We wanted to note the important natural security news items from the weekend, but this will be our only post today. Happy Labor Day everyone!
In medieval times, sieges were used to prevent an enemy from accessing fresh water, food and other supplies. Using the natural environment against foes has been a common wartime technique throughout history. In 1991, Peter Gleick examined just how these things tend to play out in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in “Environment and Security: The Clear Connections.” Gleick, cofounder of the Pacific Institute and eminent scholar on the intersection between natural resources and security issues, particularly water security, broke natural resource-security interactions into four categories: resources as strategic goals; attacks on resources; resources as military tools; and disruption to environmental services.
I love my job. Not many scientists get to work with a Congressional staffer one day, a military expert the next, and a business exec the day after that. These are all smart, resourceful people with backgrounds different from mine, and I love the variety of what I learn from these folks.
The Washington Post reports on the apparent resolution of the long-standing dispute over natural gas service between Russia and the Ukraine.
According to Agence France-Presse, melting glacier water in the Himalayas could spell disaster for nearby villages if glacial lakes burst suddenly.
The following is a live blog feed of the “DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable” with Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen. Admiral Allen – who blogs and tweets himself – will discuss the recent Interagency Arctic Awareness Trip with the interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and his conclusions on how the opening Arctic will affect U.S. policy.
3:01 p.m. ADM Allen: The Coast Guard just concluded an Ocean Policy Task Force (OPTF) trip to the Arctic. The Interagency Arctic Awareness Trip included Nancy Sutley, director of White House Council on Environmental Quality, Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator and Heath Zichal, deputy assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. OPTF was sent to assess the impacts of climate change on the Arctic and the implications for local communities and the operating environment.
3:03 p.m. There was no Navy representative with the Ocean Policy Task Force. Why not?
For our Natural Security Blog post today, Will Rogers will live blog at 3:00 p.m. EST the “DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable” with Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen. Admiral Allen – who apparently blogs and tweets himself – will discuss his recent travels around the Arctic with the interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and his conclusions on how the opening Arctic will affect U.S. policy.
Photo: Admiral Thad Allen. Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Fishing stocks represent a significant natural resource for African coastal communities,” according to Ambassador Mary C. Yates, civilian deputy at United States Africa Command. In many regions of the world fish have long been a cornerstone of local livelihoods. But burgeoning population growth and overfishing are devastating fish stocks, exacerbating local grievances and contributing to conflict and regional instability.
In a recent interview with David Axe, a military correspondent with Wired Magazine’s Danger Room, Axe said that in East Africa fish are obviously “tied to conflict.” In Somalia, for example, instability left the country, a once prominent and vibrant fishing economy, in a “sort of a free-for-all” for any country or private company to “plunder those waters illegally” and unsustainably. “That’s been one of the root causes of piracy,” Axe said. Since 1991, the Somali government has been too weak and ill equipped to protect fishing interests, forcing many fishermen to seize illegal trawlers on their own and sparking vigilantism that has evolved into the pernicious piracy that plagues the Gulf of Aden today.
Foreign Policy examines whether recent actions indicate a new proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen, including natural security themes of waterway control and energy politics.
Oil exploration is continuing in the disputed waters of the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh awarded contracts to U.S. and Irish companies, according to the BBC.