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Sustainability is a National Security Priority

| Wednesday August 9th, 2006 | 0 Comments

bombs.jpgAlex Steffan has a great piece on WorldChanging today about the misguided idea that fighting terrorism should take priority over advancing sustainability in the context of national security. In it he sites the Cato Institute’s excellent piece (PDF here) on the exageration of terror as a threat.
For one thing, it’s great to build common ground between advocates of sustainability and a very conservative organization such as Cato (conservatives are often accused of lack of interest on the subject). It’s also heartening to bring this discussion to the forefront of costly issues like security, which are too often dominated by a “bomb first, think later” mentality that, these days, seems to bring less security, not more. The point, however, is that by embracing the tenets of sustainabilty as a priority we’re less likely to get to a place where military action need even be considered.
Sustainability weens us from our overly intensive use of resources and related conflicts. The likelyhood of wars for resources like oil (and possibly water in the near future) are inversely related to our ability to find new technologies and use resources more efficiently. Sustainability in the context of bringing peace goes beyond the avoidance of disasters and war. Such was the reasoning behind the Wangari Maathai’s nobel peace prize: Recognizing the inseperable bond between the health of society, the economy, and the environment is the key cornerstone of sustainability and once people “get it” the solutions start rolling in.


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