A Danish health expert and author Widad Akraw quoted, “Across the world, the lack of accountability for the harm to the environment and public health caused by conflict and military activities undermines global efforts to help fragile countries recover from armed conflicts.” One cannot be closer from the truth; military activities put various pressures on our environment, but their contribution to environmental degradation is often overlooked. A reason for this is that the military is not considered an "industry" despite acting as one in many respects. Another reason is that states have double standards. We don't want the military to follow the level of transparency and accountability demanded by people in other states and civil society.
Military activities produce large amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to anthropogenic climate change, pollution, and resource depletion, among other environmental impacts. The evolution of war from chemical to nuclear weapons is putting more and more pressure on ecosystems and the environment. Specific examples of the environmental impact of war include World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Rwandan Civil War, Kosovo War, and the Gulf War.
In addition to that, warfare can produce massive toxic pollutants in the environment which, at some point, also harmed American soldiers. In 2014, Newsweek reported that the Pentagon's environmental program is addressing 39,000 contaminated sites nationwide, including 141 superfund sites eligible for long-term federal rehabilitation grants. Soldiers at bases like Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been drinking contaminated water for years, causing many deaths and illnesses.
Among others, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are probably the most devastating effects of war on the environment. Although their use has been severely restricted since the U.S. military bombed Japan at the end of World War II, military analysts have serious concerns about the proliferation of it increasing. Researchers have pointed out that the use of depleted uranium is a particularly dangerous military trend, as it has been evaluated as a weapon for its ability to penetrate tank armour and other defences. An estimated 320 tons of uranium was used in the 1991 Gulf War. When carried by wind currents, fallout can cause far-reaching environmental damage
From an ecological point of view, the loss of natural habitat due to development near military installations can adversely affect the biodiversity of the base, and military land has been designated as an important habitat for endangered species.
In utilising and conserving the natural resources of the Nation, humanity needs foresight more than any other characteristics. Human beings have been waging war and destroying the environment for a long time. But just because it has become an unquestioned habit doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to continue.
Humankind itself is a part of nature, and their war against nature is an inevitably war against themselves. We can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Let the earth be heard, let the earth breathe.