Obama is poised to intervene in Syria, morally outraged by the Syrian government's chemical assault on its citizens. What seems at first glance a clear cut moral issue is, from a larger perspective, participation in the global failure cascade of Climate Destabilization. This regional horror is symptomatic of a broader process of global genocide into which we are being drawn.

The political unrest in Syria is rooted in widespread farming failure due to Climate Destabilization.

The crunch came in the context of an intensifying and increasingly regular drought cycle linked to climate change. Between 2002 and 2008, the country's total water resources dropped by half through both overuse and waste.

Once self-sufficient in wheat, Syria has become increasingly dependent on increasingly costly grain imports, which rose by 1m tonnes in 2011-12, then rose again by nearly 30% to about 4m in 2012-13. The drought ravaged Syria's farmlands, led to several crop failures, and drove hundreds of thousands of people from predominantly Sunni rural areas into coastal cities traditionally dominated by the Alawite minority.

The exodus inflamed sectarian tensions rooted in Assad's longstanding favouritism of his Alawite sect – many members of which are relatives and tribal allies – over the Sunni majority. [emphasis mine] source

This is humanity on Climate Destabilization. This is how Climate Destabilization unfolds. As environment resources supporting our lives collapse, preexisting social conflicts explode. Conflict resulting from resource depletion brings out the worst in humanity, as war has always done. War-making is intoxicating. Human "enemies" are easy for our ancient instincts to comprehend, as a focus for our rage. Both sides escalate until one sinks to mass atrocity.

The failure cascade of our planet's climate includes OUR social, political, and psychological responses. What we do in response to a deteriorating environment is an inherent component of the destructive process.

To see only the atrocities, ignoring the environment-based forces that push human beings to commit them, is morally naive. Every one of us is capable of committing atrocity with enough pressure, after years of deteriorating conditions, feeling that we must protect our families, our way of life, and everything we hold dear. When we become hopeless and desperate, we turn into monsters. (See Chris Hedges War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)

Focus on the bottom line. The underlying cause is fossil fuel dependence gradually making our planet uninhabitable. Any military intervention increases fossil fuel use, generating a vicious cycle of its own. It also diverts funds away from clean energy programs.

What is an appropriate moral response?

  • Reframe the issue to focus on what's driving people on both sides of the conflict.  Avoid demonizing and blame.
  • Channel moral outrage on all sides into stopping the underlying process, supporting a global program to switch from fossil fuel to renewables.

It's time to see that "Climate Change" isn't just changes in the air and water, it's "People Change" in the worst sense. Climate Change is People Change! Got it?

Our response to Syria is a critical tipping point. We will either make climate destabilize even faster or channel our outrage constructively. Put another way we will take another step toward being monsters ourselves by trying to rescue perceived victims from perceived enemies, or we'll  take a baby step toward globally responsible mature humanity.

image source(from unrelated topic)


If you want to tell congress that you'll refuse to reelect any member who votes for war on Syria go to Peace Voter Pledge

Tags: Climate Change, Climate Destabilization, Syria, failure cascade, military intervention, moral framing

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Avaaz.org is circulating a petition calling on Obama and Iran's new moderate president Hassan Rouhani to "meet to find a diplomatic path forward that brings all parties to the table to negotiate a ceasefire and peace."

I agree on all you points, Tom Sarbeck.

You make a lot of good points, MB.

Surgical strikes against Assad's military to stop his overall capability? The we just weaken him and the Al Qaeda backed rebels taking over and we have another Afghanistan.

I'm not for giving monsters free reign, but my point is that Climate Destabilization creates monsters and we are not immune.

That sir, FA, is spot on.

ROFL Yes, indeed!

I am also conflicted.  It's almost like "well, THIS time we'll get it right".  It's a morass - the entire middle east. 

I think we had to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.  That was after 911 and they had just killed thousands of AmericansIin our cities and in the sky above us.  They were wealthy and controlled the country.  Our role there should have been, do what had to be done and get out.

The fake-rationale and real war in Iran diverted resources and armies from Afghanistan and Iraq, making both no-win.  

I don't know that, but it's what I think.

I think there are some places where we can make a difference, and some places where we can't.  Remembering the devastation and genocide in Rwanda - we did not step in, when it was obvious what was happening.  I remember, it was in the news at the time.  We should have, then.

But Syria - I don't know.  Senseless murders of countless human beings.  My main questions would be - if we intervene, can we be effective.  At what cost.  And with what benefit.

Mindy, I think our world wide role needs to evolve, with more aimed towards human rights leadership, economic incentives / disincentives, organizing coalitions of countries for a greater good.  We can't be the word's police everywhere.  We also need to provide our own example of human rights and equal opportunity on our own soil.

On the other hand....  I think if the situation calls for it, we morally can't let thousand die if we are legitimately able to help.

...we morally can't let thousand[s] die....

SB, with seven billion (and counting fast) people in our world, we pragmatically can.

Great name!

I hate the idea of us "letting thousands die" too, but I don't think we have the ability to respond that we imagine. The world isn't a simple military game on a stable platform. Responsibility is based on ability to respond. Because the real problem is Climate Destabilization, I see our only moral response to be a serious global effort for green energy.

To imagine that we have the power to respond militarily is naive, it's misunderstanding the situation. Assad's actions are a symptom, not the problem. In my view assuming that military intervention would be helpful is short-sighted and arrogant.

SB, one year after I returned from the Korean War, the US of A overthrew an elected government in Iran and installed a tyrant. We trained his secret police to frighten the Iranian people into obedience. Our CIA about a week ago admitted their part in the overthrow.

From the start I saw 9/11 as a long-delayed payback for decades of our funding tyrants. We didn't care how they treated their own people; we required only that they be anti-communist and send us oil.

"Our" middle-eastern tyrants oppressed the fathers and grandfathers of the men our government calls non-state actors.

Tom, I agree with you 100%. We are not an innocent victim in all this chaos ... we are part of the cause of maintaining and perpetuating the strife in that part of the world. We have to face the facts of the situation instead of deluding ourselves that we are entitled to control other peoples and influence their governments, especially the ways we train and support tyrants. 


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