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The Bigger Picture

Venezuela imploding. Syria exploding. Record levels of carbon dioxide in the Antarctic. Record temperatures throughout the planet. Record numbers of refugees everywhere. A widening gap between the wealthiest and the poorest. "Powerful groups, especially in corrupt states, use their power to capture resources," explains political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon, associate director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. "You get a polarization of wealth, a weakening of state capacity, and urban stress. We are seeing these things around the world now," he continues. "As environmental stresses get worse, [their effects] become more common." In other words, battle lines being drawn, as Buffalo Springfield sang back in 1966. Will we humans continue to fight our petty battles, put up ever taller walls, and blame each other as our planet slowly withers away around us in the wake of climate change? Or, to put it more ominously, as does Cynthia Arnson, director of the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program, "Who defines when the beginning of the end has begun?":
   A group of researchers has figured out how to quickly determine the answer to a frequently asked question, "Is this particular catastrophe a result of climate change?":
   Stephen Stills, then of Buffalo Springfield and later of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (& sometimes Young) fame, wrote "For What It's Worth," better known by a line from its refrain, "stop, children, what's that sound" (video):

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