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A peaceful scene along the Dallas Cliffs, Victoria BC. There are the remains of ancient fortifications all along the top of the cliffs built by First Nations people to control enemy boats going round the bend into the inner harbor. in 1852 Native people led the explorers to that harbor which is now the City of Victoria. Looking west across the water, there were more fortifications. Later during WWI new military installations were built on both sides and for WWII giant search lights were added. War has been around a long time.


Drop in any time of day or night to say hello.



Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums on my balcony





News & Information



WAR AND THE ENVIRONMENT
some examples
IMAGES OF DEVASTATED battlefields are all too familiar. A German officer in 1918 described ‘dumb, black stumps of shattered trees which still stick up where there used to be villages. Flayed by splinters of bursting shells, they stand like corpses upright. Not a blade of grass anywhere. Just miles of flat, empty, broken and tumbled stone.’ The ploughs in Flanders fields still turn up human bones every year.

But it’s the testing and manufacture of the nuclear bomb which has been responsible for some of the most profound and persistent environmental damage to life on earth. “The complex mixture of contaminants found on many military sites is dynamically moving through the environment,’ says a medical expert. Radiation problems affect people near nuclear plants in every country that has them. Repair and maintenance of many installations and equipment are dangerously inadequate. Nuclear waste is a global problem that won’t go away,


The Environmental Consequences of War

Forests/Biodiversity

Throughout history, war has invariably resulted in environmental destruction. However, advancements in military technology used by combatants have resulted in increasingly severe environmental impacts. This is well illustrated by the devastation to forests and biodiversity caused by modern warfare.

Military machinery and explosives have caused unprecedented levels of deforestation and habitat destruction. This has resulted in a serious disruption of ecosystem services, including erosion control, water quality, and food production. A telling example is the destruction of 35% of Cambodia’s intact forests due to two decades of civil conflict. In Vietnam, bombs alone destroyed over 2 million acres of land.[13] These environmental catastrophes are aggravated by the fact that ecological protection and restoration become a low priority during and after war.

The threat to biodiversity from combat can also be illustrated by the Rwanda genocide of 1994. The risk to the already endangered population of mountain gorillas from the violence was of minimal concern to combatants and victims during the 90-day massacre.[14] The threat to the gorillas increased after the war as thousands of refugees, some displaced for decades, returned to the already overpopulated country. Faced with no space to live, they had little option but to inhabit the forest reserves, home to the gorilla population. As a result of this human crisis, conservation attempts were impeded. Currently, the International Gorilla Programme Group is working with authorities to protect the gorillas and their habitats. This has proven to be a challenging task, given the complexities Rwandan leaders face, including security, education, disease, epidemics, and famine.

Environmental effects of warfare
The impact of war on the environment and human health

In Africa many civil wars and wars between countries occurred in the past century, some of which are still continuing. Most wars are a result of the liberation of countries after decades of colonialization. Countries fight over artificial borders drawn by former colonial rulers. Wars mainly occur in densely populated regions, over the division of scarce resources such as fertile farmland. It is very hard to estimate the exact environmental impact of each of these wars. Here, a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects, including biodiversity loss, famine, sanitation problems at refugee camps and over fishing is given for different countries.
War on the World
How does warfare affect the environment?
Research on this issue is pretty thin. The human and financial costs of armed conflict are so vast that few people have stopped to consider what war does to rivers, trees, and elephants. In recent years, academics have been much more interested in how environmental degradation contributes to war than in how wars degrade the environment. In addition, no two wars affect the planet in the same way. The environmental devastation from a nuclear war, for example, would be difficult to estimate in advance.

Sticking to nonnuclear conflict, there are a few general points that can be made. Some of the more environmentally damaging military tactics have been banned. For example, destroying the forest canopy with chemical defoliants—a tactic the U.S. military used extensively in Vietnam—is now a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

When War Stops, the Impact on the Environment Lives On
Dead and wounded soldiers and citizens have always been the true currency of war. But another of war's consequences -- and sometimes its cause -- is the destruction of natural resources; the two go hand in hand. In 2001, the United Nations declared November 6 "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict." It is a day to reflect on the massive damage done to ecosystems during war -- damage that can last well beyond the duration of the conflict itself.
Another Casualty of War?: The Environment
From lingering pollution to feeding soldiers on bushmeat, war can be tough on the environment
War is hell. And that hell involves the environment, whether forests, fish or fowl.

There's unexploded ordnance. Fuel spills and fires. Chemical defoliants, polluted water supplies, even the depleted uranium from modern armor-piercing bullets leaching into the land. The bid to build nuclear weapons in recent decades has left a legacy of toxic contamination across the globe, from Rocky Flats, Colorado to Mayak in southern Russia.

mines
Another legacy of war and the environment is what war leaves behind in the form of land mines.
US Landmine Policy
Obama is not the first U.S. President to stand apart from the majority of nations who have already joined the ban. That distinction begins with President Clinton, who deferred the decision through his entire two-term Presidency, ultimately offering a ‘pledge’ that the U.S. would sign in 2006 (after his terms of office ended). In 2004, the Bush administration, following script, rejected Clinton’ pledge and, like its Democratic White House predecessor, refused to sign the treaty.

For most of the rest of the world, the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force on March 1, 1999, just 15 months after it was negotiated — the shortest time ever for a multilateral treaty.


US: Follow Up Rebuke to Syria on Landmines

The US began a comprehensive landmine policy review in late 2009. Over the course of the review, the administration has received letters of support for the landmine ban from 68 Senators, 16 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, key NATO allies, retired senior military personnel, dozens of  leaders of nongovernmental organizations, victims of US landmines, and members of the public. Apparently, inter-agency deliberations have concluded and the policy review has reached the decision-making point.

“By now it should be abundantly clear to President Obama that it is possible for the US to meet its national defense needs and security commitments without antipersonnel mines,” Goose said. “There are minimal costs and maximum benefits to the US joining the Mine Ban Treaty.”



Blog Posts of Interest and Interesting Blogs


The New Yorker Blog: Dexter Filkins
Have Obama and Romney Forgotten Afghanistan?
You can make your own guesses about why the candidates have said so little about Afghanistan—their positions are virtually identical, the economy is more important, etc. My own guess: neither of them knows what to do about the place. In a mere twenty-eight months, the United States is scheduled to stop fighting, and every day brings new evidence that the Afghan state that is supposed to take over is a failing, decrepit enterprise.
joe shikspack
Evening Blues







Debate

Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 05:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Canadian Kossacks, Climate Hawks, and Team DFH.

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