Explore the six trends of environmental change: ECC Exhibition relaunched

The ECC Exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Jakarta

The Exhibition is part of the Climate Diplomacy Initiative and is supported by the grant of the German Federal Foreign Office.

2018 was an important year for our Environment, Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) Exhibition. We set the intention of taking a fresh look at the research and practice around environment and conflict. Our goal was to provide a state-of-the-art, concise and impactful overview of trends in environmental changes that put our societies under pressure. The ECC exhibition does this through a mix of stories, images, and infographics that are relatable to everyone.

Some crucial changes regarding environmental trends and their governance were on our list. Notably, 2015 was the year of global frameworks that transformed the playing field for sustainable policies, albeit their implementation is still a paramount task. Furthermore, the link between environment and conflict is barely disputed in the communities of practice today, and, most importantly, there are some outstanding examples of actions on the ground that reflect these interconnections and bring these from the theoretical realm into day-to-day business.

The ECC team has identified the following trends as most critical and invites you to explore the full online version of the ECC Exhibition in English and Spanish, to learn more about them and about ways of working together.

Six trends of environmental change

We face unprecedented environmental pressures and climate extremes. These changes are threatening the essential resources - fertile land and fresh water - that we all depend on, increasing poverty and damaging the livelihoods of millions of people. In addition, these impacts heighten tensions between groups, fuelling political and economic instability and exacerbating conflict. In turn, instability can make it hard to manage natural resources sustainably, creating a downward spiral - which is especially dangerous for already fragile countries.

1. Climate change

Climate change is one of the greatest threats we all face. If we do not act now, the results will be catastrophic. Yet, as things stand, we are on course for a much warmer world. Greenhouse gas emissions have already increased temperatures, drying up water sources, raising sea levels, and threatening lives and livelihoods around the world. These changes converge with other global pressures to exacerbate global security challenges. Climate change is particularly risky for fragile countries already beset by conflict.

Read how this plays out in the Lake Chad region and find out what the six compound climate-fragility risks are on the climate wall.


2. Energy

Energy fuels economic and social development, and its secure supply is essential to modern societies. Yet, about 1.1 billion people still lack access to electricity. We cannot meet these needs through the fossil fuels that dominate the global energy supply today, as burning them is the leading source of greenhouse gases. Supplies of these resources are also unevenly distributed, which creates geopolitical risks. Providing energy to all people in a sustainable manner will require a new vision and will make a major contribution to development, peace, and security.

See how our energy systems would need to change and what benefits and risks such changes would bring on the energy wall.


3. Migration

Throughout history, people have moved to secure their lives and livelihoods. People migrate to escape persecution or conflict, to seek a better life, or to be closer to their families. As human activities degrade the planet’s resources, environmental changes are reshaping migration patterns. Extreme weather events already displace more people every year than all the world’s conflicts combined. But not everyone can or wants to migrate. Some are deeply attached to their homeland. Others do not need to leave because they can cope with the environmental challenges. And sometimes people who would like to move are trapped.

Find out how the situations differ for people in Fiji, Bangladesh, and in the Horn of Africa on the migration wall.


4. Extractives

We are using more and more of our natural resources, and today’s technologically complex products demand a wider variety of minerals and components. The extraction of these resources has a major impact on the environment and societies across the globe. Furthermore, most resources are extracted in places where the level of resource consumption is low. Large extractive projects often destroy the environment and can trigger or exacerbate conflicts. Discord and discontent can be spurred by competition over land use and water supplies, by pollution and environmental degradation, or by the displacement of communities.

Explore the dire consequences of having smartphones available for two thirds of the world’s youth and find out whether anything can be done about it on the extractives wall.