The World is Facing a Crisis

(This is section 7 of the World Beyond War white paper A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. Continue to preceding | following section.)

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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

• MILITARY AIRCRAFT CONSUME ABOUT ONE QUARTER OF THE WORLD’S JET FUEL
• 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

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F-22 Raptor: “Military aircraft consume about one quarter of the world’s jet fuel.” (Image: wall4all.me)

• 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

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“American Legacy” by Steve Fryburg

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.

(Continue to preceding | following section.)

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See full table of contents for A Global Security System: An Alternative to War

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Notes:
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)

13 Responses

    1. Thanks for the link to my blog post about this. Great to see all this useful info about the military’s carbon footprint and other climate changing pollution.

  1. When will environmental organizations call out, or at least mention, the carbon-consuming, pollution-spewing “elephant in the room” – the military?! What’s stopping them? How can “regular” people horrified and scared about climate change, right now burning up thousands of acres in my beautiful home state of California, convince them to take this on?

  2. All this is quite fascinating but nothing is going to change. The problem is human nature and the answer has long since been provided by all the prophets from Moses to Mohammad, who also said that the world would ignore them and not take their advice and would go to hell. Speaking for myself, I’m tired of the oppressive weight of modern civilization and I look forward to seeing this game come to an end.

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