The Climactic Threat of Climate

J. J. Baloch

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Eyeing the climactic threat of climate violence from the standpoint of policing sounds inevitable for the peace preparedness in times ahead. The leading threat to human security emanates not from the weapons of mass destruction or nukes that the government’s claim to have control, but instead, it is more likely to originate from the climate change that appears to be beyond the control of human power. However, human wit and experience can delay the decay through working and investing in the preservation of nature. The planet earth that claims to support life through its natural resources tends to transform into un-liveability due to imbalances caused by overpopulation and the extreme consumptive habits and trends.

Police as the agency of the protection and peace should make the fair idea of how climatic change is going to impact human behaviour regarding “human security” in the society and on the planet. The job of a police officer is very much trickier as he or she has to predict the violence. Predicting the possibilities of violence enables the officer to prepare for the crisis. As the police are not directly responsible for so many things that one way or the other affect public safety and social peace but due to their relative relationship, the officers have to be alive and sensitised towards everything that is likely to affect the peace and the life, liberty and property of the citizenry. The disturbances caused by extreme temperatures and natural disasters to the populations result in homelessness, death, displacement, disabilities, loss of family members and destruction of family/community economy. It is not too late that the scientists, politicians, Practioner government officials and policy experts should join together “to connect the dots between the climate change and the human conflicts” and violence in the society. “Among the many threats associated with climate change, deteriorating global security may be the most frightening of all”[1]

The research carried out in the field of climatic imbalances is suggestive of the fact that the agencies of peace must be alive to the possibilities of misbalancing everything human and everything social in the future societies. According to the revelations made by the scientists studying climate, “the impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent mostly in the most populous and the most misgoverned countries. Pakistan stands in the front line of the most likely victims of climatic disasters.  The studies further warning about the possibilities of social upheavals in the current year 2018.

“The biggest thing missing is an explicit attribution of the cause of global climate disruption. Scientists have largely ruled out any natural explanation, concluding that the human release of greenhouse gases explains all the warming that has occurred since the 19th century. The two great culprits are the burning of fossil fuels and the chopping down of forests.”

It is very heart-sickening that Pakistan pays a little head to climatic changes that involve natural disasters. In the 21st century, Pakistan has been witnessing severe natural disasters. The examples of the 2005 earthquake and 2010-11 floods are worth mentioning. Many analysts ascribe the problems of the meteoric rise of violence in our society as a result of the displacement caused by the natural disasters. The massive internal migrations and demographic boom coupled with the ill-planned and unregulated growth of cities and negligence of rural economies in Pakistan complicate the development process in the country. From per acre yield and the industrial productions to the energy generation, everything gets slower and slower.

Pakistan floods

The coastal region of Pakistan experiences severe environmental challenges. The issues rising the level of seawater, depletion of land fertility due to increasing water scarcity will go a long way in fuelling internal as well as regional problems with neighbouring countries, most probably with India due to ongoing water tensions linked with the final status of the Kashmir valley. Indian occupation of Muslim Majority Kashmir valley is the constant source of trouble and violence in the region. The uncertain political status of Jammu and Kashmir has left both the countries at the loggerheads with each other. Indian presence in Kashmir also threatens Pakistan as well as the Kashmir’s, and therefore the future of violence seems to the brighter in this region and the trends of extremism and radicalisation are sure to be fed by the atrocities that India unleashes on the innocent Kashmiris.

The water issue is also linked directly with Kashmir and control on the waters coming from Kashmir allows the strategic upper hand to India and deprives Pakistani people of availing the water to support their earning and livelihood. Many geopolitical experts fear that the water scarcity is the primary driver of the violent conflicts “in many parts of the world including Syria” and Yemen, India and Pakistan and many other countries. The political stalwarts believe the “control of water supplies is being used as a weapon of war” by many nations. “Water scarcity, compounded by gaps in cooperative management agreements for nearly half of the world’s international river basins, and new unilateral dam development is likely to heighten tension between countries.” Besides this, the underground water levels are always going down in Pakistan and many other regions on the planet.

The presence of foreign refugees in Pakistan is a source of grave concern for peace builders. The people from Burma, Bangladesh, Iran and Afghanistan are illegally living in Pakistan due to the displacement as a result of the war in their home countries. Their presence is problematic not in the sense of their being a burden on the exchequer but because of the explosive cultural values that conflict with the traditional culture of Indus saga. Moreover, the concentration of foreigners in Karachi is another source of rising violence in Karachi and its vicinities. The presence of refugees is dangerous from all issues and needs to be fixed forthwith by sending all immigrants to their home countries. The deportation will significantly affect the levels of violence in our society.

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The global warming due to the scarcity of natural resources results in social disruptions. The earth keeps warming and getting hotter to the hottest during the last one century due to the expansion technology that disrupts nature and uncontrolled growth in population. The former century has been the warmest century in human civilisation, and the scientist fears the 21st century would break the records. “Extreme weather events in a warmer world have the potential for greater impacts and can compound with other drivers to raise the risk of humanitarian disasters, conflict, water and food shortages, population migration, labour shortfalls, price shocks, and power outages. Research has not identified indicators of tipping points in climate-linked Earth systems, suggesting a possibility of abrupt climate change.” In Pakistan, the scarcity of water, rainfall, rising temperatures, melting of ice in the Himalayas and rapid population growth indicate the severity of the problem. Scarcity and poverty were born with violence in the hell, and both are perpetuating in Pakistan as eternal guarantees for the prevalence of violence in our society.

