The Humanist Café

   Wednesday, January 3, 7:00 to 8:30 pm

James Bay New Horizons

     234 Menzies Street James Bay

Discussion Topic: Military Conflicts And The Environment – The Increasing Impacts

moderator: John Pope

The methods of modern warfare cause tremendous devastation to the environment. The progression of warfare to chemical weapons and nuclear weapons has increasingly created great stress on ecosystems and the planet.
Military environmental destruction has many manifestations:  unexploded ordnance, herbicidal defoliations, the testing of nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions, fossil fuel use, intentional flooding, and biological warfare.

Some military strategies deliberately target the environment:

[Kuwaiti oil fires set by retreating Iraqi forces during the Gulf War  -Wikipedia]


[During the Vietnam war, Mangrove forests were often destroyed by herbicides.  -Wikipedia]

Unexploded landmines are continuing to kill thousands every year:

The Ottawa Treaty, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention: To date, there are 163 state parties to the treaty including Canada.  33 UN states, including the United States, Russia, China and India are non-signatories.

4 major conflicts have caused at least 10,000 direct violent deaths in current or past calendar year: Syrian Civil War 29,000, War in Afghanistan 23,024, Mexican Drug War 14,771, Iraq Conflict 12,548 (source – estimates by Wikipedia ).  See the rest of the list here:


How can the continued environmental devastation from military conflict be curtailed or mitigated?

What are the prospects for reducing conflicts in the world?

Further reading

War and Nature: The Environmental Consequences of War in a Globalized World”  By Jurgen Brauer (2009)

See you there!