Join host Lama Elhatow for a curated conversation with Swathi Veeravalli, director of climate security and adaptation with the National Security Council, on the impact of climate change on peace and security globally.

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a profound security challenge, with implications that transcend national borders and conventional threat paradigms. The intersection of climate change and security encompasses a spectrum of risks, including heightened conflict potential, national security concerns, and threats to human security. Research in this domain underscores the complex, non-linear pathways through which climate-induced stresses may exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and trigger new security dynamics.

As global heating intensifies, it is imperative to adopt a more nuanced understanding of security that accounts for human agency and the capacity of communities to adapt and manage climate-related risks. This perspective advocates for a shift towards ecological security, where the focus is not solely on state-centric security but also on the resilience of ecosystems and societies in the face of climate change. The evolving climate-security discourse challenges us to rethink traditional security frameworks and devise inclusive, sustainable strategies that address the multifaceted nature of climate-related security threats.

Swathi Veeravalli is the director of climate security and adaptation, at the National Security Council at the White House. She is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, and a member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board – Climate Security Plan for America. She is an interdisciplinary research scientist at the Geospatial Research Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Since 2010, she has been principal investigator on several basic and applied research projects where she focuses on developing the capability to better understand the impact of climate variability upon humans and the environment, and has also been a water analyst at Global Water Intelligence, where she assessed and monitored water, wastewater and desalination projects of the international water industry.

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