We have all heard of climate change, either along the absolute denials on whether it is even occurring or the apocalyptic scenarios. At this stage, it is an irrefutable fact that climate change is occurring on a global scale, with the effects being experienced everywhere. Ranging from negative effects such as desertification, rising sea levels and numerous others to the occasional positive one such as the warming up of the temperate regions. The causes have been hotly debated in various forums and by people who are more qualified academically and practically to discourse on the matter than the author of this article. Climate change has been charged with many numerous and insidious effects on the planet and human affairs in general, but how far-reaching are these effects? The economic, social and political structures. In this article, we shall explore the proposition that climate change can lead to massive political upheavals and specifically if climate change could have caused Arab Spring. Arab Spring is the widespread revolutions and protests that have rocked that Arab world.
There has been a wave of protests, riots and armed conflicts that has swept through the Arab world beginning on 18th December 2010 continuing to present day, with various revolutions accompanied by toppled governments and civil wars resulting from the Arab Spring. The following countries has their governments kicked out; Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt who kicked out two consecutive governments. Syria and Bahrain had major civil uprisings with the Syrian one presently considered a civil war. Riots have broken out in Jordan, Kuwait, Sudan, Morocco and Algeria with minor protests occurring in other Arab countries.
Arab Spring has undoubtedly been motivated by mainly political reasons, to topple the tyrannical governments. The desire for freedom and recognizance of the right of the people seems to be the main drive behind the violence. In addition, the rampant economic problems afflicting the Arab world also played a key role in the uprisings. Unemployment, rising cost of living among many other led to the frustration of the people being taken out on their government.
Nonetheless, this article hopes to demonstrate a correlation if not causation between the Arab Spring and Climate change. To fully extrapolate on this issue, the article will attempt to show how the effect of climate on the global wheat production might have led to Arab Spring. It is important to note at this point that this article does not authoritatively state that Climate change led to global warming rather explore that as a possibility.
In 2010, the world’s wheat harvest was affected drastically by changing weather patterns that resulted in supply shortages globally. The changes seemed to have affected the main exporters of wheat globally. Cold and rainy weather in Canada – A drop in the harvest by 13.7 percent, Heat waves, Droughts and fires in Russia and Ukraine – A drop in the harvest by 32.7 percent and 19.3 percent respectively, Excessive rains in Australia – A drop in the harvest by 8.7 percent and to top it up Chinese consumption of wheat rose by 1.68 percent while their harvest dropped by 0.5 percent.
To be continued next week…..
By Muiruri Wanyoike