Environmental peacemaking

4 Mar

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a new trend called in international relations environmental peacemaking:

Last month, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan declared war … on thejellyfish. A particularly voracious species known as Mnemiopsis is munching happily on phytoplankton in the Caspian Sea, the building block for the sea's valuable fish stocks. As a result, they're wiping out sturgeon and every other type of fish.

None of the five nations wants to see a repeat of what happened a few years ago in the Black Sea, when the Mnemiopsis biomass – like the blob that ate New York in a long-ago B-movie – grew larger than the world's entire commercial fish catch.

So the Caspian countries, spurred by their common jellyfish enemy, are coordinating under the umbrella of the Caspian Environment Program. A five-year-old cooperative project to clean up the Caspian, the CEP has made some significant headway as well as willing partners out of feisty competitors.

Environmental problems that cross borders have often raised tensions between nations. But a new generation of scholars and activists see in these problems an opportunity to bring nations closer together. They even have a name for it: environmental peacemaking.

While I applaud the idea, I also want to know about the blob that eat New York.

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