In my lifetime, the calls of warning about Global Warming/Climate Change began as a few voices. By the time I was in high school in the 1990's, the voices of warning grew louder. Now, in the early part of the 21st century, global Climate Change has become one of the key issues facing the planet today, and is gaining ground as a society-wide fear. Works of Fiction often reflects a society's collective fears. During H.G. Well's time there was a fear of our new technologically understanding failing us,and the new empire of technology and science would collapse into a state of nature. In the 1940's and early 1950's, there was a collective fear of Communism being imposed on Western Civilization by an invasion of the Reds. Once the Soviets and Red Chinese got the bomb, our fears became visions of mushroom clouds, ruined cities, and rats of unusual size. That common fear of a nuclear holocaust lasted until the 1980's, even I had a fear of nuclear war. Coupled with this, was the ever present fear of technology, alien invasion/abduction, and humans of a different skin color. However since the 1960's, science fiction has reflected a growing collective fear, with roots in reality, about global warming/ Climate Change. This only increased with the establishment of Earth Day in 1970. Now, FWS is not a political blog, and I try not to inject my personal religious/political into the subject FWS covers. That being said, the topic of Climate Change is complete flame bait, and I understand that some think that Global Warming is a liberal snow job, but I'm not one. Let me be clear: this blogpost is not about the genesis of Climate Change, if it's man-made or a natural global cycle, but the consequences of Climate Change. So, don't get on my ass or up my ass about your political or religious theory. Save it for another internet outlet. Please comment if you wish to add something to the discussion of how Climate Change (man-made or not) will fuel future wars. Let us move on now to the good stuff.
The Human Race, Climate Change, and Primitive Wars
How Climate Change Fuels Conflicts: TODAY
Vladmir Lenin summed up the resolution of the post-war situation in Russia during the Revolution and the goal of their new government: "Land, Peace, and Bread." While the speech was address issues of landlessness among the workers, ceasing operations in the Great War, and bread for the hungry masses. This old saying could match how Climate Change today is fueling the low-intensity conflicts in Darfur, Somalia, and even the civil war in Syria. As the Earth's temperature rises and rainfall decreases, this directly correlates to a rise in low-intensity conflicts. In these regions, there is lethal combination of increased population growth (especially since there is lack of sex education), drought, crop failure, economic down turn, lack of government involvement. This breeds desperation, and is especially bad in a region where the Avtomat Kalashikova 47 flows freely.
How Climate Change Fuels Conflicts: TOMORROW
Climate Change would make poorer nations more desperate, triggering instability and overall global Climate Change is a "threat multiplier" and could create more failed states that will fester into a breeding ground for terrorism. In the unstable region of Africa, according to article I read by David Biello, by 2030 African civil wars and low-intensity conflicts could rise by 55%, with an increase of 400,000 combat deaths to these conflicts. Adding fuel to the wars would be a drop of crop production of 10% to 30% per degree of warming over current temperatures. Like today, this primal urge to eat and provide for your group forced those to take what they need with guns. As David Biello stated: "Fighting for something to eat beats starving in their fields." Along with crop failure, forcing the hungry to take what they need, there is going to be mass migration away from low-line coastal regions and flood zones to higher ground. This may not be confined to just higher elevations in their nation-state, but across borders.
The United States Military Advisory Board recently ruled that: "Climate Change is a national security issue". Former British energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne said in 2011 that Climate Change would lead to an increase threat of wars, violence, and military action against the United Kingdom. He even went as far as saying that Climate Change would reverse the process of civilization! This point of increased violence has been clearly demonstrated by the recent developments in Syria. Drought that spanned from 2006 to 2011 displaced 1.5 million people from the farms and rural areas to the major cities of Syria. The lack of support to these farms from the al-Assad regime started a spark that reddened in the flames of civil war across Syria. This is the security challenge that faces the military with Climate Change, and if models are correct, instability could be more normal with nations in at-risk regions of the global. The richer nations, like the UK and US could face more failed states, more terrorism, and less friends in that region.
In addition, the major industrial nations could face larger scale (and more expensive) humanitarian operations, loss of coastal bases and harbors for naval operations, change in salinity impacting sonar and submarine operations, lack of local resources for long-term military operations (trucking in water for example). With the increased of costs, decrease in global security, and economic downturn, the military could be great strain to delivery their mission with less. This includes fuel, water, and food. In response to this incoming threat, some military organizations are developing "greener" military vehicles, MILSPEC solar technology, new smaller naval vessels, and intelligence gathering in these at-risk regions.
