Enron Mail

Subject:The Other Weapon In Our War Against Terror
Date:Wed, 10 Oct 2001 15:01:18 -0700 (PDT)

Dear WRI Friends and Family,
A few weeks ago the WRI Board had a powerful and wide ranging discussion o=
f the events of September 11 and their aftermath. We talked about the con=
cept of human security, and the connections among security, environment an=
d development. The following are some observations flowing from that disc=
ussion that the Board suggested I circulate to WRI's friends and family. =
With violent conflict underway, this is a difficult and uncertain time to =
try to draw conclusions, but it is a critical time to think about the futu=
re. =20
Terrorism is hideous theater. Victims and audience are one. Information a=
nd images flow around the world without regard to borders as barriers or t=
he intentions of those who create them. We are compelled to respond, lock=
ed in the scenes of a tragic drama, a violent twenty first century moralit=
y play, running round the clock on CNN. In our minds it began on Septembe=
r 11th, but in other minds it began perhaps a decade before with the Gulf =
War, but now the awful question is when will it end? How do we create a m=
ore secure world?
We do not know what the men who hijacked the four planes on September 11 a=
nd killed thousands of innocent people hoped to accomplish. It does not a=
ppear that they were poor men, but there is reason to believe that Osama b=
in Laden is bent on provoking a war in which the poor would be his soldier=
s. Neither violence nor hatred is a pathology only of the poor, but the c=
ompound of misery, powerlessness and injustice is volatile - exactly the m=
ix that the terrorists who attacked us hope to ignite. We cannot create s=
ecurity only by striking at the flint; we must deal with the tinder.
What if we capture the leaders of terrorist groups, seize their resources,=
disrupt their networks, and deter their state sponsors, but act with narr=
ow focus, treating terror as a crime without a cause that we can address, =
will our world be secure? A safe and stable world requires more fundament=
al changes.
The squalid slums in the sprawling cities in the poorest parts of the worl=
d are growing explosively, expanding by a million people a week. Three-fo=
urths of the world's agricultural lands are degraded, and the cities are f=
illing with people driven from rural areas by expanding population and fai=
ling lands. There are about a billion teenagers in the world, most of the=
m poor, jobless and struggling for shreds of hope. Within a decade or so,=
if trends continue, there will be 27 cities in the developing world that =
are bigger than New York. If they are full of jobless young men with nowh=
ere to turn, they will be tinderboxes of anger and despair.
One-third of the world's people face water scarcity, and water use is risi=
ng twice as fast as population. Three great rivers, the Amu Darya, the Col=
orado, and the Yellow no longer reach the sea in dry seasons. The number f=
acing scarcity is likely to double in the next several decades creating a b=
and of scarcity around the middle of the globe. 70% of the water people u=
se is for agriculture, and it is used to produce half the world's food. W=
ater scarcity is already raising tensions in many places including the Mid=
dle East, the Mekong Delta, and between the United States and Mexico.
A billion people depend for food on wild caught fish, but two-thirds of th=
e world's fisheries are being harvested beyond sustainability, and many ha=
ve collapsed, taking with them people's livelihoods. Half of all jobs wor=
ldwide depend on fisheries, forests, and agriculture. In one-fourth of th=
e world's nations natural resources directly produce more income than indu=
Global warming caused by the industrial world's ever-increasing burning of=
coal and oil is underway, and scientists predict that it will cause not j=
ust hotter weather, but more severe storms and droughts. It will intensif=
y the agony of dry regions, worsen the misery of the poor, and drive still=
more refugees from the land. Meanwhile, two billion people still have no=
access to electricity.
Terrorism and war are, in part, the more immediate consequences of ever in=
creasing oil consumption, particularly for transportation. Osama bin Lad=
en has explained his terrorist acts against the US as a response to the pr=
esence of US military bases in the Islamic holy land of Saudi Arabia. The=
US military is there to ensure access to Saudi Arabian oil, which represe=
nts the largest oil reserves in the world, about 25%.=20
Many of the most insecure regions of the world are also the least democrat=
ic. People there are not only poor, they are voiceless. Dependent direct=
ly on natural resources they have no say in how those resources are used, =
but suffer the consequences when the decisions are corrupt and the use is =
The notion that security, stability, and sustainability are linked is by n=
o means novel. Refugees have been driven from the land by the collapse of=
natural systems for millennia. Nations have fought for access to scarce =
natural resources. The CIA recognized the connection in an unclassified r=
eport last year. Human ability to improve lives while we protect the futu=
re has grown rapidly, however, and we must use these capabilities as an al=
ternative weapon in our war on terror.
