Guest Submission: Think Globally, Act Locally – Will Council Act to Protect Human Life in the Middle East?

Photo by براء حبوش on Unsplash

By Alan Hirsch

To: Davis City Council

There is a resolution before council Tuesday night to end the violence in the Gaza war and Israel/Palestine. No doubt it will be a standing-room-only crowd with many expressing opinions about which third party actor is to blame and who should change their behavior. I suggest it may be time for us in Davis to look inward if we care about people in the Middle East.

Scientists tell us that temperatures are rising with climate change twice as fast in the Middle East than other parts of the world.

This exacerbates conflict over resources—water in particular. We know climate refugees to cities was the major cause of the destabilization and civil war in Syria and made it the site of terrorist organizations. There have already been climate riots in other part of the Middle East (see foreign policy article below.) That most residents in this region do not have access to air-conditioned spaces means they are highly susceptible to heat waves in ways most of us in Davis cannot understand.

So, what Davis City Council does on I-80 widening and its climate impact. and more generally climate change might be a more considered substantive act to assuring peace, justice, and a good life for the people in the Middle East and as compared to a resolution on the Gaza War before council Tuesday night.

For us in Davis to support a $300-400 Million investment to induce more driving in our air-conditioned cars, thus increasing GHG output raises the question of climate justice.

For us to continue policies and practices that increase our carbon footprint, such as by widening I-80, is to turn our backs on both the Palestinians and Israelis—and many other peoples throughout the Middle East and world. Hundreds of millions of numbers of people have no air conditioning while we want to drive even more in our air-conditioned cars would seem to make investing in a wider freeway an act of climate injustice.

THEREFORE, I urge the council to add these lines to any resolution on Israel/Palestine to commit to a peaceful solution in the Middle East, one that also reflects our community’s commitment to climate justice and a zero carbon future:

“WHEREAS: we understand that residents of Middle East are particularly susceptible to climate change due to a shortage of water, and fact temperature are increasing twice the rate of the rest of the world, and the lack of widespread air-conditioned spaces for all;

“THEREFORE: we reaffirm our city’s as well as Yolo County and the State if California’s goal to reach zero carbon, and thus oppose any efforts to encourage more driving and VMT, the #1 source of GHG in Davis and the state.”


From Foreign Policy Magazine: The Middle East Is Becoming Literally Uninhabitable

One of the regions hardest hit by climate change is also one least equipped to deal with it.

AUGUST 24, 2021, 8:48 AM

Haaretz: Extreme Heat Waves, Floods and Weakened Security: Israel’s Grim Climate Forecast for 2050

Feb 2, 2023

Jerusalem Post: Israel’s hotter than hell: Can climate change be reversed?

Heatwaves continue to become longer, more frequent and more extreme as the years progress.


Time: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Also a Looming Climate Disaster

JANUARY 11, 2023, 9:15 AM EST

Times of Israel: Climate change-induced heat stress may claim 330 Israeli lives per summer by 2100.

Researchers warn that heat waves in the Eastern Mediterranean likely to occur seven times more often and last three times longer by century’s end.


Haaretz: Scientists Predict 600% Increase in Deadly Heat Waves in Israel by 2100

Extreme weather lasting all summer is projected to drive an 11-fold leap in mortality rates by the end of the century.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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