The Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) offers us all a dire warning: war may push our planet past its tipping point.
With the world already in a precarious environmental situation, the APGF wishes for “all parties to find a lasting peaceful solution through collaborative diplomatic efforts.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has received international condemnation from many environmental organizations including the APGF. Not only does modern warfare itself produce a great deal of damage and pollution, but existing environmental regulations are often ignored during and after war.
Such a point was highlighted by the Conflict and Environmental Observatory, a humanitarian research organization: “[T]he collapse of environmental governance associated with conflicts can create or sustain the conditions that allow polluting practices to flourish, and constrain efforts to address them.” In other words, there is more environmental harm to be concerned with other than the immediate impact of modern warfare.
The APGF also acknowledged that it is not merely the responsibility of Russian and Ukrainian governments to solve the entirety of this war – banks, arms manufacturers, military contractors, energy giants, and other actors are implicated in this internationally.
“The APGF calls upon all stakeholders to make efforts… we appeal to those countries who produce arms to review their own role in facilitating conflicts of this kind and encourage investment of those funds and resources in developing and supporting sustainable green solutions. All governments should respect and advocate for the democratic institutions and civil society organisations of Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.”
Like the APGF, the International Committee of the Red Cross emphasizes the disastrous relationship between conflict and climate change. They state the “indirect effects of conflict can also result in further environmental degradation, for example: authorities are less able to manage and protect the environment; large-scale displacement places strain on resources; natural resources can be exploited to sustain war economies.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross, the APGF, and the Conflict and Environmental Observatory each recognize the objective harm alongside the immense risk to the environment due to conventional warfare. The message is clear, but certain big business interests and political actors seem not to mind. Perhaps the problem is not that humans create things that are capable of destroying the planet, but instead, that there is too much importance surrounding ideas of greed as opposed to community.