How Does Climate Change Relate to War?

War Abroad

The US has 900 military bases and outposts in 130 countries. Since 2000 it has deployed combat troops to more than 20 countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning to wind down, but the US is expanding its military presence in the Middle East, Africa, and the Pacific Rim and preparing troops for subzero combat in the Arctic.

War at Home

The 1 percent gets bailouts for Wall Street while the rest of us get foreclosures and cutbacks. The banks are propped up while the infrastructure is allowed to crumble. Big Energy gets trillion-dollar subsidies while unions, immigrants, and communities of color fight for their lives. And the public sector is being auctioned off cheap to the private sector.

War on the Planet

Climate change is causing droughts, wildfires, floods, and storms like we’ve never seen before–yet we continue to pump ever more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. Wetlands and forests are disappearing. Our air, our land, our water are being poisoned. Species are going extinct at rates not seen since the dinosaurs and whole ecosystems are dying. Yet corporations and governments continue to promote their unsustainable policy of “growth”, ignoring the reality of a planet with finite resources.

A Common Thread

Today, international conflicts increasingly revolve around control of essential resources–oil, minerals, land, water. War destroys the environment, wrecking agriculture and infrastructure, killing and displacing millions of people, leaving a landscape of lethal chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation in its wake.

The US military is the biggest single consumer of fossil fuels in the world. And who’s footing the bill? Not the 1 percent–they’re getting rich off war. The rest of us are paying for these wars with our blood, with cutbacks, with the destruction of other countries and societies–but most of all with the environmental IOU that is being passed on to our children.

Climate change is upon us–we need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and go full speed ahead on wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal energy. We need to transition workers out of jobs in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy–and into renewable energy. Into good jobs, union jobs, jobs with benefits and safety oversight. Jobs that stay here in the US. And we need to get out of the war business: converting to renewable energy gives us true energy independence and the possibility of peace.