Yifat Susskind is the executive director of MADRE, an international feminist fund and women’s human rights organization.
“No nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pronounced at the Earth Day Leaders’ Summit in April, adding that intelligence agencies are analyzing the security implications of this existential threat as directed by President Biden. Such assessments typically include dangers like weather events damaging military bases or armed conflicts arising over scarce natural resources.
For those of us who grasp the need for urgent climate policy action, this may seem like a reason for hope. After all, the more people in power who take the mounting risks seriously, the greater the opportunity to press policymakers for real progress.
But legitimizing militarized responses to the crisis will only make the situation worse.
To be sure, climate breakdown threatens people’s safety. Drought has triggered warfare from Syria to South Sudan. Twin hurricanes that slammed Central America have forced thousands of people to migrate from decimated communities. ... Read more