Environmental Effects of Warfare – Fiinovation

“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” – 1992 Rio Declaration

Environmental destruction is not caused by weapons or arms specifically designed for its destruction. For example, during World War I, Germany sank an Allied ship containing a million pounds of mustard gas. The slowly leaking gas is expected to pollute surrounding waters for the next 400 years. Fighting between Allied and Japanese troops in World War II left approximately 1,080 wrecked ships, including fuel tankers, on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. In July 2001, nearly fifty seven years after it was sunk, a typhoon shifted the USS Mississnewa, rupturing its hull, and releasing some of its oil into important fishing grounds.

The environment becomes a hapless witness to the tyranny of the human destructive forces or the weapons of mass destruction. From the advent of First world war, many wars have been fought which led to the exploitation of nature and ravaged the natural resources it provides the community. Natural resources has been a bone of contention between countries and communities since ages. Over the past 60 years, at least 40% of internal conflicts had a link to natural resources and since 1990 there have been at least 18 violent conflicts fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources. It is also the case that conflicts with a natural resource link are more likely to relapse within five years of a peace agreement(UNEP).

It has been recognized around the world that natural resources can contribute to the violent conflict. This attribute of natural resources and environment highlights its ability to pave a pathway for stabilization, cooperation and consolidation of peace in war ravaged lands and societies. Environment can help and contribute to peace process through interventions like economic upliftment of communities and sustainable livelihoods. These corrective interventions would build a platform where cooperation over management of livelihood option would provide breakthrough for dialogue and reconciliation between divide groups or communities. Fiinovation in partnership with NGOs is implementing environmental projects which helps in attaining green economy in a clean and sustainable way. These projects by Fiinovation reduce the biotic pressure on the natural resources and help environment maintain its potential carrying capacity.

In the recent past, conflicts have occurred in the poor(least developed countries) that lack the resources and the political institutions to rebuild damages inflicted on landscapes through the havoc of war. Environmental impacts can also result from conflict when mass migration of population as refuges to previously protected or underdeveloped land, which is often destroyed by slash and burn techniques and overharvesting of the natural resources. Decades of conflict in a number of African and South East Asian nations have displaced many thousands of civilians onto marginal lands, leading to malnutrition, famine, and environmental degradation. Tens of thousands of refugees displaced by Rwanda’s brutal civil war have been left to eke out their survival along the edges of that country’s vulnerable jungle woodlands, threatening the already small populations of endangered flora and fauna in that region.

Without the support of viable ecosystem services, including potable water and arable land, the recovery of war-torn societies is under immense pressure. There have been a number of international agreements promulgated and put in place in the last fifty years that attempt to restrain environmental destruction associated with warfare, including the 1999 Treaty to Ban Landmines, the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, and the 1978 Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques.

All these said and done the real change will arrive once we start caring for our nature and its future. The first step will start from an individual and will spread as a ripple effect. If we start behaving like a responsible human being and strive for cleaner and greener future we can save our planet and help it sustain life perpetually.

We at Fiinovation are trying to bridge the gap between man and nature through our environment friendly and sustainable livelihood projects.

Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt.Ltd


“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.”

“Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.”


25 thoughts on “Environmental Effects of Warfare – Fiinovation

  1. Rahul Choudhury says:

    Conflicts over natural resources are dangerous for mankind, we should work together to stop them immediately. Destroying natural resources during conflicts may not be in the minds of the people who are involved in the conflicts but there are always collateral damage that happens. The world lacks a plan to counter the collateral damages during insurgencies. Even the Geneva convention was focused on rules of engagement among armies but it dint enlighten the world over other destruction that is caused due to ravaging wars.


  2. Abira says:

    Deforestation has also been used in war to stop the enemy forces from taking cover under forests . A modern example of this was the use of Herbicide Orange used by the USA army in Vietnam War from 1961-71.


    • gaurav says:

      Use of agent orange had dual purpose during Vietnam war. Along with defoliation of the forested area they pushed the local communities for forced draft urbanization in the cities of USA dominance.


