The Age of Consequences
November 5, 2007
In August 2007, a Russian adventurer descended 4,300 meters under the thinning ice of th North Pole to plant a titanium flag, claiming some 1.2 million square kilometers of the Arctic for mother Russia. Not to be outdone, the Prime Minister of Canada stated his intention to boost his nation’s military presence in the Arctic, with the stakes raised by the recent discovery that the icy Northwest Passage has become navigable for the first time in recorded history. Across the globe, the spreading desertification in the Darfur region has been compounding the tensions between nomadic herders and agrarian farmers, providing the environmental backdrop for genocide. In Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the risk of coastal flooding is growing and could leave some 30 million people searching for higher ground in a nation already plagued by political violence and a growing trend toward Islamist extremism. Neighboring India is already building a wall along its border with Bangladesh. More hopefully, the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a clear recognition that global warming poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well.