Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq

National Geographic has the story Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq.

Across rural Iraq and Syria, farmers, officials, and village elders tell similar stories of desperate farmhands swapping backhoes for assault rifles. Already battered by decades of shoddy environmental policies, which had hobbled agriculture and impoverished its dependents, these men were in no state to navigate the extra challenges of climate change. And so when ISIS came along, propelled in large part by sectarian grievances and religious fanaticism, many of the most environmentally damaged Sunni Arab villages quickly emerged as some of the deep-pocketed jihadists’ foremost recruiting grounds.

Not only is this a lesson in how we should change our policy in the middle-east, but it is a lesson for policy in our own country. Perhaps one of the few things missing for repeating the depression of the 1930s is the dust bowl that affected farmers so severely. Ignoring climate change could be the final step in repeating our depression history.

There are so many lessons in this article besides the ones mentioned above. There is also the story of the cost of doing additional direct environmental damage over and above climate change. Indiscriminately damming rivers and spilling oil from pipelines come to mind.

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