49 years ago, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held as a “teach in” to educate and mobilize people around the country about the environment and the need to protect it. In many respects, this effort has been largely successful. There are virtually no Americans who haven’t heard about the threats of water pollution, air pollution, and climate change. And much has been done since 1970 to clean the air, water, and land. Then, it was about cleaning up the environment to do away with things that can harm people, animals, plants, or the ecosystem. Since then, Since 1970, a combination of technology change, public policy change, and behavior change have come together to reduce traditional models of pollution – like sulfur in the air, chemicals in the water, or trash on the ground – in the United States.
Unfortunately, the nearly five decades since 1970 have seen the rise of a more difficult problem: climate change. Caused by carbon pollutants as a byproduct of fossil fuel emissions, climate change is more difficult and threatening than the 1970 Earth Day’s generation of pollution. It is both long lived and invisible. It is global in nature. In how it changes the weather, it acts as an invisible multiplier effect on every aspect of life on earth.
The American Security Project has been educating the public about the national security implications of climate change for over a decade, writing reports, publishing articles, and speaking. For five years, ASP’s affiliated national security leaders from the Consensus for American Security have been traveling around the country educating the public about these impacts. You can see where ASP has been, along with details of each even, on our page, “National Climate Security Tour.”
In the spirit of Earth Day’s mission to teach about the environment, below are links to some of the most important things for people to know about how climate change will interact with human society and national security.
1. Climate Science is Clear: the Earth is Warming
Scientists agree that humans are causing climate change. And no security professional would wait until they had 100% certainty before acting to mitigate a threat
- Ten Key Facts on Climate Change
- IPCC Report Shows Climate Change Risk is Real and Urgent
- The Scientific Consensus for Man-Made Climate Change
- Major News Outlets Report on Link between Extreme Weather and Climate Change
2. Climate Change Threatens Global Security
Around the world, climate change acts as an “Accelerant of Instability” or a “Threat Multiplier” that makes already existing problems worse
- Climate Change Threatens South Asian Stability
- Peace, Stability, and Climate Security Across the Pacific
- Could the Syrian Conflict be a Symptom of Climate Change?
- Bay of Bengal – A Hotspot for Climate Insecurity
- Climate Change: The Missing Link in Tackling the Mali Crisis
3. Climate Change Threatens U.S. Homeland Security
America’s infrastructure, food production, transportation network, and American lives are at risk
- Resilience in the Face of Rising Seas: Regional Approaches to Sea Level Rise
- The Economic Costs of Climate Change
- The DHS Response to Climate Change
- Protecting the Homeland – The Rising Costs of Inaction on Climate Change
- Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-State Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change
4. The Military is Preparing for Climate Change
The U.S. military is working with allies, studying potential threats, ensuring resilience to extreme weather, and preparing to deploy when needed
- Preventing Tomorrow’s Climate Wars
- National Defense Strategy: Climate Change in the Age of Great Power Competition
- Congress and President Affirm Climate Change Threatens Security – Asks for Military to Prepare
- The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change
- How the Military Combats Climate Change
5. Climate Change Will Threaten Military Bases Around the World
Rising seas and increased extreme weather will harm readiness and increase costs