US soldier stands guard over an Iraqi oil well in 2003. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Global Climate: A Casualty of Wars
Hoped To Be Healed by COP27
Solange Lyhuitekong / World BEYOND War
(November 16, 2022) — States, political, community or regional groups are constantly engaged in conflict that easily becomes armed, aided by the expanding arms industry. When we talk about victims of war, we usually instinctively refer to dead, raped or displaced human beings, as well as livestock. Yet the climate is a silent and neglected victim of armed conflict.
This makes the “International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Conflict” meaningful. The changing climate is a victim of war. This is a diagnosis that must help in the action during the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) happening in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to tackle the root cause that is war.
Cameroon has been facing wars for a decade now, following the terrorism of Boko Haram in the Far North and then the demands of separatists in the North West and South West regions. Since the beginning, it is easy to count the number of people killed, villages burnt, livestock destroyed, human activity slowed down, etc.
We did not notice that the environment suffers silently, under the weight of the war that overwhelms it. Forest, soil, air, water and sanitation have been destroyed. In ten years of armed conflict, the climatic balance sheet is catastrophic with impact on people’s mental health, who no longer have any real control over the climate of their region.
The overcrowding of cities neighbouring conflict areas due to the massive displacement of people fleeing the war contributes to climate changes. The rapid degradation and impoverishment of the soil caused by military equipment and remains has caused the scarcity of foodstuffs on the markets.
In ten years of war, Cameroonians are witnessing how wars have been destroying the planet for centuries, as the climate changes observed are the result of a totally dysfunctional global system. War is not the only cause, but it appears to be the most shameful human cause, because war is neither inevitable, necessary, beneficial nor justified. These are the myths that our organization Word Beyond War — a global movement to abolish the institution of war — is acting to debunk.
The 27th World Climate Change Conference brings the hope to believe that the United Nations and all the voices gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh from 6-18 November will not remain unresponsive to the destruction of our ecosystem. We look forward to collective action to tackle causes of war and ensure that humanity speaks only the language of peace.
Solange Lyhuitekong is the Executive Secretary at Cameroon for a World BEYOND War
War in a Changing Climate
World BEYOND War Webnar
(November 9, 2022) — Wars are raging and the climate is collapsing. Is there something that can be done to address both problems at once? Watch this webinar with Dr. Elizabeth G. Boulton, Tristan Sykes (Just Collapse), and David Swanson, with Liz Remmerswaal Hughes moderating, to hear some new ideas.
Text of David Swanson’s remarks is here.
Here are some articles you can read from Elizabeth Boulton:
- What happens if the climate and ecological crisis is framed as a national threat? Six Insights.
- Climate Change Isn’t a Threat Multiplier. It’s the Main Threat.
- Applying war theory to the hyperthreat of climate and environmental change.
While Boulton recommends shifting resources to counter the Hyperthreat of climate collapse, governments are doing the opposite. One piece of the puzzle is their omission of military pollution from climate agreements. Here is a demand we’re making at the COP27 conference underway in Egypt at the time of this webinar.
Learn about Just Collapse at https://justcollapse.org
Dr. Elizabeth G. Boulton’s Doctoral research explored why humanity was not responding to climate and environmental issues with the same energy and intensity applied to other alleged crises or threats, like the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ or the flawed intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. She found it relates to power underpinned by deeply entrenched ideas about how we perceive threat and danger.
She developed alternate conceptual approaches to threat – the notion that climate and environmental crisis constitutes a ‘hyperthreat’ (a new form of violence, killing, harm and destruction), and the idea of ‘entangled security’ whereby planetary, human, and state security are inherently inter-connected.
Her PLAN E is the world’s first climate and ecologically centred security strategy. It offers a framework for mobilisation and rapid action to contain the hyperthreat. Her professional background is almost equally divided between work in emergency logistics (as an Australian Army Officer and within the humanitarian sector in Africa) and in the climate science and policy sector. She is an independent researcher, and her website is: https://destinationsafeearth.com
Tristan Sykes is co-founder of Just Collapse – an activist platform dedicated to justice in face of inevitable and irreversible global collapse. He is a long-time social justice, environment, and truth activist, having founded Extinction Rebellion and Occupy in Tasmania, and coordinated Free Assange Australia.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk World Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and US Peace Prize recipient. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook
Liz Remmerswaal is Vice President of the Board of Directors of World BEYOND War, and national coordinator for WBW Aotearoa/New Zealand. She is a former Vice President of the NZ Womens’ International League for Peace and Freedom and, in 2017, won the Sonja Davies Peace Award, enabling her to study peace literacy with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in California.
She is a member of the NZ Peace Foundation’s International Affairs and Disarmament committee and co-convenor of the Pacific Peace Network. Liz runs a radio show called ‘Peace Witness’, works with the CODEPINK ‘China is not our enemy’ campaign and is instrumental in planting peace poles all around her district.