Skip to main content

Guest blog by Robin Haberman: Civilian Defense in the age of Climate Change

By Robin Haberman Project Manager to the GMIBS Project
Robin Haberman, PM for the GMIBS Project.  Career background, both academic and formal training was in working with Intelligent networks. He seeks to solve problems where complex systems and people come together for over 16 years.  Managed a non-profit research organization for ten years in the 1970's.  Later was an early employee for a high-tech start-up in the late 1980's.   The GMIBS Project is the third start-up organization I have been associated with from the start.

In Bill McKibben's article on climate change, A World at War ( is the latest in using the simile of World War II in comparing it to the future events of climate change. By using the analog, We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII. He hopes as the dangers grow a uniting of the populace will to overcome adversities will happen again as it did from 1936 to 1945 against fascism. Here as else where, we are trying to define an unknown, climate change by using metaphors to a known example, the last major human global conflict. How can we face the unknown and pretend its something we did before from the lessons learned, examples used or if the metaphor even fits. Is it not when armies, navies, countries or cultures try this that they fail and fail badly? We are led by developed nations that have never learned the limits of the carrying capacity of their cultures in relationship to their countries size. Much older human cultures have learned the hard way to the limits of their growth and the success of their adaptability.

The only simile I can find to a potential human conflict and the devastating power of global climate change is in the cold war doctrine of nuclear war in mutually assured destruction (MAD). In this doctrine of destruction, there is no front lines, no rear areas or safe places to hide, all will be involved in one way or another, at one time or another. There is only the pretense of civilian defense given. Then as now there are legions of academics, scientists and researchers developing reports, papers on potential damage, destruction to infrastructure and relocation of the civilian populations. Unlike the cold war doctrine of MAD which was never used, we are now five human generations into climate changes version of mutually assured destruction. If the Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents ( article is right. We are going head-long into the unknown, way past any reports, papers, or planning. From now on, it will be a steady-game of keep up or lose. This is not a boxing match with Bill Gates, U.S. Government, the G20 or UN in our corner up against multi-generational global climate change, we know what would win in the end.

This is where we need to act smarter and use our best ideas (cooperation, democracy and open source technologies) and skills (grit and independent thinking) as a human species. Richard Miller from Olin College put it best in More Innovation Through Education ( What is grit? It's a combination of passion and perseverance. It's attitudes, behaviors, and motivations. It really matters how determined and how committed you are. Or how committed we are as a species to survive. If we are going to fight climate change smarter and stop this madding ride to the end, it means we need to change: We need to put distractions aside, view climate change as the first great test of the human species as a whole; Never giving up or abandoning any place or people to climate and environmental changes; Break the lock-step mentality of organizations living in the past; Share information, resources and knowledge with others by open source technologies and licenses; Move STEM published information around monopolistic controls; Help unlock the skill and knowledge of how to mine information about the Earth with others; Develop alliances across professions and organizations to combat changes; Set up local civilian defense labs and test sites against climate change, that are able to answer 3 questions: What is happening to our climate/environment? What does it mean?, And what can we do?; Create an ongoing dialog with others on how to better develop and add to this list of suggestions. What I am writing about is nothing special, but it does take people with the skills that Richard Miller talked about to make it happen.

On the road to face climate change, there will be many fails starts, defeats, and costly victories. The one thing that will keep us going to win in the end, is now this is not for just one country or set of believes we are fighting for but the right to live on our home planet.

A World at War : We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII. (read original article here)

Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents.(see here)

More Innovation Through Education, Stanford eCorner talk by Richard Miller, Olin College, May 25, 2016 can be watched here.


Popular posts from this blog

Guest Blog Mike Barry: 5 things we learnt on Marks and Spencer Plan A journey over last 12 months

Guest Blog by Mike Barry:  Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer

It’s that time of year, publication of our annual sustainability (Plan A) report. After the harum scarum dash to gather, collate, assure, sign-off and publish a wealth of data we can breathe (for a moment!) and reflect on what it all means.
Here are some quick insights into what we’ve learnt at M&S in the last 12 months on our Plan A journey.
1. Succession – Nine years is a long time in the world of sustainable business. How many corporate plans have come and gone since we launched Plan A in 2007? Too many! The continuity offered by having a single multi-year plan has been incredibly important. It’s allowed us to take long term decisions in a very short term turbulent retail marketplace. It’s allowed us to build the skills and capabilities in our business units to integrate Plan A into their ways of working. It’s allowed us to pick our battles, knowing that occasionally we’ve just got to let a …

Bokova out? Georgieva in for next UN Secretary General

The rumors that have been circulating for the last month have now proven to be true. The Bulgarian government has withdrawn support from Irina Bokova as their candidate for UN Secretary General and replaced her with Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for budget and human resources.
There is some evidence that the right of center parties in European capitals have been behind this with some articles appearing in the last few weeks against Bokova. The Guardian reported on the 26th: “one of her (Kristalina’s) staff members was hacked and emails purporting to be from one of her top aides were sent out to the rest of her office, instructing them to attack Bokova”There is no question that Kristalina has the cv and record to be a very good UN Secretary General. She is a strong supporter of sustainable development issues she will pick up the SDGs and climate agendas with ease. She is dynamic and very personable and was very active around last week’s UN General Assembly High Level se…

Rest in Peace Tania Valerie Raguz 'one of our own'

Photo by IISD/ENB 
It is with deep sadness that I heard of the passing of Tania Valerie Raguz.

Many of us will have worked with her at United Nations meetings over the past ten years when she was the First Secretary of the Mission of Croatia to the UN.

Tania Valerie Raguz was on the Bureau for Rio+20 and a Vice-Chair Of the Bureau of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and  most recently she had joined the world of NGOs working as the Public Affairs Advisor for the World Animal Protection previously know as World Society for the Protection of Animals. WAP had been very active around Rio+20 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and she helped their work particularly around the SDGs.

Tania played her role in helping to frame the agenda that we are all committed to delivering on. CSD17 was one of the more successful CSD and without Rio+20 there would be no Sustainable Development Goals.

Photo by IISD/ENB I will miss her positive energy, laught…