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Up to 20 percent of worldwide environmental degradation may be attributable to the world's militaries. These sailors from a U.S. guided missile destroyer in Souda Bay, Greece, in 2008 were carrying out a standard U.S. operating procedure of deploying oil spill containment booms around ships during refueling.
Photo credit: U.S. Navy/Paul Farley

The world's militaries are estimated to be the largest single polluter and consumer on Earth, accounting for up to 20 percent of global environmental degradation. No international treaty drafted to protect the environment has been invoked as a direct response to war. The ecological marginalization of people as well as both environmental scarcities and environmental concentrations of natural resources can contribute to civil violence and armed conflicts, and global climate change is now regarded as ...

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