War and Environmentalism

It’s something very defining to live through a time of war. I am not one of those people who’s civilian lives have been ravaged by war; and so to begin I had to do some research. All of my interpretations are objective, taken from primary or secondary accounts — none of my own.

I think a lot about how war is started between countries, and how it can all come down to greed. Very select people in power who want more power dominate and manipulate the economy in order to make more money (meaning more power). It’s a constant cycle, and everything is cross-sectional. I know that it is the greedy white capitalists in my own country that have used wars like Vietnam to take advantage of their own and other’s resources. I know that in Syria and Libya, the United States has sent resources to protect dictators in power and our economic interest in the country.

War wrecks havoc.

VIETNAM [Google Images]

War is death for citizens, and death for homeland: the two most humanizing things in civilization.

In Syria the debris of buildings from bombing is evident that the landscape in in disarray from years of warfare. But also the use of chemical weapons has killed hundreds of civilians (and their livestock as pictured left), with unknown permanent effects to the environment.

The two year Eritrean-Ethiopian War caused by border control has lead to the deaths of nearly 550,000 people and most of the infrastructure of Ethiopia has been completely destroyed. Without the infrastructure, how is the economy supposed to prosper if it cannot ship goods? How are villages and cities that may rely on imported goods for food or basic needs supposed to live on. The deterioration of the infrastructure is a tactical way of isolation and then oppressing a nation that is already dealing with political conflict.

For many of these wars, it is the political conflict met with a factor in physical space and time that creates the unsolvable. In Syria, its not just the militarized regime, it’s the foreign oil investments too.

Rwanda was a “failure of humanity.” The civil war ending in genocide stemmed from racism and political beliefs; but also environmental factors, such as population control and agricultural practices (both advanced and harmful).

War for land seems to be the most primitive: case study, the Romans. But an even more classic war is conjured in my mind. The Trojan War, as told in the Illiad by Homer, is the story of Agamemnon, King of Mycene, battling the Trojans for his brother’s wife Helen that was stolen by the prince Paris. Now it may seem like there is no environmental issues with this war, and perhaps in a modern day sense one can draw an indirect correspondence between Helen and economic interest (such as big oil). But there are many instances where the gods (as forces of nature intervened). Plague rained down on the Greeks, the walls of Troy fells, and fire was big enough for beacons all the way to Mycene to see. So many innocent people died.

Wars are fought on soil; and who’s soil is not so much the question, as what will the soil do to fight back. To retaliate the warfare, will it produce famine,plague,or natural disaster. It seems mystical, but it scientific. Whatever we inflict upon the earth, the damage comes back to us threefold.