Tag Archives: violence

Climate Change and Human Violence

dry_desertResearch on climate change has long suggested that increases in average global temperatures in the near to medium-term future could trigger conflict over food and water resources. As global temperatures increase, drought will become more common and food and water could become more scarce, sparking violent conflict between states. But a new line of research published in Science suggests that violent conflict could become more common as global temperatures increase even in the absence of underlying resource tensions.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University analyzed 60 previous studies from around the world, ranging “spikes in domestic violence in India and Australia; increased assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania; ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia; land invasions in Brazil; police using force in the Netherlands; civil conflicts throughout the tropics; and even the collapse of Mayan and Chinese empires.” The study found strong correlations between each of these and increases in global temperatures. As the study’s co-lead author, Marhsall Burke noted, “a 1 standard deviation shift towards hotter conditions causes the likelihood of personal violence to rise 4 percent and intergroup conflict to rise 14 percent.” An increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius, in other words, could increase the rate of intergroup conflicts—largely ethnic conflict and civil wars—by over 50 percent.

What do you think? Is climate change likely to increase intergroup conflict in the near future? Or is there something else at play here? Take the poll or leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

The Power of Female Education


Malala Yousafzai addresses the United Nations.

Malala Yousafzai addresses the United Nations.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban last October, addressed the United Nations on Friday, marking her 16th birthday. Yousafzi was shot in the head by masked gunmen while on a school bus in an effort to silence her campaign for girls’ rights.

Yousafzi symbolically wore a pink shawl that belonged to assassinated Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto. In her speech to the United Nations, Yousafzi argued that “The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. They are afraid of women.” She called on political leaders to ensure that every child—boy and girl—has access to education.

“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

The complete video of the address is available on YouTube (and below).

What do you think? Does education reduce the propensity for violence and extremism? Would greater access to education—particularly female education—in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan reduce the ongoing violence there? Take the poll below or leave a comment and let us know what think.