Humans have depended on natural resources and the environment to win wars. Environmental damage has implications for people and ecosystems. Therefore, protecting civilians first requires safeguarding the environment they depend on. Many people don’t realise the hugely destructive effect war can have on the natural environment.
There is a need to protect civilians from wars harm, aid victims after battles, and utilise environmentally valuable tools to regenerate ecosystems.
Environmental damage before wars conflicts
The environmental impact of wars begins long before they do. Building and maintaining military forces consume extensive quantities of resources. These might be common metals or rare earth elements, water or hydrocarbons. Military vehicles, planes, crafts, buildings and infrastructure all require energy. The CO2 emissions of the militaries are more influential than many of the world’s countries combined.
In addition, militaries also need large land and sea areas for facilities, testing and training. Military training creates emissions, disrupts landscapes and terrestrial and marine habitats. It creates chemical and noise pollution from weapons, aircraft and vehicles.
So how exactly does war leave its impact on the environment? Below is an outline of some of the most significant hazards:
The toxic metal often remains in water sources, leading to serious health issues for both humans and animal life. The significant results are destroying agricultural infrastructures like canals, wells and pumps, and crops’ burning. Tactics like these threaten food security and livelihoods, increasing the vulnerability of local communities. Wrecked or damaged ships, submarines and offshore oil infrastructure can cause marine pollution.
2. Increased Deforestation
Deforestation often increases during conflicts. Deforestation is rapidly accelerated by excessive firing or overharvesting of wood and charcoal for fuel by communities. As a result, animals have lost their habitats, plant species have become extinct. Thus, desertification is emerging as a growing concern.
3. Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Fuel used in military training operations releases carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and CO2 into the air. War rapidly accelerates fuel use. It means more demand for oil and a rapid increase in CO2 emissions. In landscapes subjected to excessive use by heavy military vehicles, toxic dust is a genuine environmental issue. As a result, toxic dust can cause severe respiratory disorders for military personnel and residents too.
The only war we should be fighting against is climate change. Therefore, let us take appropriate actions to reduce the ill effects of this disaster. Let’s put aside our differences and working towards a sustainable future.