Imagine if we determined not only to root out terrorism, but also to depri=
ve it of soil in which to grow. We in the United States might triple our =
aid to the poorest nations from $17 to $50 per American per year, supporti=
ng a vast improvement in education, health, and micro credit to launch sma=
ll businesses. We would support improved agriculture, community based fis=
hery management, and the dispersion of practical technologies to use water =
many times more efficiently. We would work for greater access for more peo=
ple to sustainable energy resources. We would work to ensure that people h=
ave the chance to participate in decisions about natural resources and en=
vironment. We would honor our commitments to ensure that poor women can p=
lan their families. We would seek to broaden our anti-terror alliance int=
o a partnership for human security, abandoning unilateralism for broad col=
laboration. We would join the same allies whose help we now seek in confr=
onting terrorism, to combat global climate change, using our immense techn=
ological capacity to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and diminish our depe=
ndence on foreign oil. =20
The partnership for human security would make the world a safer place even=
if it cannot remove all of the causes of conflict between peoples and amo=
ng nations. Consider the alternative. If the United States takes direct =
action but withdraws from collaboration on broader purposes any security w=
e achieve will be ephemeral. If our oil use continues to rise we will hav=
e fewer options in the Middle East. If we fail to invest in development w=
e will have fewer friends and fewer customers. If we do not solve tomorro=
w's problems today, we will still have today's problems tomorrow.
What is WRI's role? Do we matter?
There are organizations around the world, many of them WRI's partners, who=
work to improve human security. Human security is at the heart of WRI's =
work. Our mission is to "move human society to live in ways that protect =
Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for?future generations". =
Our work is to create solutions to global problems and vehicles for the co=
llaboration necessary to implement them.
After the attacks on September 11th, WRI staff received several thousand m=
essages of concern and outrage from our colleagues in more than 100 countr=
ies. These were not the list serve exchanges of rumors and misinformation=
that surged through the web, but affirmations from our partners in values=
-based networks that rise above the differences of place. They form the l=
inks that are essential to maintain understanding in moments of violence.
WRI uses the technologies of the Global Era to create connection among peo=
ple, and we use connection to provide information and voice. For example:
? Global Forest Watch supplies space based data and Information Age tools =
to local groups on the ground in the world's last frontier forests. They =
collect information on who is doing what and whether it is legal which Glo=
bal Forest Watch uses to create a real time, on-line, map based early warn=
ing system of threats to the forest, a system that enables companies to av=
oid purchasing wood from unsustainable logging, and consumers to hold comp=
anies accountable. The groups on the ground are empowered.
? Earth Trends provides people with the world's best source of information=
about their environment and natural resources, and the tools to use that =
information to influence decisions. Information is power. Earth Trends e=
nables people to find and use it.
? The Access Initiative has built a global alliance of groups and institut=
ions to hold governments publicly accountable for their compliance with th=
eir commitments to open environmental governance articulated in the Rio De=
claration and the Aarhus Convention. The initiative will strengthen peopl=
e's claims to information, voice, and justice.
? New Ventures creates opportunity and hope. It identifies and supports a=
new generation of entrepreneurs in Latin America who are seeking to creat=
e sustainable enterprises in their communities. New Ventures provides bus=
iness mentoring, visibility, and access to venture capital for ideas that u=
se local resources and capacity sustainably, and has mobilized millions of=
dollars in investment capital even during a strong economic downturn in L=
atin America. =20
? Oil for a Finite Future demonstrates how long term deployment of more ef=
ficient, non-fossil fueled vehicles such as hydrogen or electric cars power=
ed by renewable energy resources can alleviate the underlying long-term se=
curity issues of oil depletion and global climate change, not to mention t=
errorism. Since non-Persian Gulf oil production is nearing its peak we sho=
w that we cannot drill our way to energy security. =20
? SafeClimate provides tools for individuals, businesses, and institutions=
to reduce their impact on climate change by taking low cost steps to redu=
ce the emissions of greenhouse gasses that they cause, making climate prot=
ection as easy as putting out the recycling bin. Americans are hungry to =
do something that helps. When they do, their government will follow them.
? Climate and Developing Countries - WRI has been a leading voice of reaso=
n about the role of developing countries in addressing climate change, dev=
eloping widely used indicators, and policy proposals that have helped crea=
te the basis for a dialogue more constructive than the sloganeering of man=
y American political leaders.
? Digital Dividends explores the opportunities for development, empowermen=
t, and improved management of natural resources on the other side of the d=
igital divide, and has linked leaders in the digital industry to hundreds =
of innovative projects created by local entrepreneurs and activists worldw=
We have done innovative and influential work on energy, agriculture, and w=
ater resources. We have sought to engage businesses and investors in crea=
ting strategies for sustainability. We believe that work that connects pe=
ople across the boundaries of region and sector is the most powerful antid=
ote to the toxins of misery, mistrust, and disempowerment. We will contin=
ue to be advocates of the proposition that protecting the web of life that=
connects and supports us all is essential to long term security.
Violence is not new. Brutality and hatred have afflicted humanity for as =
long as the capacity to do good has elevated us. We learned the knowledge=
of good and evil only when both entered our hearts. Do we have the occas=
ion to do good as well as justice in responding to the terrible evil that =
was committed on September 11th?
The modern violent evil is both terrifying and shocking not only because i=
t occurred on American soil, but also because it was so sudden and powerfu=
l. The force of evil has been amplified, its reach extended, its speed ac=
celerated like so many things in the global era, by technology and connect=
ion. The jetliners that were the instruments of destruction are among the=
forces shrinking our world.