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Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00493: British Military Describes Khaki Green
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
Khaki Green, British military, Air Marshall Jock Stirrup, military implications of the climate crisis
Attention Conservation Notice:
keenly depressing, yet something of a tribute to Viridian foresight.


Climate crisis in former location, central Texas:

Climate crisis in current location, southeast Europe:


Armies Must Ready for Global Warming Role – Britain

UK: June 26, 2007

LONDON – Global warming is such a threat to security that military planners must build it into their calculations, the head of Britain's armed forces said on Monday.

Jock Stirrup, chief of the defence staff, said risks that climate change could cause weakened states to disintegrate and produce major humanitarian disasters or exploitation by armed groups had to become a feature of military planning.

Link: Air Marshal Sir Graham Eric Stirrup, (1949 - ):

But he said first analyses showed planners would not have to switch their geographical focus, because the areas most vulnerable to climate change are those where security risks are already high.

(((Interesting, isn't it? The places where we've already got hell are gonna have more hell.)))

"Just glance at a map of the areas most likely to be affected and you are struck at once by the fact that they are exactly those parts of the world where we see fragility, instability and weak governance today.

"It seems to me rather like pouring petrol onto a burning fire," Stirrup told the Chatham House think-tank in London. (((Nice fossil-fuel metaphor there.)))

Chatham House studies on climate change:

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett chaired the first debate on climate change at the UN Security Council in April this year. She argued that the potential for climate change to cause wars meant it should be on the council's radar.

Stirrup said the unpredictability of the immediate effects of global warming on rainfall patterns and storms meant flashpoints could be advanced by years without warning.

He did not identify the problem areas, but Bert Metz of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told the meeting they included Central America, the Amazon Basin, large parts of north, central and southern Africa and swathes of Asia.

(((And New Orleans. And maybe Los Angeles. And Australia.)))

Scientists say average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport, melting ice caps, bringing floods, droughts and famines, and putting millions of lives at risk.

Stirrup said the security threat was far more immediate than those figures might suggest.

"If temperatures rise towards the upper end of the forecast range we could already start to see serious physical consequences by 2040 – and that is if things get no worse." (((He's not a scientist, folks. He's a general. Well, an Air Marshall.)))

"If things do get worse you don't need to come very much forward from 2040 before, in my terms at least, you are talking about the day after tomorrow," Stirrup said.

He said the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington showed the devastation that attacks fuelled by political, economic and social deprivation could achieve.

(((It's a tribute to the political genius of Al Qaeda that, six years later, people still talk about the damage to two and one-fifth buildings. Meanwhile, where the real paramilitary trouble is:)))

Global narco-guerillas in North America: Hollow states:

"Now add in the effects of climate change. Poverty and despair multiply, resentment surges and people look for someone to blame," he said.

Even if the world agreed quickly on a way of equitably tackling the climate crisis – which was far from sure – the nature of the problem meant a significant degree of adverse change was already in the pipeline.

"That rapidity, alongside the size of the global population and the complexity of today's society, leaves us particularly vulnerable," Stirrup said. "It is bound to present substantial security challenges of one kind or another."

Asked on the margins of the meeting if that meant military planners should opt for premptive action where they saw a security crisis emerging, he said: "Only in the sense of building governance. Recognising the problem is the first step."

Story by Jeremy Lovell

(((So, what's the story here? Well, as I pointed out earlier, green design is winning. Practically every state with a trace of civilization has got capitalist-green fever now. They'll even do it in the teeth of government opposition, as they do right now in the USA. So design, in the sense of a comprehensive grass-roots effort to change the infrastructure, is doing great. It is scarcely necessary to talk about this; it has become mainstreamed.

(((However, nation-states couldn't get it together to create a Kyoto-friendly world order, so we're seeing many failed states and hollow states. These areas are defeating the armies of nation states through the simple tactic of becoming and remaining ungovernable. This, as Stirrup is pointing out here, is making failed states indistinguishable from climatic disaster areas. They are going to become the same thing. Khaki Green, as an idea, is far from mainstreamed, but this article is a strong signifier of it.

(((The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, but the rain is going to fall with particular virulence on places where there is no government. No army. No civil services. And no functional ability to restore the infrastructure. Peoples who defeat nation-states through tactics of civil disorder are going to be particularly vulnerable to climate-crisis starvation and epidemics. After the era os operations-other-than-war, there will be mass-deaths-other-than-genocide. Mass deaths of peoples, mass deaths of former nations, but without any institutional entity inflicting it. That's the Unthinkable, but it is certain to happen, and is already happening in isolated locales. The question for the next decades is: how much Unthinkable, how big is it. It's a process that "could be advanced by years without warning.")))

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