“Litmus Test for Survival”

This week’s readings dealt with very similar overarching topics. Some of the major themes included neoliberalism and its role on security, the consequences of the Cold War on the climate, the current state we are in, and the future ahead of us.

Floyd and Mathews introduced the idea of a society living in harmony with its environment and linked environmental with Marxist communism. In a communist state small farmers are exploited and destroy their land as a strategy to establish property, ultimately ensuring social reproduction in the event of a price squeeze (pg. 88). I had never thought about how democracy can also impact the way in which we treat our climate. In fact, I might even switch democracy out for capitalism, which is far worse and the effects are seen heavily in the US and globally.   Floyd and Mathews examined the relation of identity and the environment and the responsibility surrounding governing nature (environ-mentality). This brought me back to my 6-month adventure abroad to New Zealand last semester. Before European settlers, New Zealand was first home to the Maori people. Maori culture is largely based on respect and guardianship with the natural environment. In 1991, the Resource Management Act was passed, ensuring that resources will be used sustainably (however neglecting the rights of several Maori tribes). New Zealand is a country that will be hit hard in the future because of its eroding coasts and access to resources. The discussion of the Maori people of NZ gives rise to the idea of governance to the environment vs the government. How can one truly govern the environment? I have trouble understanding how one can claim ownership to the natural world. I believe that placing ownership is to accept blame. For example, if the United States decided to go through with geoengineering, it must be prepared to accept blame for if and when something goes wrong. In Parenti’s first few chapters we examined how climate change is leading to violence. I enjoyed how Parenti began the book by forcing the reader to form explanation and cause to Ekaru’s death. The idea of resiliency comes into play when talking about the chaos associated with climate change. As Floyd and Mathews noted, the poor will be tested as the impacts of climate change manifest.  Resiliency has become a “litmus test” to the right to survive, according to Floyd and Mathews.

The beginning of the Buxton and Hayes introduction seemed to be tailored for individuals who were not keeping up with climate science and political news. While I admired the background information, I felt like it was too broad of a topic to try to summarize. They mentioned geo engineering, corporations, Blueprint, the CIA, climate refugees, and even different ideologies. While I believe this was an informative read, I believe that this is a good starter pack to understanding the complexities involved with talking about environmental security.

I appreciated the sense of hopelessness they alluded to. Buxton and Hayes described their view as dystopian, and I agree that talking about climate change is difficult. I remember taking a class by Michael Klare and reading his book, A Race for What’s Left; I left every class feeling like I there was nothing I could control. Often when I think of how to “handle” climate change and its consequences, I am quickly overwhelmed. Simply because there are too many parts, too many people involved, to many regulations to be placed and too many sub-disciplines. How then are we able to handle the grave threat that is upon us?  I also appreciated the unapologetic exposure of large corporations such as Pepsi and Shell on their motives behind going “greener”. I found it alarming also because as an aspiring geologist about to enter the big real world, I am looking to these companies for jobs and even funding. It is funny in a way that my last research project at the Colorado School of Mines was funded by Exxon Mobil and dealt heavily with the topic of climate change.


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