“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