Why We Might Fight, 2011 Edition

Posted by: Sara on Monday, December 13, 2010.

By Thom Shanker, New York Times, Week in Review, 12.12.10
Countries thirst for oil, compete for minerals and confront climate change. The American military, with surprising allies, worries that these issues represent a new source of conflict.

Introduction: A Need for ‘Natural Security’

Why We Might Fight
In 1997, my partner Joe Laur and I along with colleagues from the MIT Organizational Learning Center including HP, Intel, Amoco, Harley Davidson and the US Army War College hosted our first 3-day course on, “Creating Sustainable Organizations,” an integration of Systems Thinking and The Natural Step designed for business leaders. Colonel John O’Shea of the War College offered to host the program. Delighted, but totally surprised I asked Colonel O’Shea, “Why is the War College interested in eco-Sustainability?” At the time I had no idea why he would care. He answered, “We’re in the business of fostering peace, not war and our research shows that the greatest factors in global conflict in the next century will be natural resource scarcity. Look where there’s a lack of water, or food, or oil and that’s where the wars will be.”

Prescient? Check out yesterday’s Sunday New York Times article Why We Might Fight that describes the critical need for “natural security.” Looks like O’Shea and colleagues were right and more than a decade ahead of their time. More evidence re why we have to design our global economy to maximize clean energy, food, and water for all.

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