INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PREVENTING THE EXPLOITATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN WAR AND ARMED CONFLICT
On November 6th every year, the UN observes the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The day seeks to make people aware of the consequences that war and conflict have on the environment.
Loss of life and the destruction of property are obvious consequences of war and armed conflict. There is another consequence as well. This is the negative effect that war and conflict has on the environment. Some of these negative effects include:
- Water pollution
- Torched crops
- Poisoned soil
- Dead animals
- Destruction of forests
Sometimes these things are even done on purpose in order to gain a military advantage. There are also conflicts that involve natural resources, such as oil, gold, diamonds, and timber. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), 40 percent of internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources in the last 60 years.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Government officials, scientists, and educators around the world observe this day. Group discussions are held to better understand the negative effects of war on the environment. Solutions are proposed to protect the earth’s ecosystem in light of conflict. Radio talks, lectures, seminars, and classroom activities also focus on how war affects the environment.
If you would like to participate:
- Think about how past wars and current conflicts are affecting the environment
- Educate yourself on how nuclear threats and advanced warfare technology affect the environment
- Learn about the many internal conflicts over natural resources, such as oil and diamonds
- Watch films such as Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War and The Age of Consequences
- Discuss with others how world peace cannot be attained if the ecosystem is destroyed
In November 2001, the UN General Assembly declared November 6th as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The day is also referred to as World Day to Protect the Environment in War.