War Not Only Kills People: It’s the Single Biggest Destroyer of the Environment

This is the first of a planned series of articles to be gathered under the umbrella title “War Must and Can Be Ended.”

– Bob Anschuetz

All of the pieces will be based on weekly writing assignments I completed as a participant in a spring, 2017 online study course conducted by World Beyond War, a U.S.-based global activist organization pursuing the ultimate goal of an internationally binding abolition of war.


Most people in the world will agree that war is a horrible thing. Throughout history, it has not only killed and maimed young men in their prime without regard to the justice or injustice of their cause, but, in its modern form, also brought death, homelessness, and misery to millions of innocent civilians. In addition, war has in our own time helped breed the spread of terrorism, raised the specter of nuclear holocaust and the annihilation of life as we know it, robbed us of wealth that might otherwise have been invested in meeting real human needs, and worked to further divide humanity at a time when we have better means than ever before to unite it in the cause of building a more just, secure, and happy world.

Many people will readily concede these points. Yet, without thinking too deeply on the matter, they then recur to the culturally conditioned notions that war has always been with us and is, in fact, necessary as a last resort when conflicts with other nations or groups within nations seem beyond conciliation by reasoned compromise.

To readers of this article who reject the inevitability of war, as well as to those who accept it, I recommend looking into the U.S.-based global anti-war activist organization World Beyond War (WBW). Under the direction of prolific author/speaker/debater/pod-cast interview host David Swanson, WBW is with steady purpose pursuing the ultimate goal of an internationally-binding abolition of war. As I learned in a recently concluded eight-week online study course conducted by the organization, it seeks to achieve that end on the basis of eight fundamental convictions: 1) War can be ended; 2) War is immoral; 3) War destroys freedom; 4) War destroys nature; 5) War can both destroy the environment and, given the current nature of international conflicts, also easily escalate to a nuclear phase capable of annihilating nature, civilization, and mankind by holocaust; 6) War impoverishes and wastes; 7) War can be replaced by an alternative Global Security System, which WBW has already developed and re-publishes annually in updated book form; and 8) War can only be ended by means of a mass global anti-war movement. WBW’s task is to help grow such a movement and to propose new and more effective ways by which it can achieve its goal of abolishing war as an institution. …


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