It seems inappropriate to let Armistice Day pass without taking note of the fact that most of the severe catastrophes humanity has faced have been associated in some way with war, and that war invariably makes matters worse in the aggregate, though it sometimes makes matters better for the victor.
And war is not unconnected to our sustainability issues.
From an article by Michael T. Klare, coiner of the expression “resource wars”:
In a major London address, British Defense Secretary John Reid warned that global climate change and dwindling natural resources are combining to increase the likelihood of violent conflict over land, water and energy. “The blunt truth is that the lack of water and agricultural land is a significant contributory factor to the tragic conflict we see unfolding in Darfur,” he declared. “We should see this as a warning sign.”
Military superiority may provide an illusion of advantage in the coming struggles over vital resources, but it cannot protect us against the ravages of global climate change. Although we may be somewhat better off than the people in Haiti and Mexico, we, too, will suffer from storms, drought and flooding. As our overseas trading partners descend into chaos, our vital imports of food, raw materials and energy will disappear as well. True, we could establish military outposts in some of these places to ensure the continued flow of critical materials—but the ever-increasing price in blood and treasure required to pay for this will eventually exceed our means and destroy us. Ultimately, our only hope of a safe and secure future lies in substantially reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases and working with the rest of the world to slow the pace of global climate change.