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Global warming is not just an environmental problem.

Goodman: “It is one of the most serious national security challenges we face. This is a risk issue.”

Sherri Goodman is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security. She says that in many countries, climate change is already affecting people’s lives.

Goodman: “With rising seas, increasing temperatures, more extreme weather events, more weather variability in general from droughts to floods, it’s creating conditions that make it harder for people to provide food, have clean water, and shelter, and be healthy.”

She says the struggle to meet basic needs can make people desperate and can breed religious and political extremism. But improving food and water security can help build and maintain social stability in places that struggle with conditions like drought and extreme heat.

So, Goodman says, fighting the impacts of global warming goes hand-in-hand with preventing extremism.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...