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The Environmental Destruction Wrought by War – September 20, 2017

Transitioning from terracide to ecolibrium

Even before war breaks out, the Earth suffers. Minerals, chemicals, and fuels are violently wrested from Earth’s forests, plains, and mountains. Much of this bounty is transformed into aircraft, gunboats, bullets, and bombs that further crater, sear, and poison the land, air, and water of our living planet. War is, and has always been, nature’s nemesis.

photo of military training in USPhoto by Marines, FlickrMarines participate in a training exercise in southern California. US military activities exact a large toll on the environment.

In his 2001 book War and Nature, Edmund Russell observed: “Since at least the days of the Old… more

by: Gar Smith

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Oil Spills in the Sky – July 28, 2016

Looking back at a 1997 Earth Island Journal report on pollution from the airline industry

On July 25, CBS News joined the rest of the mainstream media to acknowledge mounting concerns over atmospheric pollution from jet aircraft. "The government has found that jet engine exhaust is adding to climate change and endangering human health, and needs to be regulated," CBS reported. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to employ the Clean Air Act to reduce the impacts of jet-pollution.

American Airlines B777, N730ANphoto by Aero Pixels, on FlickrEarth Island Journal’s Summer 1997 issue drew attention to the airline industry’s impact on Earth’s atmosphere.

The EPA’s action came in the wake of a… more

by: Gar Smith

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The Pentagon’s Hidden Contribution to Climate Change – January 18, 2016

World’s single greatest institutional consumer of fossil fuels remains exempt from reporting its pollution

During the November 15, 2015 Democratic presidential debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sounded an alarm that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Citing a CIA study, Sanders warned that countries around the world are “going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”

Army Air Corps Lynx Mk9A Helicopter Refuelling at Camp Bastion, Afghanistanphoto by Defence Images, on FlickrAn Army Air Corps helicopter at a refueling point in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day.

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by: Gar Smith

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Washington’s Columbia Generating Station Is a Seismic Timebomb – May 5, 2014

New studies reveal nuclear plant is near major faults

The landscape of eastern Washington State is deceptively tranquil: a pastiche of vineyards, farms, scrub grass, ridges and windmills. But what appears peaceful and settled in the moment has proven restive and violent over geologic time. Beneath the glacial trough of the Puget Lowland, and extending east through the Cascades to the Columbia Basin, lies a hidden landscape of geomorphic rubble – broken basalt, vast shards of continental rock, volcanic ash, and layers of ancient sediment. Like a picnic blanket spread over a minefield, the Columbia Basin's flat meadows and rolling hills veil an oft-times explosive past.

Hanford Nuclear ReservePhoto by the US Department of Energymore

by: Gar Smith

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Another Take on Pandora’s Promise – June 28, 2013

Pro-nuclear power film obscures as much as it reveals

You’ve got to give the producers of Pandora’s Promise credit for gumption. It takes a lot of chutzpah to release a pro-nuclear polemic in the wake of the triple meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. The film also suffered the ignominy of opening the same week that the owners of California’s troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station announced the permanent shutdown of the facility’s two crippled reactors. Even the film’s title takes a bit of nerve; it was Pandora’s Box, after all, that unleashed a host of once-contained evils into the world.

movie poster

So, given the extensive history of nuclear mishaps and near-catastrophes, how do the… more

by: Gar Smith

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