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The Global Cost of War

Both militarization and climate change lead to -

Military land use

Indigenous populations have been displaced from their homes by military bases and by military training needs. This especially impacts disadvantaged communities, e.g. Diego Garcia.

Fossil fuels

The US Department of Defense is said to be the largest institutional user of fossil fuels in the world. In addition access to oil can trigger military conflict.

Oil spills

Marine contamination may be caused by deliberate "scorched earth" policies or by the escape of oil from sunken vessels.

Depleted uranium (DU)

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Depleted uranium in munitions can become dispersed on impact, contaminating water and soil, and making the environment carcinogenic.

Agent Orange

Agent Orange defoliant and other herbicides, used by the British in Malaya and by the US in Vietnam, caused leaves to fall off trees. This was advantageous militarily but an ecological disaster in tropical forests, decimating wildlife.

Agent Orange also causes cancer.

Minefields

Landmines, unexploded missiles, cluster bombs, etc., can make access to open country hazardous. Neither farmers nor cattle dare enter. Children cannot wander in.

Despite record global investment in land mine clearance in 2017, exceeding $770 million worldwide, nearly 2,800 people were killed and thousands more injured by mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Civilians, half of them children, accounted for 87% of all casualties.

Over half of 62 countries known to have mine contamination are committed to the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, but only four are on track to meet their clearance deadlines. At the current rate of mine clearance, some estimates suggest that it will take over 200 years to clear the world, at a cost of over $100 billion.

Conventional mine clearance relies on dangerous manual labour. A new Israeli company, 4M Analytics, offers a new approach based on artificial intelligence and autonomous robots. This is claimed to offer faster, safer and cheaper results.

Radioactive fallout

Strontium-90 from nuclear weapon testing, nuclear waste disposal and reactor accidents can displace calcium in the human body.
Consequent radioactivity within the bones can cause bone cancer and leukemia.

Contamination of water supplies

Water contamination around military bases can contain harmful chemicals.

Abuse of Animals

Wild animals, farm animals and domestic pets have been among the victims of Agent Orange, napalm and land mines.

Animals are regularly subjected to military-related experiments. It is estimated that 48,400 animals were killed at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire, between 2010 and 2017.

Conversion

Bath Iron Works (BIW) is part of General Dynamics, the arms manufacturer with a factory in Hastings.

Environmentalists in Bath, Maine, are calling for the conversion of their local plant, BIW, to peaceful production.

Their initial proposal to build a massive off-shore wind farm was shelved for lack of state support, despite extensive backing from employees.

Maine students lead a campaign for solar power in Maine schools.

The newly-elected State Government of Maine is taking steps to limit the effects of global warming and acidification on the Gulf of Maine.

Hastings against War salutes our friends in Maine.

See Climate-driven violence