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  • Adrian Lepiten

Environmental War Outcomes: Before, During, and After

War is not a conflict resolution. It is evident in history and studies that war generates more mortality and disability than any other major disease. The use of explosive weaponry in urban areas results in massive amounts of waste and rubble, which pollutes the air and land. Weapon sources and military equipment leave environmental imprints. Principally, it yields catastrophic effects on our health, national well-being, and of course, on our environment.

Many civil wars and wars between countries have happened in the last century, with the majority of hostilities occurring as a result of countries' freedom following decades of colonization. But, in terms of environmental impact, World War I was the most damaging, because of landscape changes caused by trench warfare; soil formations were drastically affected. If the battle was never fought, the landscape would certainly look disparate now.

It is difficult to estimate the exact environmental impact of wars. However, we can provide you with a summary of some of the most striking environmental effects. With the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, it is vital to understand the possible outcomes of our environment. To know more, let’s read War Outcomes: Before, During, and After.

Before War

The environmental effects of war begin even before it started. Massive amounts of resources are required to build forces and sustain military equipment. Producing and building military vehicles, aircraft, vessels, and infrastructure all require energy, and the energy used is oil which is inefficient and finite.

Militaries also require substantial regions of land and water for bases and facilities, as well as testing and training. In many cases, these are carried out in environmentally valuable areas where numerous species of living things are involved. In addition, training emits pollutants and disrupts both terrestrial and marine habitats.

The continuous sustenance and renewal of military equipment entail ongoing disposal costs. Nuclear and chemical weapons cause environmental problems through years of their life cycle. The same holds for conventional weapons that are destroyed through open burning or explosions.

During War

War is never the answer to solve conflicts. The environmental consequences of war vary widely. High-intensity warfare necessitates and uses vast amounts of energy, resulting in massive carbon dioxide emissions and contributing to climate change.

The use of explosive weaponry and heavy vehicles such as tanks, aircraft, and submarines during wartime can cause severe physical damage to landscapes and geodiversity. Military equipment and detonation pollute the environment. Landmines and cluster munitions can obstruct agricultural land access and contaminate water sources.

It also facilitates increased hunting and poaching of wildlife during the war by simply using small arms and light weapons. Wildlife crime because of the food crisis will always result in extinction and endangerment.

After War

War always brings no good to everyone. The bombardment of cities and the destruction of wildlife, agriculture, marine sources, transport system, and irrigation networks after the war will result in poverty. Death of millions will burden the nation, refugees and displaced people will experience all aspects of the crisis. The increased consumption of natural resources will lead to drainage. Resources will run dry, and if managed poorly, it can only create new environmental risks.

The damage that disputes cause to environmental governance might have long-term consequences for environmental protection. The environmental costs of recovery will be enormous and essential, reversing progress will be a lengthy process.

If we overlook the environment after a war, we may not only miss out on opportunities to promote long-term healing, but we may also be preparing states for future resource problems.

War is not the answer!

Histories are evidence that wars are not the solution. With the recent news about Russia and Ukraine, we must take into consideration the possible outcomes of it, especially to the people, environment, and other living things.

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