Environmental Destruction and War

Environmental destruction and war are inextricably linked. Wars take place in all kinds of climates and landscapes. They increase demand for many types of natural resources, both in preparing for war and fighting a war. These include food, water, fuel, building materials, chemical compounds, minerals, and many others. The armed forces, weapons, and soldiers that consume these resources have huge impacts on the land, sea, and sky. Wars leave behind damage that can fade in a few years or, in the case of nuclear weapons, last thousands of years.

Environmental destruction from warfare can be accidental or unintended, part of the “collateral damage” of warfare. Environmental damage can also be deliberate, part of offensive and defensive strategies. In either case, the effects on landscapes, societies, ...

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