Humanity faces a global environmental crisis from which war both distracts us and which it exacerbates including but not limited to adverse climate change which will disrupt agriculture, create droughts and floods, disrupt disease patterns, raise sea levels, set millions of refugees in motion, and disrupt natural ecosystems on which civilization rests. We must quickly shift the resources wasted in laying waste to addressing major problems humanity now faces. Starting with the military is a logical step. Not only does the out-of-control military budget take away much needed resources for addressing the planetary crisis, the negative environmental impact of the military alone is tremendous.
Connecting the dots – illustrating the impact of war on the environment
• THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE USES MORE FUEL PER DAY THAN THE COUNTRY OF SWEDEN
• THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERATES MORE CHEMICAL WASTE THAN THE FIVE LARGEST CHEMICAL COMPANIES COMBINED
• A F-16 FIGHTER BOMBER CONSUMES ALMOST TWICE AS MUCH FUEL IN ONE HOUR AS THE HIGH-CONSUMING US MOTORIST BURNS A YEAR
• THE US MILITARY USES ENOUGH FUEL IN ONE YEAR TO RUN THE ENTIRE MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM OF THE NATION FOR 22 YEARS
• DURING THE 1991 AERIAL CAMPAIGN OVER IRAQ, THE US UTILIZED APPROXIMATELY 340 TONS OF MISSILES CONTAINING DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) – THERE WERE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER RATES OF CANCER, BIRTH DEFECTS AND INFANT MORTALITY IN FALLUJAH, IRAQ IN EARLY 2010note11
• ONE MILITARY ESTIMATE IN 2003 WAS THAT TWO-THIRDS OF THE ARMY’S FUEL CONSUMPTION OCCURRED IN VEHICLES THAT WERE DELIVERING FUEL TO THE BATTLEFIELDnote12
We simply can’t go forward with a conflict management system that relies on war in a world which will have nine billion people by 2050, acute resource shortages and a dramatically changing climate that will disrupt the global economy and send millions of refugees on the move. If we do not end war and turn our attention to the global crisis, the world we know will end in another and more violent Dark Age.
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11. http://costsofwar.org/article/environmental-costs (return to main article)
12. Many works deal with the connections between war and the environment. Hastings in Illusion: The Environmental Consequences of War are Insignificant in American Wars. Illusions and Realities: and Shifferd in From War to Peace provide very good overviews of the horrible consequences of war and militarism on the environment. (return to main article)