Fire / Feu



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

La 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.

On 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 fins militaires.

Une 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Related Link:

What the
World Wants
and How to
Pay for it
using Military
Expenditures

The World Game Institute

 

 

Ecological Consequences
of Globalization's Fist

Militarism with Reference to Global
Warming: Reflections from a Global
Democracy and Anti-War Perspective


Janet M. Eaton, PhD
Academic, activist and educator
April 2003

as 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.
March 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 agree:

"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
Kuala Lampur 


(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.

Environmental 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 our planet?

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.

fires
(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 reasons.

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 insecurity.

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
http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/jmeaton/war/index.htm