Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Warlords R Us

“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” – 1992 Rio Declaration.

With all the talk about climate change and environmental disasters, one major issue seems to have skittered under the radar: the endless propensities for war due to tribal conflicts, formal wars and terrorist activities as defined under Homeland Security regulations. War is the most hideously damaging enterprise of all human activity, and we now have the Military-Industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about in high gear all over the globe.

In particular, the environmental impact of war is devastating.This page has a war timeline that examines the destructive impacts of wars over the last century, and you'll notice that they have escalated significantly in the last 20 years.

From the Learn Peace site:

The earth’s environment is battered by war, its preparation, practice and aftermath. It is destroyed as an act of war; it is used as a weapon of war; and its destruction is expensive and sometimes irreversible. Its integral involvement with war is often secret, widely ignored, and easily forgotten – until now.

Now, some people are beginning to talk and listen. Some people are beginning to act. There is a treaty to ban landmines now. There are moves towards tackling the problems of nuclear waste and weapon stockpiles. There is a growing global awareness – with charters to prove it – that war has created consequences which cross boundaries and ignore territories. Natural disasters are costly enough; the cost of war damage is much higher. Even if politics don’t achieve change, economics might.

Corporatocracy has fueled this unending war strategy for profit, and is now complicit in the global encroachment into human rights that has purchased governments and legislatures, created its own armed enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud, and plundered treasuries and ecosystems. Democratic rights even in the US have been eroded as corporations buy police departments with their "donations" to these public instruments of government, and turn them to squelching public outcry against corporate control of government and finance. Corporations fomenting war and weapons of repression (from artillery to guns to financial wealth transfer from sovereign nations and citizens) have become bigger than many countries. A step in the right direction would be massive disinvestment in corporations like Halliburton, Boeing, Rockwell, Northrup Grumman, Blackwater/Xe and this list of war profiteers. Another important step is to increase transparency of corporate money flows and extinguish the corporate shelter tax havens so that corporations carry their share of supporting governments operating under the rule of law, which reduces global systemic risk as well.

The point is, of all of our strategies to combat climate change and achieve sustainable habitation on this planet, ending conflict and repression is the biggest sledgehammer in the toolbox. Corporate influence in this out-of-control war machine must be removed. We've got to make this issue a priority as we pull back on carbon emissions and learn to live within the energy budget that will pass a healthy world onto future generations.