Monday, 5 October 2020

The Military.

        The hypocrisy of the world's states in their chattering about climate change and environmental damage, is blatant and demeaning to any intelligent person. I say "chattering", for that is all they are doing, the murmurings about us having to change our lifestyles, save energy, develop a green economy, are all good and well in their place, but will not solve our problem. Not one state has come up and openly mentioned, or even hinted at, what is knowingly the largest environment destructive process on the planet, if halted would be a revolutionary change for the better for the environment. I refer to the the military, excluding wars, the military with its vast expenditure  and use of vast amounts of the planets resources, its testing and then destruction of old armaments to be replaced with new later super destructive ones send the pollution rate through the roof, with the Pentagon leading the charge. Add to this the endless wars and you have the most destructive force on Earth as far as the environment and its infrastructure are concerned. It is estimated the between 1-6% of the Earth's surface is used for military training, storing and testing, add to this the manufacturing base and the surface decimated by those endless wars, and the picture of the environmental destruction becomes obvious. To save the planet we should be attacking the state and its partners, capitalism and its industrial military complex.

The following from Conflict and Environment Observatory 

Environmental damage before conflicts
        The environmental impact of wars begins long before they do. Building and sustaining military forces consumes vast quantities of resources. These might be common metals or rare earth elements, water or hydrocarbons. Maintaining military readiness means training, and training consumes resources. Military vehicles, aircraft, vessels, buildings and infrastructure all require energy, and more often than not that energy is oil, and energy efficiency is low. The CO2 emissions of the largest militaries are greater than many of the world’s countries combined.
      Militaries also need large areas of land and sea, whether for bases and facilities, or for testing and training. Military lands are believed to cover between 1-6% of the global land surface. In many cases these are ecologically important areas. While excluding public development from these areas can benefit biodiversity, the question of whether they could be better managed as civil protected areas is rarely discussed. Military training creates emissions, disruption to landscapes and terrestrial and marine habitats, and creates chemical and noise pollution from the use of weapons, aircraft and vehicles.----

       A UK battle group training on the British Army Training Area Suffield (BATUS), Alberta Canada. Much of what we know about the potential health and environmental risks from the residues of weapons come from training ranges, with very little data from conflict contexts. Now commonly used explosives are under increasing scrutiny thanks to civil chemicals legislation. Credit: Ministry of Defence 

Environmental damage during conflicts
       The environmental impact of conflicts themselves vary greatly. Some international armed conflicts may be brief but highly destructive. Some civil wars may last for decades but be fought at low intensity. Many contemporary conflicts have blurred the lines, lasting years but with sustained periods of high intensity warfare. Who is fighting, where they’re fighting and how they’re fighting all strongly influence the environmental impact of a conflict.
      High intensity conflicts require and consume vast quantities of fuel, leading to massive CO2 emissions and contributing to climate change. Large scale vehicle movements can lead to widespread physical damage to sensitive landscapes and geodiversity, as can the intensive use of explosive ordnance. The use of explosive weapons in urban areas creates vast quantities of debris and rubble, which can cause air and soil pollution. Pollution can also be caused by damage to light industry and environmentally sensitive infrastructure such as water treatment plants. The loss of energy supplies can have reverberating effects that are detrimental to the environment, shutting down treatment plants or pumping systems, or can lead to the use of more polluting fuels or domestic generators.----

Debris and rubble in Mosul in 2018. The city was left with at least 8 million tonnes of rubble. Unless managed properly, the disposal of post-conflict rubble and debris can create new environmental problems. Credit Hassan Partow/UNEP

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