sideshows in the theatre of human suffering

Since Gore and the IPCC won the Nobel award, there's this discussion I keep having with people who think the prize should have gone to actual peace activists rather than these enviromental people. What does climate change have to do with war, people ask. Why not award the prize to someone who is actually in the trenches trying to stabilise global relations?

My answer has been that war is merely a symptom of something else. It is the thing that happens when a lot of other things stop working. For instance, some things that make war much more likely and much harder to stop are resource scarcity, lack of a public sphere, poor infrastructure, poverty, lack of education, illness, etc. Generally, the more democratic and affluent a country is, the less likely it is to go to war. (Obviously, I'm well aware of some historical and current exceptions here, I'm just saying statistically speaking.) There's a reason the four horsemen of the apocalypse are named war, famine, pestilence and death. These things ride together, and work together. They aggravate each other, and on the flipside, reducing one frequently lessens the others as well. This is why the Nobel Peace Prize has been given to people like Norman Borlaug Never heard of him? He's often credited with having saved at least a billion lives. What did he do? He invented a new kind of wheat, that's what he did.

But in case this apocalyptical description doesn't win you over, try listening to the first couple of minutes of this interview with George Monbiot. (Part II, III, IV)

Also, I warmly recommend his book Heat. I can only echo the back cover blurp: "I defy you to read this book and not feel motivated to change."


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