Target: Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, chief of U.S. Pacific forces
Goal: Applaud and call attention to Admiral Locklear’s statements that climate change is a serious threat to the Pacific region
The chief of all U.S. forces in the Pacific region, responsible for operations from California to the Indian Ocean, recently told the press that climate change is the greatest security threat to the Pacific region for the future. Another admiral might have named North Korea, a rising China, or any other number of conventional international concerns, but Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III wisely and rightly named climate change.
Locklear acknowledged that this response would come as surprise given the other serious threats in the region, but reiterated his view that all of these serious threats will soon pale in comparison to what climate change will bring. He cited rising sea levels causing social upheaval on land, and increased numbers of severe typhoons in the region all as factors that are threatening to peace, security, and stability in the Pacific region he oversees.
Too often, the environment and climate change are given scant attention in more “serious” policy groups such as regional military commands. It is both important and welcome to see that such an important military commander takes climate change this seriously.
The Pacific region is currently tense from a geopolitical standpoint, with bad relations and border disputes between growing countries like China, South Korea, and the Philippines dominating the headlines. Natural disasters are often relegated to brief mentions in international news media, though they are common and increasingly devastating. Locklear said that there have already been 27 super typhoons this season in the Pacific, whereas the average is only 17. It is this kind of danger that Admiral Locklear believes trumps the geopolitical diplomatic security concerns that seem trivial by comparison.
Admiral Locklear was right to call climate change a serious threat not just to the environment but to people’s physical security. Sign the petition below to call attention to his important remarks and thank him for being prudent.
Dear Admiral Samuel J. Locklear,
You recently told the press that you believe climate change is the most serious security threat facing the Pacific region. I am writing to tell you that I agree and believe your remarks are important.
For a military leader as important as yourself to identify climate change as a practical, real, and imminent problem facing not just the environment but the United States military, is potentially transformative. People sadly still do not take climate change very seriously. It is people like you in respected positions who can often help to change that. Thank you for being realistic and prudent.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nicholas Hall via Wikimedia Commons