rush in and save them. Is it actually written in any of the constitutions of the governments of the world?

I guess for me knowing how the U.S. government has behaved in the wake of Natural Disasters in this country and how it has treated it’s citizens makes it crystal clear that it cannot and should not be relied upon in a community’s time of need.

“Natural” disasters

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters on April 14, 2010 by rudweiser

It’s understandable that humans have always placed the blame of natural disasters on external forces completely out of our control. We can’t even begin to conceive the possibility that something so radical, something believed to be solely caused by natural cycles on Earth, could be triggered by human activity. It’s not only wrong to think we don’t play a role, but pure ignorance to not consider ourselves as a factor. Earth’s environment is incredibly fragile and can easily be manipulated through the seemingly smallest activities of humans (i.e. burning fossil fuels, introducing alien species, oil drilling, etc). The real trouble arises when we try to change the environment to suit our needs rather than adapting to it. As we try to manipulate it to conserve our current lifestyle, unforeseen consequences are inevitable as we change Earth’s natural ways.

Adapting to the natural environment or ourselves?

How about our on-going race to secure resources? Everything from mining, logging to solar panels and hydro-electricity are being utilized to capture energy and will be used more extensively as the population continues to grow. These are all unnatural and have adverse effects on the natural environment, another way of changing it to our needs.

Three Gorges Dam

According to National Geographic, the Three Gorges Dam could hold enough water that the weight could tilt the Earth approximately 2 to 3 degrees. What effects could this have on the climate? How this climate shift effect natural disasters?

It’s difficult for me to have an optimistic look on the future. We are the smartest organisms on Earth, yet we cannot figure out how to adapt like all other organisms. We’ve dug ourselves in so deep with trying to maintain our current way of life that we have made natural disasters unnatural. Complete restructuring of our political and economic systems to adapt to the environment is a utterly perplexing and seems altogether impossible, yet the only permanent solution.

Gotta get Mine

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, War on April 8, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

Through exploring the connections between war and the environment, there seems to be an  overwhelming voice speaking to an escalation of conflict in the interest of securing increasingly diminishing  resources. I think that in carrying on discussion in this area it is important to note that though there seems to be an increase in such conflict, securing environmental resources and conversely using them in war has been an aspect of conflict from the very beginning of war itself. Though technology certainly magnifies the impact and feasibility of environment both as weapon and reason for war.

Geo-political interest in foreign occupation has become just as permanent as the basses we have established.

If securing oil and gas resources is the major motivation for military occupation and national security, why do we put boots on the ground in the name of “Democracy and womens rights”? I suppose the answer is an obvious one, but is securing access to dwindling resources not just? As selfish as it may seem. Not to mention, profitable!

Unrelated to this theme, its interesting to think of Natural disaster being used as a covert weapon. Both in  cause and or response.

Gordan J. F. Macdonald was a visionary professor in Geophysics. In 1968, he wrote a book entitled, “Unless Peace Comes: How to Wreck the Environment.” He writes:

Man already possesses highly effective tools for destruction. Eventually, however, means other than open warfare may be used to secure national advantage. As economic competition among many advanced nations heightens, it may be to a country’s advantage to ensure a peaceful natural environment for itself and a disturbed environment for its competitors. Operations producing such conditions might be carried out covertly, since nature’s great irregularity permits storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tidal waves to be viewed as unusual but not unexpected. Such a ‘secret war’ need never be declared or even known by the affected populations. It could go on for years with only the security forces involved being aware of it. The years of drought and storm would be attributed to unkindly nature and only after a nation were thoroughly drained would an armed take-over be attempted.

This strategy of covert war, coupled with the securing of resources and invasive population control presents an interesting dynamism…

Short Truth of War

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by jessicabarranco

As nature triumphs over wilderness that has been devastated through war, society becomes enamored with the anthropocentric idea that through our actions, nature is given the means to survive.  People live in a constant state of war.  It challenges our assumptions that nature will succeed, regardless of how many people we kill, or how many are impoverished or living in degradation.  It seems that if humans can’t live there, it would be unexpected for any form of life to strive or even flourish.  Why is this the case?

War can be viewed as humanity’s natural state; poor, nasty, brutish and short (Hobbes quoted in Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology).  If the world’s greatest percentage of people fall under these categories of being poor, they must also entail the other qualities as well.  In the chapter on War and Peace, there are a number of civilizations that are in constant, militarized state of war.  In these areas, nature flourishes, even to the extent that in some places, tigers are remediating the clean-up of blood shed and death in combat zones.  “Tigers rapidly move toward gunfire and apparently consume large numbers of battle casualties.” (Environment, p. 230)  Naturally, wildlife is able to find a use for those we find disposable; the dead.  What nature has a hard time surviving is the constant pressure of incessant population growth.  Since we separate ourselves from nature in our mentality, we have this idea to digest: “The worst degradation is generally where the population is highest.  The population is generally highest where the soil is the best.  So we’re degrading earth’s best soil.” (Environment, p. 221)

What role does society play, if the idea of war is natural, and the thought that nature can survive this tension? Western society gives us the false notion that we are secure in our system of government, and that in times of need or chaos, it will step in to mediate the relationship between man and nature.  But at what point are we responsible for our individual role in this relationship?  It is wrong for us to assume that society is maturing in its knowledge of natural systems, and to instead, we should find the means for survival elsewhere.  I suggest an approach similar to Lauren’s ideas for survival from Parable of the Sower.

Civilization is to groups what intelligence is to individuals.  It is a means of combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation.

Civilization, like intelligence, may serve well, serve adequately, or fail to serve its adaptive function.  When civilization fails to serve, it must disintegrate unless it is acted upon by unifying internal or external forces. (Butler, p. 101)

It is up to the individual to recognize his limits.  It cannot be guaranteed that those with the inability to succeed will be protected from the government.  It would be ignorant to wait for a superficial entity to have the answers in times of chaos, when this same structure struggles to unify its people under one system on a daily basis.  As Simon Dalby writes in Environmental Security, “the point is not simply that knowledge is power, but that knowledge and power are imbricated in each other in complex discursive formations…” (p. xxv).

“War can damn Earthly ecosystems to hell.”

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized, War on April 5, 2010 by Rita

     I am honestly torn by my title statement, which was stated by Alan Weisman in, The World Without Us, because on the face of it, war does devastate and yet Nature (make me happy) finds a way. An example is the DMZ in Vietnam where land mines are spread far and wide. Agent Orange used quite liberally and yet flora and fauna are flourishing in this dangerous ecosystem~a safeguard from man, so to speak. Other examples are ship and plane wrecks in the ocean and how Nature adapts and assimilates to this by-product of war.

     Then just as easily, as tossing a coin in the air, you can find: images, stories, videos, documentaries etc showing and illustrating the devastation of areas like Iran/Iraq where Nature has been decimated, forced to oblivion, having had to give up because the organisms cannot thrive, let alone survive.

     Like stated in the class handout, War and Peace, it’s true that:                     

               “Overpopulation and ecological collapse in any one country or region burden the entire world community and the biosphere itself.”

and

“…in the long run, everyone’s prosperity depends on the health of the whole.”

     SO, HOW DO WE CHANGE OUR BEHAVIORS AND FIX THIS?

     Afterall, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity!

     In closing,

                                                                         Love & Take Care,

                                                                                                     Me