“Over the next twenty years physical pressures – population, resource, energy, climatic, and environmental – could combine with rapid social, cultural, technological, and geopolitical change to create greater uncertainty,” warns the newly released 2008 National Defense Strategy
. Demographic trends, resource scarcity, and environmental change all inform the updated strategy, which encourages international cooperation to address these impending challenges.
The “Population Forum” in the September issue of WorldWatch Magazine “reveals that empowering women to make their own family size choices…is the best strategy to tackle population growth” and the environmental and security problems linked to it. A short history of population trends is available online; the website offers free previews of Lori Hunter’s article on PHE and gender, as well as “Population and Security” by Elizabeth Leahy and ECSP’s own Sean Peoples. Bernard Orimbo links population growth and environmental degradation in his native Kenya, and PAI staff discuss urbanization.
Climate change threatens to exaggerate the challenges faced by the billions of people worldwide who depend upon natural resources for their survival. But the competition and, at times, violent conflict that results from increased resource scarcity is not a given; the recently released World Resources Report 2008 finds that “well-designed, community-based enterprises” can ease the environmental burden on natural resources and pave the way for sustainable dependence on the land.
At the 2008 World Expo’s “Water and Conflict Resolution” week, municipal representatives working with Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) presented case studies from its “Good Water Neighbors” programs: cross-border solutions for the Lower Jordan River; the Jordan River Peace Park project; and the town of Auja in the Jordan River Valley. Speaking about these programs the Wilson Center, FOEME’s Gidon Bromberg said that “by working together, not only do we advance the environmental issues…we also advance peace between our peoples.”