We publish our 2020 Political Violence Special Edition amid profound uncertainty about the geopolitical future.While we know we are witnessing momentous security developments in many parts of the world, the dust is far from settled. From months of mass protests in Hong Kong, to the precarious peace in South Sudan, and the collapse of the Islamic State’s caliphate in the Middle East, several outcomes remain possible for many of last year’s most pivotal events.
But arguably the most consequential political violence story of 2019 was not a political violence story at all. Instead, it is the story of the dawning realisation that climate change, left unchecked, is likely to fundamentally destabilise our societies. And time is running out. Environmental degradation in 2019 drove mass protests, targeted activism and conflict over scarce resources across the globe. These will only intensify as the effects of climate change become more apparent. This is why we chose the environment as our theme for our 2020 Special Edition.
From school children skipping classes to demand action on global warming, to frequent and disruptive protests on the streets of major financial hubs, people are demanding action from both governments and businesses.
At least in the short-term, the security challenges related to climate change will expand rather than contract. In 2020, our team will keep a close eye on these and other political violence developments. Read the article.
2019: A watershed Year for Global Environmental Activism
Inspired by environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg and organisations like Extinction Rebellion, 2019 saw millions unite in global opposition to inaction over climate change.
With 2020 marking five years since the formation of the ParisAgreement, we explore whether the coming months will match last year’s unprecedented level of environmental activism or if protest fatigue and unrealistic goals will quell the surge in advocacy. Read the article.
at the coal face: Direct action as environmental protest
Targeted protest action by environmental and climate change activists came to the fore in 2019 and may continue into 2020. Commercial operators around the world are already considering the potential implications for their businesses, people, assets and reputations. Here, we profile three environmental groups, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, and Ende Gelände, and discuss what business can expect from them in 2020. Read the article.
Companies vs Communities: indigenous activism around the world
Environmental degradation and pollution as a result of big industry continue to severely affect indigenous communities, many of whom have begun to protest oil and mining companies operating on their doorsteps. Amid pressure to allay investor fears regarding continued protest action, states have become less tolerant towards protesters, often adopting a forceful approach to quell demonstrations quickly. Here, we provide insight on this trend in civil unrest through a series of recent case studies. Read the article.
Collective (in)action: Conflict and resource scarcity across the world
While competition between communities, governments and commercial operators over limited resources like land, water and fuel sources is not new, the impacts of climate change have increased the stakes in resource conflicts. Community clashes over water in India, the kidnapping of oil workers in Nigeria, and protests by indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon are just some of the manifestations of growing insecurity fuelled by resource scarcity. In this article, we explore how some of these conflicts may develop over the coming years. Read the article.
in the eye of the storm: Maintaining business resilience in the face of climate change
Dependency on revenue streams from unsustainable resources may have a significant effect on the global economy, with the World Economic Forum identifying climate change as the top threat to business for the third year running. Access to natural resources, strained labour markets, and sea level rises are just a handful of the issues organisations could face. We interview John White, Head of Crisis Preparation at S-RM, who addresses the collective need to favour long-term stability over short-term profit. Read the article.
Read our 2020 Travel Security Special Edition for more global security insights.