We already know a great deal about the negative impact that climate change has had on the world. The damage we’ve done to our planet has led to depleted food and other resources, less available habitable land, and simply a lower quality of life for people overall. But could the effects be even worse? According to an AP report, one African activist cautioned the United Nations Security Council that climate change in Africa is leading to conflict, extremism and perhaps even the rise of terrorism.

Hindou Ibrahim said in her speech to the council that because people in her native Chad have been forced to migrate to other, more habitable lands, there have been numerous local conflicts among people struggling to find a place where they can survive. These conflicts have begun growing into larger—national and even international—person. Ibrahim emphasized that by fighting climate change, the UN can do something about this.

“Solutions are there,” she said. “Why not give them access to energy? You can help them go to school. You can help them to get [healthcare]. You can help them to do another alternative in their life and keep them in peace and think about the future.”

The idea of climate change as a threat to national security is a relatively new one to most UN member nations, but Ibrahim insisted that it’s very real. She explained to the UN council, which convened most recently in Sweden, that men in Africa feel “deep humiliation” when they’re unable to feed their families. In times of climate-related strife, they often have to take extreme measures such as joining terror groups.

Ibrahim was optimistic, though, that international diplomacy through the UN could make a difference.

“They do not have any choice,” Ibrahim said of the Africans joining extremist groups. “You do have one because you choose to sit in the council. You choose to fight for our peace and security around the world. You must consider climate change as a security risk. You must give them hope—the men, women, young people.”

Photo: Women in a village in Botswana, Africa. Credit: Michel Piccaya / Shutterstock.com