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The link between climate change and terrorism » Yale Climate Connections


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In many countries, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather can put people in desperate situations. And that can create the conditions in which terrorism can grow.

Jeremiah Asaka is assistant professor of security studies at Sam Houston State University in Texas. He recently reviewed the scientific literature on the link between climate change and terrorism.

He found that extreme weather often worsens social tensions, poverty, and hunger.

“And then makes those societies vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist groups,” Asaka says.

For example, he points to parts of Nigeria, where the terrorist group Boko Haram operates.

“There’s high rates of poverty, and societies there are very dependent on natural resources,” he says.

Chronic droughts in the region have destroyed crops and left people struggling. Boko Haram has taken advantage of these conditions to gain power.

So Asaka says in addition to conventional counter-terrorism efforts, it’s important to build community and climate resilience.

“I’m trying to make us bring in the concept of human security where we address issues of food security, issues of poverty,” Asaka says.

He says this preventive approach can help reduce the spread of terrorism.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media



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