What Would a War in a Post-Climate Change World Look Like?
Will Future Wars Be Between Floating City-States?
Climate Change and My Own Science Fiction Works
Climate Change Conflicts and Science Fiction
Examples in Sci-Fi
Viper's Creed (2009)
In 2154, if you have the cash and you are a member of the elite of Terran society, than you can relocate to Elysium. In GSO, is a massive Stanford torus space station that is the apex of 22nd century technology. The opposite is true of Earth. It looks more like a cross between the Cursed Earth from Judge Dredd and Idiocracy, where Terrans struggle everyday for food, water, and safety. While the movie is not out yet, there are mentions of a ruined and overpopulated Earth that looks hot and dusty. Since Climate Change is in vouge, it seems logically for that plot element to be included in Elysium. This film will be review in FWS in August.
Battle Engine Aquila (2003)
The Road (2009)
I've only seen this film once, and it still stands strong in my mind as one of those great post-apocalyptic films that communicates the danger and fear of a world gone mad. This film shows a world after a terrible event that mostly likely is Climate Change-based, most of the animal and plant life is gone...turned to ashes and memories. The Road is not Mad Max or Book of Eli, but is an exploration of not the event, what happens to us after civilization falls and how we can retain our humanity. While very sad and somewhat depressing, the Road is a touching film that is even more powerful if you are parent.
Earth Star Voyager (1988)
BLADE RUNNER as an visual reference, including a green neon dragon sign. When two of the characters are walking in the open crowd street, acid rain falls, causing plastic ponchos and breathing masks to be whipped out. Some of the similar themes were used in Ronald Moore's 2009 Virtuality.
Earth that was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many." Overcrowding, climate change, and depletion of natural resource caused mankind to flee Earth-That-Was and match out to another star system. Little is mention on this topic during the series or movie.
BLADE RUNNER (1982)
After Earth (2013)
Split Second (1992)
Soylent Green (1973)
Much of the state of Terra is ignored in the theatrical release of AVATAR, but the footage appears in the Extended Collection Edition, and it adds something to film. In the AVATAR Survival Guide handbook it talk much more about the shitty state of Terra with 20 billion people and the importance of the Unobtanium for energy generation in the numbers they need for the survival of the human race. Much of Earth is used to feed or shelter the massive population, even Yellowstone Park is used for homes. It is only mentioned that both former Marines, Quaritch and Jake, fought in wars over nations that possess rain forests: Nigeria and Venezuela. It is rumored that Pandora was going to be colonized by RDA, until Jake showed up, and some rumors hint that this is going to be the plot of the next two AVATAR films.
Waterworld was an attempt at a epic global warming movie which "borrowed" heavily from the Mad Max films, and depicted a harsh struggle between floating communities and marauders that praying on these isolated groups. At the beginning of the film, it set that the polar ice caps completely melted, totally covering the Earth in water...no more dry land in the year 2500. While this is a nice plot device, even in 1995, it was assumed that if the polar ice caps completely melted, the sea levels would rise 37 inches, nit enough to submerge every landmass.
The Colony (2013)
Man After Man: Anthropology of the Future (1990)
SPEC OPS: the Line (2012)
we're not making any statements about capitalism or global warming or any crap like that". That being said, the game offers the player a chance to play in a setting could be a reality in a Climate Change future.
In the future of 2588, Terra is a wasteland from either environmental destruction or nuclear war, the manga is never quiet spells it out. Clusters of humans live in towns that are not named, but numbered, and these towns are controlled by a centralized computer system. The humans living in these towns have a choice: live as low-class with few rights, or join the town's military and serve for the right to call yourself a citizen (gee...where have I heard that one before?). Grey was a brutal manga that read back in the 1990's when Viz brought it to America, and could show the future of warfare in a post-Climate Change world. FWS will be covering Grey in more detail in a Forgotten Classics blogpost sometime soon...
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
TERRA NOVA (2010)
In the short-lived FOX network (surprise) time travel show, 2149 sucks. Only 20% Government run food centers are open, lethal strains of the flu are hitting China, USA unemployment rates are at 70%, and you can only have 2 children.It is heavily hinted that the human race cannot live on Terra much longer, and they take to a temporal rift back 80 million years for salvation.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)