How the effects of climate change propel insecurity
Climate change appears to be dishing out more boon than boom to communities, regions and nations. One of its quandaries is increased insecurity, orchestrated by the scarcity of essential commodities and trade imbalances. Being from Kerio Valley and having grown up through cattle rustling and banditry, I see a strong correlation between climate change and insecurity. In the 1960s and ’70s, for instance, insecurity in Kerio Valley was dominated by cattle raids between the Pokot and the Marakwet—a barbaric behaviour that rarely involved maiming or killing anyone. But with increased climate change adversities, specifically global warming, Kerio Valley has experienced a more ferocious form of banditry that can be equated to terrorism, qualifying to be labelled a national disaster. This existential risk banditry poses is also being experienced in Suguta Valley, the other bifurcation of the East African Great Rift Valley. Coupled with geographic disparities, global warming causes desiccation of water bodies and a shortage of pasture in Kerio, more so east of Kerio River, where the Pokot reside. The herders drive their livestock to graze on the western bank, which is Marakwet territory, sparking off deadly clashes. The push for pasture and territorial expansion is what fuels insecurity in Turkana, Samburu and Laikipia counties. In the bandit’s mind, there’s no better way to drive out competition in desired grazing lands than causing mayhem by plundering lives and livelihoods. The Kerio Valley insecurity can be stopped by opening up the region for development through the institution of infrastructure. There are areas, like Tiaty, that need to have the residents and the larger world interact and be integrated. School feeding programmes should be reintroduced to keep young people in school and eradicate banditry tendencies. Meanwhile, a peaceful government disarmament drives in the region to mop up loose guns would do. Food and water paucity, and disintegrated economies, can all be attributed to global warming. Failed agriculture, famine and constant hunger can make people short-fused and pestilential. People who depend on agriculture are rendered poor and hungry by drought, making them hungry and angry. Wars over scarce water resources are phenomenal, old and transboundary. For instance, Yemen experienced water riots in 2009 and it is believed that the Syrian civil war is driven by water deficiency. Over-reliance on underground water is not sustainable as it can get depleted, leading to massive land subsidence and death. Without forests, rainfall will diminish, global warming will skyrocket and water exiguity will bite...then, water wars will escalate. Many economic models directly link the earth’s lithosphere to the atmosphere, making agricultural production and the hydrologic cycle big economic players. Conked-out agricultural production is archetypal of collapsed industrialisation. This will beget unemployment, idleness and petty crimes. Similarly, when agriculture-based industries crumble, there will be over-reliance on non-agricultural industries, leading to the overloading of labour and huge overheads. Amid national poverty, pay cuts or lay-offs will cause strikes and social unrest. International wars are fuelled by nations, ruthlessly, seeking international expansion to save their ailing economies and satiate boomeranging internal demands, without adhering to proper channels. There is no war where climate change is not a protractor, even in family feuds. The world’s local, regional and global climate must be stabilised for peace. This can be done through aggressive forest conservation and afforestation, boosting rainwater harvesting, adapting green technology and instituting a robust transboundary discussion on climate change mitigation. Everyone should be a panacea in the quest for global climate stabilization.