  3. Manjit says:

    International Organization should consider environmental impact of war during the course of planning their strategies throughout the world and focus on eliminating war and these issues will solve themselves.


  4. Iffat Anjum says:

    The countries who initiate the war and who take violent steps in stopping any war have serious negative impact on flora and fauna .The rehabilitation procedure cannot heal the effects of war and destruction caused to environment and natural resources.


  5. Even the Gulf war saw the use of a different agent which caused irreparable harms to the environment. it was estimated that over 11 million barrels of oil was intentionally released into the Gulf canal causing an oil spill larger than the Exxon oil spill. Many such impacts have been seen but have been ignored by the governments around the world. A Nation’s defense is considered to be of much more importance than its environment…


  6. Jasleen Gandhi says:

    Considering the non-nuclear conflict , some of the extremely environmentally damaging tactics have been banned , like destroying the forest canopy with chemical defoliants – a tactic used by the U.S military , extensively in Vietnam. It now falls under the violation of Chemical Weapons Convention


  7. lipika singh says:

    The effects of war on environment is obvious , however a lesser researched and equally disturbing part is that in various scenarios , environmental damage itself leads to conflict . As observed in the resource-poor parts of Africa , Middle-East and South East Asia , military force has been used for material gain


  8. purnima says:

    Man cannot destroy this planet. This planet lives on a much vaster scale. But with such wars taking place, human beings are destroying their own resources. There must be optimum utilization of resources so that World War IV will not be fought with sticks and stones as per Einstein’s predictions.


    • gaurav says:

      Human race is pretty much capable of destroying this planet.
      Every system has a carrying capacity and biotic potential. we are on the verge of doing it.


  9. Suhail Haque says:

    Very true indeed. In my last visit to Srinagar, I met several conflict affected children, some of them lost both their legs, eyes, some became paralyzed etc from blasting of landmines near their agricultural and playing field. With environment these kind of war tactics have eaten up the children from inside, have demoralized them. Poor families are selling all their assets for the medical treatment which is very expensive to bring some normalcy in the lives of their children. The children and families are still fighting even after the war is over or “Is it really over?”.


    • Pankaj says:

      very true Sohail and Gaurav…we humans have capability to make nuclear weapons which can cause maximum destruction and aftereffects are beyond our imagination.Even some of physical healing can be successful but the mental trauma last till grave.We can only realize if we listen the horrified tales of the war affected people.


  10. Sreevidhya says:

    Several UN treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the 1977 Environmental Modification Convention have provisions to limit the environmental impacts of war or military activities and prohibits the use of environmental modification methods having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.


  11. Kaif Siddiqui says:

    If we treat our self as a responsible and accountable human beings of this nation and not indulge in any crime and violence, then definitely we can step up to overcome with this big issue.


  12. nilendri says:

    As stated by Einstien-I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
    The issue is to demarcate limits and boundaries of exploitation. Loot of Natural resources must stop. Nature can suffice for every man’s needs not his wants!


  13. Vipra Verma says:

    How serious are the threats to our environment? If we continue to do exactly what we are doing, with no humanity and consideration for our environment, the world in the latter part of this century will be unfit to live in. The more skillful human beings become at making over natural balances to suit themselves, the greater the potential for catastrophe….!!


  14. Arunima says:

    At times mankind doesn’t realize that the outcomes of warfare have direct co-relation with the ecosystem at its vicinity and around. In the era of competitive world, each being is living for its self and committing mistakes and destroying the ecosystem – the layer of protection.


  15. Joyita Bhattacharya Pathak says:

    The inherent desire of conflict in mankind has only brought destruction to the planet. The important idea is to develop policies which promote the idea of conservation beyond the economics of war.


  16. Ujjwal says:

    The way we are moving ahead with wars in our greed the day is near when this planet will be a difficult place to live in and we human’s won’t be able to control it at that moment.


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