Opinion: As we lock onto conflict focused stories, we’re forgetting about the climate

Water scarcity, drought, flooding and food insecurity have not gone away and they’re still our biggest threat.

As fighting rages on in Ukraine, we forget that global weather is rapidly changing due to human-driven climatic changes. While the reasoning for war tends to be focused on the simplest of motivations, the mind can wander given the environmental catastrophe we’re witnessing.

Thrusting my mind back to studies of anticipated global breakdown including the possibility of conflict over water, I remembered something. Both Russia and Ukraine, two of the world’s largest wheat producers and suppliers, are experiencing reductions in soil moisture. Not only this, but large parts of European Russia expect regular yearly drought during the spring to summer periods.

Conflict over resources (usually the most argued explanation for fighting) generally centres around property such as oil and gas, but history usually hides addendums for battles over alternate natural bounties.

Maybe the aforementioned is true, maybe it is not, but impending climate changes will surely spill into the need to horde resources at some point, and maybe, just maybe, Putin sees this conflict as not only a strategic land grab through a longing for the nostalgia for Soviet times, but an opportunity to secure the fertility of crop production. Climate change may be forgotten, but when its pathway inspires conflict the reasoning for its manifestation will still figure as a commentary, not the headline.

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