State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

“The Truth About Water Wars”

We’ve all heard about the horrors of the genocide in Darfur, followed Nicholas Kristof’s evangelical Op-Eds, and seen the benefit concerts to raise money towards the cause. Perhaps some know too of the ethnic differences tinting much of the clash, know the history of relations between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army. 

water-warBut few know that at the root of this complicated war is a conflict over water.

Many factors played a role in the current situation. But one stemmed from the migration of the nomads from the drought-ridden north to the more verdant south, trying to find land and water for their families and animals. This caused a resource-strain and population change  that, in turn, has contributed to the years of violence in the country.  The cover story for this month’s SEED Magazine, “The Truth About Water Wars,” examines the power of this liquid asset, and asks seven experts to take a look at how water will become the next oil, in terms of igniting violent conflicts, for 46 countries around the world.

War20: Three Reasons that Violence Can Erupt,” by the Columbia Water Center’s Tobias Siegfried,  is one of the seven articles, and looks at how places dealing with absolute physical water scarcity, man-made water scarcity, and vulnerability to water flooding are prime settings for future water wars.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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