Everyday we prepare for things based on forecasts – or what you expect will happen. You bring an umbrella if there might be rain. You put on sunscreen, even though you’re not sunburned yet. Now take that idea and expand it by $510 million and the 900,000 sailors, marines and civilians in the Department of the Navy.
Just last week, The Boston Globe’s Bryan Bender reported on the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III’s comments that climate change is the “biggest long-term security threat” for the region, saying it “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”
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Credit: James Maciariello
I have had three sobering yet empowering days in Boston at the first Global Conference on Oceans, Climate and Security hosted by UMass Boston. I joined colleagues from academia, government, the non-profit sector, private industry and even the military to explore human and national security implications of our changing climate and our changing oceans. While our elected officials in Washington DC continue to debate whether climate change is “real”, those on the front lines have moved beyond this debate to prepare for what is to come and indeed, what is already here.
Make no mistake about it. Our oceans are changing. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the nation’s top ocean official, itemized these changes; sea level is rising and the oceans are getting stormier, seawater is getting warmer and holds less oxygen. None of this is debatable. The data are clear and profound. And the pace of change is increasing. Continue reading »