The scarcity of resources accompanied by the poverty and bad governance are proven best hosts of the violence in any society. Pakistani society in the second decade of the 21st century presents the welcoming mood to violence, extremism and intolerance. Draught, hunger and unemployment could help the facilitators of violence. It has been my own experience dealing with the crime and criminals that two significant factors lead people to go violent and break the law or cultural barriers. The conditions of survival become so harsh that even moral bastions loose appeal to the people who can kill and die just for peanuts. The story of the suicide bombing in Pakistan and the study of the family backgrounds of the suicide bombers uncovers that the problem is least ideological and religious and the best economic and social.

The conditions of economic recession, resource scarcity, illiteracy, unemployment and weak writ of the government always end up in uncontrolled political instability which presently prevails in Pakistan. The political instability is the benchmark of the fragile political system and unappealing political ideologies with mediocre political leadership who never adjust their kingly lifestyles within the limits of the law. As a result, everyone living side by side these leaders claim impunity as their intrinsic right. Government efforts to enforce law and discipline cause serious trouble and lead to conflict and violence in the society.  Despite the state-of-the-art National Action Plan, our government is still struggling to implement it.

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The NAP is the collection of temporary measures. If we want to control violence in Pakistan, we will have to deal with the issues of pollution, health and illness, criminal justice reforms, the rule of law culture and better transparency in procedures. “Worsening air pollution from forest burning, agricultural waste incineration, urbanisation, and rapid industrialisation — with increasing public awareness — might drive protests against authorities, such as those recently in China, India, and Iran.”

However, still worrying is the fact that “scientists are not entirely sure how much the rate of extinction has sped up because of human activities, but they do think it has accelerated. Some of them fear that we have entered the early stages of what will become the sixth mass extinction of organisms in Earth’s history.” The crisis like natural disasters and displacement coupled with poverty and poor standards of living lacking the availability of necessities of the life compound the problem of violence in the society. Being fed up with the dangerous and challenging conditions of life, the people resort to violent means to get their day-to-day thing done.

The present culture of Dharnas, cyber hate rates, intolerance, spreading extremism, terrorism and political as well as ethnic militancy speak volumes of how environment, whether it is climatic, economic, socio-cultural, sectarian and political, affects the levels of violence in Pakistan. If the challenges of “accelerating biodiversity and species loss — driven by pollution, warming, unsustainable fishing, and acidifying oceans go unchecked and uncontrolled, the climate change so resulted will jeopardise vital ecosystems that support critical human systems and further increase the current extinction rate is 100 to 1,000 times the natural extinction rate”.

The bottom line remains that the violence in Pakistani society is destined to increase because everything rich in violence is growing unchecked in Pakistan. The best solution to the problem of violence in our society is ensured good governance based on the fundamental principle of meritocracy, democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and pluralism. Right policies always come from good leaders and troubled societies have the history of producing outstanding leaders. The leaders always darken the future of violence.

“Climate change is causally associated with collective violence, generally in combination with other causal factors. Increased temperatures and extremes of precipitation with their associated consequences, including resultant scarcity of cropland and other key environmental resources, are major pathways by which climate change leads to collective violence. Public health professionals can help prevent collective violence due to climate change by supporting mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by promoting adaptation measures to address the consequences of climate change and to improve community resilience, and by addressing underlying risk factors for collective violence, such as poverty and socioeconomic disparities[2].”

The scientists feel frightened on the brightest future of climate violence in the world. Owing to the hostile posture of the climate, human security through human-made measures like the law, the government and the society finds it entirely novel to deal with the challenges of mighty nature through artificial and unnatural methods. The scientists of peace should innovate the solutions for better and reliable human security in times to come.

The Writer is a novelist, a senior police officer and an alumnus of London school of economics, London, UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Weathering the violence of climate change by dated 16 August 2017 published in Inter-FLOOD Asia, Eco-Business available at http://www.eco-business.com/opinion/weathering-the-violence-of-climate-change/

[2] Climate Change and Collective Violence, Annual Review of Public Health, Vol.38:241-257, March 2017, School of Medicine Tufts University, Massachusetts available at https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031816-044232 and retrieved on 6th April 2018

 

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Author: PublicPolicyInsights

With MSc Criminal Justice Policy from London School of Economics, London, UK, J. J Baloch has 20 years of work experience. He has worked in National Bank of Pakistan as officer grade 2 from 1995 to 2000. From 2000 till date He is working at Police Service of Pakistan. As an author he has published three books: Introduction to sociology, 2000; On the Art of Writing Essays, 2016; and The Power of Social Media & Policing Challenges, 2016. On 17 March 2017 J.J. Baloch is launching his first novel: "Whiter Than White: The Daughter of The Land of Pure" which is being published by Matador publication from the UK. Besides this, he regularly blogs on Google, Facebook. He also writes articles in English newspaper Dawn and also in some other magazines.

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