Spaceship Earth: The climate costs of war

The United States has a war problem. Post 9/11, it has been in a state of endless war. This campaign is deadly and has many consequences, from thousands of civilian deaths, like the 30 pine nut farm workers who were recently killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan to pumping the air full of greenhouse gases. Brown’s Watson Institute estimates that 1.212 billion metric tons of greenhouse gasses were pumped into the atmosphere between 2001–2017, which have contributed to natural disasters, crop failure, temperature and sea level rise, which all bring their own casualties. The United States military industrial complex is a death machine of epic proportions that profits a few war material companies like Raytheon and their shareholders all in the guise of maintaining ‘global security.’ 

Have no fear, the United States military knows that it is the single largest polluting entity in the world and is making great strides to guarantee it can still function after the fossil fuels run out. By making bullets that biodegrade and disperse native seeds, they are proving that their compassion for the human species is pure and wholesome. Furthermore, by potentially creating solar powered drones that can fly for a whole week without needing to refuel, green energy systems can be put to good use improving the quality of life for all people around the world! The military is making many improvements that guarantee global strategic supremacy while also slightly reducing the ridiculous amount of greenhouse gasses ejected into the climate.

The U.S. military’s actions and emissions, though bad for the planet, are not just an environmental issue. Climate change is intersectional, and because of worldwide systems of oppression — such as capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and racism — it affects different people differently. Here in the U.S. we have been told that we need the largest military in the world to ‘protect ourselves and our allies,’ but in this day and age climate change poses a much bigger global threat than soldiers. Today the ‘enemies’ are those who are pumping the world full of greenhouse gasses, and since the largest producers of those gasses is the U.S. military it must paradoxically fight itself. Instead of a war fought with guns however, we need to fight this war with reason, by reducing the size of our military so that it can no longer pump out ridiculous amounts of pollution. If the military truly wants to fight for the people and for the protection of the world, it must look inward.

This is not the first time the U.S. military has gone against the interest of the people. The large anti-war movement during the Vietnam War was a factor in bringing the war to an end. People are getting more and more concerned about climate change as its effects grow more and more damaging, and continuing to take mass action will work. The U.S. military needs to relax its choking grasp on the world soon, or else the world will continue to die. The military budget is way too big and instead of continuing to fund ‘green research,’ it’s time to use that funding for real green jobs in the American economy.