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War going green

Article en anglais

War entails destruction, death, and loss of biodiversity. While humans have finally realized how the environmental conservation has become important for their survival, battles are sometimes unavoidable. Jean-Marie Collin, expert consultant on issues of defense, explains with examples how to predict post-war states in terms of reducing the harmful effects on nature.

What if it becomes green? Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
What if it becomes green? Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
podcast_war_going_green.mp3 Podcast_War_Going_Green.mp3  (400.83 Ko)

The results of the use, and even the manufacture and possession, of nuclear weapons on health and the environment occupy thousands of documents and web pages. In addition, the issue of geopolitical areas of the world went beyond the dimensions of its components to pose a relatively recent problem, global warming. Jean-Marie Collin, director / coordinator of the organization Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) in France, is now working on the Arctic zone in the heart of global warming. But the main concern is not only at this scale, rather an accumulation of harmful effects of wars and military training count as well. The link between guns and the environment is evident in the consequences of nuclear tests, but the environmental results of war, where some weapons leave traces very difficult to remove, is more common, the expert explained.

The link between defense and environment makes weapon manufacturers aware of the need to produce materials of wars that are more easily recyclable at the end of their use, Mr. Collin said. The main work in this area is seen in the construction of military ships. Instead of sinking the ship after its use, one might deconstruct then reconstruct it, clarified the French director of PNND, and it makes the ship cheaper, he added. One should not forget the green engines for European helicopters that are designed to reduce fuel consumption, emissions of nitrogen monoxide and dioxide, and noise. These helicopters can use alternative fuels of second generation (from non-food origin).

There were attempts to produce green munitions, containing less lead, in the United States. In fact, the army found that the billions of bullets used by their troops during their training for about forty years resulted in the pollution of ground water by lead, noted Mr. Collin.

Americans certainly have a lot of research on the relationship between defense and environment and the various problems of the subject. Their troops in Afghanistan have built machines to prevent the use of electrical generators that run on diesel. These are devices that rely on solar energy, thereby helping to reduce the environmental impact of armed troops on a country or in a conflict scenario, the expert reported during the interview.

That said, all these attempts indicate that the proliferation of weapons will not follow a decline in the years to come, now that their effects on nature will be increasingly reduced. But the harmfulness of arms will always keep a large impact on us, as the expert Jean-Marie Collin said, not with a sense of humor it is not with fruits and vegetables that we are going to make war!

Video below of a proposed U.S. Army project to render the energy consumption of one of their bases in 2015 to zero

You may also read a French version of this article by clicking here


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