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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Volume 12
Issue 4

Posted by David Stewart on 9th February 2018 at 19:43pm

Few places have been safe from the reach of the vicious tendrils of terrorism in the short time since our last edition was published. We have seen attacks involving major loss of life in Pakistan, China, South Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Sweden, Russia and the UK. Sadly, this list is by no means exhaustive.

We also witnessed the truly shocking pictures of people trapped in a high-rise tower in one of the world’s wealthiest capital cities (see p28 for Grenfell Tower analysis). On pages 30 and 32 we report on other human-caused crises, those of malware and cyber crime.

Whether motivated by human malice or criminality, justified by ideological reasons, or exacerbated by poor or lackadaisical emergency planning, vulnerabilities and weaknesses are still repeatedly exposed. As CRJ and its authors have consistently stated over the years, the challenges presented by such incidents are dwarfed in terms of the possible human loss caused by climate disruption. And we have also examined what happens when security and climate issues collide.

On the CRJ website, we noted recently how climate related issues can ripple out and trigger wider global security crises, as highlighted by a report that names 12 significant climate and security epicentres, all of which present extremely serious risks.

As we go to press, Europe is in the grip of a heatwave dubbed ‘Lucifer’, and wildfires are raging in many parts of the world, while catastrophic flooding devastates other areas. Yet there is still profound resistance, lack of engagement or willful detachment – whether politically, economically, or institutionally – to acknowledge the potential impact of climate risks. How to embed resilience, prevention and mitigation in an effective and meaningful way, so as to engage governments, businesses, communities and individuals? A vital first step has to be discarding some of the entrenched and unproductive institutional or organisational terminology, definitions and doctrines that many organisations seem to adhere to so doggedly.

Interminable pontification about pointless semantics and pushing narrow, short-term, self-interested motivations are simply dodging pressing crisis issues. It is time to et agendas aside and truly think in global human terms, eschewing treacherous tunnel vision and joining up the dots – we need to see the whole picture for it really is.

Emily Hough

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