Climate change a threat to world peace, too

June 17, 2014 

0615_BRLO_climatechange

High tide on Anna Maria Island encroaches on homes and may give a visual glimpse of how higher water levels may affect the island during a possible climate change in the future. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald

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The staff of life is the stuff of war.

I was once told by a wise man who was proficient in many languages that the root of the Hebrew word for war was "bread," or, more generally, food.

Mankind has historically fought wars over who gets the bread, especially when there's not sufficient "bread" around for all or when one group seeks to control who gets the bread and to withhold it from others.

President Obama gave a speech at the West Point Military Academy and spoke about our ongoing war on terrorism and an initiative to ask Congress to fund counterterrorism aid to those countries afflicted with terrorist activities.

But I'm sure the president recognizes that terrorism is not only about the bad guys but also about the bad conditions, failed states unable or unwilling to protect or feed their entire populations and beset by internal political, ethnic, religious and economic differences and disparities.

The president also recognizes, as reflected in his interview with Tom Friedman, New York Times journalist, that climate change is going to exacerbate these tensions as the effects of a warming and over-carbonized world wreaks havoc on our natural resources, which support our economies and our biosphere.

This is the larger context of "war" over bread. And it can't be fought with drones or soldiers.

In this sense, the president's climate initiative is a peace offer to the world so we won't have to fight wars over bread in the future.

Larry Grossman

Longboat Key

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