Climate Action Shoreline: Ending war is a climate issue

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Hiroshima to Hope Festival at Greenlake
August 2022 Photo by Diane Lobaugh
By Diane Lobaugh

One of the biggest threats to life on our planet is war. Ending war is an important part of Climate Action yet is a difficult topic to look at and talk about.

War kills and hurts people and causes enormous damage to the environment, the eco-systems and other species. 

Building, transporting, and using weapons, emits huge amounts of fossil fuels, destroys infrastructure, food production, homes, hospitals, entire communities. 

Pollution from war contaminates bodies of water, soil, and air, making areas unsafe for people to inhabit.

Communities in the U.S. like Shoreline study and report on what causes the most emissions, and how we can use less fossil fuels. 

The U.S. military data is not included in these reports. Yet the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world and a key contributor to climate change. 

Every year, our armed forces consume millions of barrels of oil to power ships, vehicles, aircraft and ground operations. That is a LOT of fossil fuel! 

The 2022 UN report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has very little information about the effects of the military sector on climate. Emissions from armed forces, military bases and military equipment cause considerable environmental harm around the globe but were excluded from climate treaties such as the UN Paris Agreement 2015.

Olympic Rainforest
Photo by Diane Lobaugh
What can we do as climate activists living in the U.S.?

  • Tell our stories. Every one of us has a story about the impact of war on our lives, on our generation, in our families and on our ancestors. The hurts of war can make it hard to be hopeful, to stay connected to others and to trust each other.
  • Climate Action. We can make ending war part of every climate action plan, locally, in our state and country.
  • Learn about U.S. military bases, their environmental impact and use of fossil fuels.
  • Learn about U.S. arms sales, the building/selling of arms, internally and worldwide. This is a huge, billion-dollar business. From a climate perspective, massive resources are extracted from the earth to build weapons, then they cause massive destruction when used, and then more are needed.
  • Say NO to building more nuclear weapons. Nuclear war is a threat to our planet and humanity. There is a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that we can learn about and encourage our country to sign.
  • Support universal demilitarization. Military budgets and personnel could be used to help the transition to a sustainable, renewable, clean-energy future.
  • Add your ideas.
Our local, national and world communities are in this together. What we do, and where we put our efforts, matters. For the future of humanity, the earth, islands, and ocean, we can end war and live in peace.

I hope to see you in the neighborhood.

Past Shoreline Area News articles based on the pamphlet from Climate Action Shoreline: Start Over Every Sunday, Fossil Fuel Free Friday, Supportive Saturday, What is Climate? and Thinking about our World Community. Climate Action Shoreline


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