Global Environmental Change and Human Security

Research is being done at environmental schools at colleges and universities around the world on the topic of environmental change and how it impacts human security. This research broadens the traditional concept of security into one that accounts for how people are affected when their environment changes.

Most people think of security as how well you can protect something or defend it. That’s generally true, but it’s only one way to look at it. Another way is to include larger communities in the discussion. For example, the people in a country are generally safer if the country is not at war with another country.

The concept of human security within the context of environmental change is a topic that spans many different areas of research. It requires collaboration between experts in climate change, economics, politics and societal behavior. It is an incredibly challenging task to determine how the polar ice caps melting could impact resources that are necessary for survival in various parts of the world. Add in the impact that politics has on trying to keep those ice caps from melting and it gets even more complicated very quickly.

If more research is focused on environmental change and how it affects human security, we can make better decisions and be more prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.

Should climate change research be available to the public?

Most climate change research is done with government funding through a grant of some sort or another. The idea being that governments can make informed decisions when it comes to environmental policy if they invest in research that gets them climate data.

Well, governments that operate in democratic countries are elected by their constituents and are held accountable to them. One way that government is held accountable is by making government records available to the general public. These are called public records and they cover a wide range of government topics and activities. Having this information publicly available makes government more transparent and helps to foster trust among the citizens of a country and their leaders.

A great example of this system at work is the Texas Public Information Act. The law mandates open access to public records in Texas for anyone that files the appropriate request. This applies to both local and state governments. Reading through the posts on the site above makes it clear that there are some issues with making records public. You have to keep some government information private such as things that might compromise security. Sometimes the cost of responding to records requests can be burdensome but the end result is that Texas has one of the most accountable and transparent governments in the country.

So the question is should climate change research be available as public records? This would certainly create a lot more trust in climate change research. Right now, you have two sides that are vehemently opposed to each other. You have the alarmists on one side and the skeptics on another. The whole issue of climate change has become a political war. Shouldn’t it instead be a scientific issue? Making climate change research publicly available would certainly increase transparency.

There have been some big bombshells when it comes to climate change research. In November of 2009, hackers exposed emails that showed that researchers modified climate data. In January of 2014, Steven Goddard found some troubling issues with NOAA data on global temperatures.

These discoveries help fuel an anti-climate change fire and create large numbers of skeptics. If all climate change research were publicly available, then these discoveries would simply be a natural part of the scientific process.

Will global warming cause more wars?

An article presented to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2009 determined that more wars will occur in Africa if global temperatures continue to rise.

The article was a collaboration between Marshall B. Burke and several other [Read more…]