Conséquences écologiques de la mondialisation de
l’économie et son poing pas tellement bien caché
Le militarisme en relation avec le réchauffement mondial : réflexions sur
la démocratie mondiale et les perspectives de paix
mondialisation est inextricablement liée avec une économie militaire,
c’est pourquoi l’examen des relations entre la mondialisation économique
et les ravages environnementaux est plus pertinent lorsqu’il repousse
ses limites pour inclure le militarisme.
estime qu’un cinquième de la déterioration de l’environnement
mondial est causé par les activités militaires et connexes.
Par exemple, selon l’analyste Michael Renner, près d’un quard
du kérosène mondial, environ 42 million tonnes par année, est utilisé pour des
étude conclut que le déclin généralisé des écosystèmes du monde
doit être renversé sinon il pourrait survenir des répercussions dévastatrices
pour le développement des humains.
of Globalization's Fist
Reference to Global
Warming: Reflections from a Global
Democracy and Anti-War Perspective
Janet M. Eaton, PhD
Academic, activist and educator
the world bears witness to the human and ecological destruction of war
from the Persian Gulf to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, millions
of citizens have come to see more clearly the relationship
between war and economic globalization.
Porto Alegre World Social Forum.
against War on Iraq and the FTAA
(photo: Janet M. Eaton)
They have become more politically aware and critically inquiring
by virtue of the immediacy and accessibility of the internet's
alternate and progressive listservs, online news and NGO websites,
through online and face to face community discussions and dialogues,
through the mainstream media in some countries, and through
teach-ins, protest marches and world social forums decrying the
injustices and presenting alternatives. As the delusions of
unfettered global capitalism and myths of the dominant mode of
political economic globalization and militarism become transparent,
hundreds of thousands of globally aware citizens are beginning to
take action. Many of them have come to perceive the free
trade agreements and conditionalities of the World Bank and IMF,
particularly in the global South, as economic war on poor people and
the environment, every bit as deadly as military wars.
Global economics and its hidden hand, militarism, have long been
partners. Professor Asoka Bandarage, who views the global capitalist
economy as an extension of colonialism and imperialism dating back
to the European conquest of the rest of the world, notes that this
violent process from the beginning has been dependent on and still
can't survive without the backing of military force.
Thomas Friedman, journalist, author and proponent of economic
globalization, quoted in a New York Times article, would seem to
"For globalism to work, America can't be afraid to act like
the almighty superpower that it is... The hidden hand of the market
will never work without a hidden fist--McDonald's cannot flourish
without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden
fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is
called the United States Army."
In particular, during the last decade of the 20th
century, as the dots between the
foreign policy dynamics in the Middle East, the Balkans and
Afghanistan have been connected, and as the significant degree of
foreign analysis has been absorbed, it has been revealed
that wars are fought to gain control over diminishing global oil
reserves--among other reasons. During the past few months in the
build up to the war on Iraq, manifestations of growing global
awareness have been visible. The merging global justice, anti-war
movement and peace movements took to the streets with a plethora of
creative slogans on their banners and placards including: "No
War For Oil", "How Many Lives Per Gallon?" and
"Sacrifice our SUV's, not our children".
No More Blood for Oil
(photo: Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for PEACE)
A very significant number of citizens now know and recognize
that the industrial economic age based on fossil fuels is drawing to
a close. While a dominant shift in political economic world view
seems at times within reach, the world has nevertheless fallen into
an unfortunate and dangerous situation; a situation where billions
of taxpayers' dollars, from a small coalition of Western Nations,
are funding military operations seeking to gain control over the
remaining fossil fuel reserves. They are doing so in order to extend
a way of life based on an unsustainable globalized growth economy,
indeed empire, that is destroying the planet and millions of
'excluded' peoples at an unprecedented pace with predictable
catastrophic consequences as dire as possible ecological meltdown.
The irony is that the military forces of the new
global American empire are contributing in no small way to the
destruction of the earth with their global reach and invasive
footprint as they massively overconsume and utilize the same fossil
fuel resources they are seeking to control for as long as they last.
Consequences of Economic Growth and Militarism
What has this marriage of free market economic growth,
militarism and war meant for the environment and the ecosystems of
As the 20th century drew to a close, a plethora of
studies and reports delivered the grim facts on the state of the
global environment. A comprehensive study, the first ever integrated
ecosystem analysis, entitled People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web
of Life, issued a stern warning and left little doubt about the
impact of the present economic course on the world's ecosystems.
Indeed, one of its major conclusions was that the broad decline of
the world's ecosystems must be reversed or there could be
devastating implications for human development.
(photo: J. Eaton)
As we have noted above, globalization is linked
inextricably to a military economy and therefore any examination of
the relationship between economic globalization and environmental
destruction is more accurate when expanded to include militarism.
According to Bandarage, the global expansion of weapons production
and military activities may be far more responsible for resource
depletion and environmental destruction than other oft cited
Militarism was recognized as a major threat to the
environment in Our Common Future, The Bruntland Commission Report of
1989, which admonished that war involving weapons of mass
destruction is the gravest threat to the environment. Later, in the
early 1990's, the German Research Institute for Peace Policy
estimated that one-fifth of all global environmental degradation is
due to military and related activities and Joni Seager, in her Earth
Follies, Coming to Feminist Terms with the Global, Environmental
Crisis, argued that whether they are at peace or war, militaries are
the biggest threat to the global environment.
Environmental destruction attributable to militarism
includes not only the more obvious impacts of armed conflict
(conventional war, weapons of mass destruction and troop and tank
activities), but also those created by the presence and wastes of
military personnel and their bases, and the fuel consumption of the
military vehicles, ships and planes, especially jet planes.
Given the alarming warnings around global warming, it is worth noting just how dependent
military operations are on fossil fuel. For example, according to
analyst Michael Renner, nearly one quarter of all the jet fuel in
the world, about 42 million tons per year, is used for military purposes.
Bandarage records that the Pentagon is considered to be one of the
biggest users of oil in the US and perhaps the world. For example,
one B-52 bomber consumes 13 671 litres of fuel per hour, one F-15 at
peak thrust consumes 908 litres of fuel per hour and a Carrier
Battle group consumes over one and a half million litres per day.
She also notes that although little work has been done to calculate
the military contribution to global warming and ozone depletion,
some sources estimate that total military-related carbon emissions
could be as high as 10% of emissions worldwide.
It becomes evident that the military industrial
project of the present US administration and its allies, bent as it
is on empire, and linked as it is to the dominant neoliberal free
market regime with its flawed logic and failed ethics, is leading
the world down a path towards ecological catastrophe and global
Another World is Possible.
Porto Alegre World Social Forum March
(photo: Janet M. Eaton)
One can only hope that the global justice movement
merging as it is into a global anti-war and peace movement will find
a renewed voice and means for sustaining the growing awareness that
"another world is possible". In doing so, we will be able
to demand and create alternatives clearly articulated from a higher
order principle-centred framework which will provide a foundation
for fair trade, local and participatory economics and for renewed
national, local and global governance systems - systems which will
work to end the scourge of war, to stem the tide of ecological
destruction and injustice, and to restore and extend democratic domestic and
international law as the basis for civilization in the 21st century.
For further analysis of the political, ecological
and health consequences of war and for all references cited in this
paper peruse the following website and its papers and references.
Ecological and Health Consequences of War: Lessons
from the NATO Bombings of Yugoslavia