Business, Environmental Justice and Nationalism

Environmental justice will be the predominant international policy issue of the 21st century. In fact, the environment will be so pervasive it will even make a huge impact on the financial systems of the world.

The environmental degradation of the planet’s biological systems have already begun impacting the financial markets of the world. Take the Florida orange market for example. Combinations of viscous hurricanes, shrinking water tables, storm water floods, and acid rain have taken their toll on some year’s harvest numbers. The price of orange juice skyrocketed during these periods, not to mention the fact that the overall quality of the juice was also affected.

If the environmental conditions under which oranges are cultivated continues to worsen, there may come a time when orange juice is as expensive and as rare as a 50 year old bottle of fine champagne. Although, on the bright side, science will probably discover a way of synthetically creating a chemical powder that tastes just like the essence of oranges and can be added to water, but requires no actual orange for its creation. History will have to be the judge of whether or not these artificial products are healthy or not.

In the field of international politics and nationalism, the Israel-Palestine debacle comes to mind when thinking of events that are shaped in part by environmental problems. One of the most divisive issues in the region are water rights, specifically in the west bank. The Jordan River and many mountain aquifers can be found in the West Bank and Gaza territories. A majority of these water resources are held by Israel. The result of this water arrangement has led to many rural and suburban areas in Palestine becoming ghost towns. If there is not enough water to subsist in these areas, people end up moving to the cities, which then creates a high joblessness rate which in turn leads to crime and the formation of local militias.

While the environment is an important factor in understanding the dispute between these two nations, this article does not claim that it is the only issue which is making peace harder to achieve. Ideological, religious and cultural differences certainly support a great deal of animosity between the two countries. However, things might be a bit different if the division of environmental resources were to be revisited in a more considerate and humane fashion. This scenario might create the “political environment” necessary for real peace to emerge.

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