Global economies were built on the “assumption of environmental stability.” “Age of Consequences” is a documentary that delves into the relationship between climate change and its effects on international security from a military perspective. The movie effectively illustrates how domestic events feed global instability and create conflicts around the world.
Through the use of testimony from retired generals and military strategists, the film explores how drought, flooding and heatwaves have contributed to the rise and scope and number of terrorist organizations. Director Jared P. Scott and producer Sophie Robinson interview military personnel and government officials from both ends of the political spectrum. The film uses compelling cinematography to show how autocratic regimes use these disruptions as “catalysts for conflict,” that add fuel to civil unrest.
When a country is affected by environmental disaster, a citizen is concerned with the basics of survival. Feeding their family or access to water becomes their number one priority. The majority of the conflicts we have seen in recent years have been exacerbated by climate change. Agriculture losses due to drought, wildfires and flooding directly impact international markets, driving up the price of commodities. Wealthier nations panic buy, while poorer countries suffer. Lack of resources accelerate conflicts and cause more border tensions between countries.
The film effectively illuminates incidents of civil unrest across the globe that have been fueled by global climate change and how terrorist organizations use disaster to control and influence vulnerable populations. When terrorists control the natural resources of a country, they have all the power. Mass migration due to lack of resources and political upheaval puts a strain on limited resources in countries with large influxes of refugees.
The film is certainly a wake up call, and while the insight from military experts is compelling, the doom and gloom was a bit heavy handed and little attention was paid to solutions. More coverage on the efforts of soldiers at the end of the film who are working to combat climate change through renewable energy solutions would have been a more hopeful conclusion. The scant coverage of what is being done to combat our fossil fuel energy consumption felt incomplete.
The tone of the film is dire and the message is urgent. When top military leaders at the Pentagon are ignored and their message is based on carefully compiled research and years of military experience, it should be a wake up call.
The film is being sponsored by The Office of Sustainability and a free showing will be at The Procrastinator on Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 6-9 pm. Check out their website at montana.edu/sustainability.