The Impact Of War and Weapons On Humans And The Environment
Modern warfare needs environmental rules as well as those protecting civilians and prisoners of war. Every effort must be made to limit the environmental destruction caused by conflict. Environmental damage should never be a deliberate aim.
Moreover, excessive military spending needs to stop.
Control of conflict is one of the ways of protecting the planet and one of the sources of conflict is human poverty resulting from environmental degradation. Migration of populations from devastated areas can be another cause of conflict.
Maintaining the existing degree of biodiversity is crucial in the fight against bio-weapons and bio-terrorism because the more species of flora and fauna we have access to, the greater the chance of finding antidotes for the biological toxins used in biological warfare. For every toxin produced by an animal or plant to protect itself, there is likely to be an antidote in a nearby creature or plant that feeds on or grows next to it.
As individuals, we can support groups which are working to end the international arms trade or environmental groups concerned about the impact of war. Just a few of these are:
The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK. The UK is one of the world’s largest exporters of arms in the world: the government’s Defence Export Services Organisation assists British arms and military equipment manufacturers and facilitates sales to countries which are already engaged in armed conflict. See the CAAT website www.caat.org.uk.
Similar work is being done in Canada by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) – see the website www.coat.ncf.ca - and in Australia by the Australian Campaign Against the Arms Trade (ACAAT).
Oxfam and Amnesty International are calling for an international arms trade treaty to control the illegal arms trade. Illegal sales are often the diversion of arms from official sales. See the websites www.amnesty.org and www.oxfam.org.uk
Environmentalists Against War is a group pressing the US government to stop the development of mini-nuclear weapons and atomic bunker-busters. Their website is
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has a website www.icbl.org. Signatures are collected here for the People’s Treaty.
Green Cross of Switzerland works to clean up sites affected by chemical and radioactive contamination. Their website is www.greencross.ch