The impacts of militarism on climate change: a sorely neglected relationship : the effects on human rights and how a civil society approach can bring about system change

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Polsterer, Florian
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Militarism, in the form of the Military-Industrial-Media and Entertainment Complex, is possibly the world’s biggest producer of GHG emissions and ecological degradation. Regardless of whether it is during war or peacetime, the world’s armed forces consume enormous amounts of fossil fuels, produce immense quantities of toxic waste and have exceedingly high demands for all kinds of resources to support their infrastructures, all along being exempted from environmental restrictions and emission measurements. According to the treadmill of destruction theory, war is waged nowadays mainly for securing natural resources which are themselves being massively consumed in the process, thereby establishing a self-perpetuating cycle of destruction. Moreover, military spending diverts massive funding from climate mitigation and adaption initiatives. It seems obvious that militarism is closely related to climate change but unfortunately this connection has been hugely neglected, if not wilfully ignored. This paper illuminates this fateful relation and the political, economic and legal setting in which it thrives as well as obstacles to public awareness. The extensive impacts of climate change on human rights are explored, highlighting unequal burdens and particularly vulnerable groups. Finally, a possible solution for this situation is proposed in the shape of a civil society approach, taking full advantage of the power of nonviolence, bottom-up strategy and the tools of the arts, humour and creativity.
Second semester University: Université du Luxembourg.
civil society, climatic changes, human rights, militarism, environment