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Indus Civilization Upended by Climate Change and Dependence on Finite Resource?

As first reported at the New York Times, a recent study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences makes a strong case for the influence of climate change on the demise of the Harrapan civilization of the Indus plains, a sophisticated culture that “rose about 4,500 years ago, flourished for 600 years and then began a steady and relentless decline.” Essentially, the study shows, the civilization was highly dependent on monsoon rains to feed the flooding of rivers in the Indus valley, its essential means for watering crops, and was thus unable to adapt to climatic changes that weakened the monsoons, and failed to flood the rivers (the Harrapans did not utilize irrigation systems, being spoiled by what they believed was an infinite cycle of river flooding). (more…)

Kyrgyzstan: Climate Change, Water and Regional Security

The nation of Kyrgyzstan is a place of geopolitical importance, a provider of critical water resources for the Central Asian region, and a highly unstable place. It also sits in a neighborhood of mistrust, enjoying especially strained relations with Uzbekistan to the southwest, and existing in close proximity to large unstable nations to the east, such as Afghanistan. The effects of a changing climate, which are likely to impact the country’s and the region’s vital water resources, should thus be a matter for serious global and regional attention. (more…)

Renewable energy on the battlefield lowers risks to soldiers and enhances combat efficiency

Lt. Col. Alan Samuels, a recent recipient of the White House Champion of Change award, recently penned an interesting piece on his experience studying the U.S. Department of Defense’s operational energy programs. The article covers some of the key elements of programs like the U.S. Army’s Energy to the Edge, which seeks to free soldiers from costly and dangerous fuel and water resupply missions by providing “field hybrid and renewable energy technologies to the point of need – the forward operating bases and combat outposts where our mission in Afghanistan is so critically tied to counterinsurgency operations.” He concludes that benefits for troops “are measured in increased operational capability, greater combat efficiency, and lower risk.” Click here for the full piece.

 

 

Afghanistan: Climate and Security in Badakhshan Province

The New York Times ran a story yesterday on the avalanche that tore through the small Afghan town of Sherin Nazim, in the country’s northeastern Badakhshan Province, which killed at least 50 people. The article asserts that the avalanche was no normal occurrence, but rather (more…)

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