International terrorism is now being fought mostly by military means. But many of the wisest heads of the planet believe that to tackle international terrorism we must first tackle the forces of environmental degradation, poverty and injustice. This is because these give birth to intolerance that lead to fundamentalism and terrorist acts. The UN has said that when people are denied access to clean water, soil, and air to meet their basic human needs, we see the rise of poverty, poor health and a sense of hopelessness.
When people are not in control of their own natural resources they become desperate. Desperate people can resort to desperate solutions. They may care little about themselves and the people they hurt. Poverty and environmental degradation are factors on their own. Intolerance also has its role, but it fans the flames of hatred and ignites a belief that terrorism is the only solution to a community's or nation's problems.
So-called natural disasters are increasing all over the world. This year there have been many. These also result in desperate, restless, angry people. Many of the disasters are directly or indirectly linked to climate change due to global warming. And we all know that greenhouse gases released by industries and human activities cause global warming! The disasters often cause the most harm to poor people. As their man-mad as well as natural environment becomes damaged, people can succumb to intolerance and hate-filled propaganda.
All these are being exaggerated by certain impacts of globalization. One cannot be for or against globalization. It is a simply a fact of the modern world. However, what more and more world leaders are realizing is that global trading patterns and practices must be changed so that poverty in the developing world is eradicated and environmentally-subsidised over consumption in the developed world is eliminated. Wise and fair management of environmental resources is an important part of peace policy for the future.
In Seychelles, environmental management has been a cornerstone of national development efforts. Good use of our natural resources has been important in the past in sustaining economic efforts, particularly in fishing and tourism, and in achieving peace and sustainability. Nevertheless, we should keep a close eye on what is happening in other parts of the world. As the UN says, peace is partly dependent on equal access to and wise management of natural resources.