The US Department of Defense is the nation’s single largest consumer of fossil fuels. From arms production to the grand machines of war, the military emits more greenhouse gas than any other state institution. War also wrecks natural ecosystems. Ongoing interventions have damaged forests and wetlands across the Middle East. According to CostOfWar.org, Afghanistan has lost 38% of total forested area to illegal logging. This deforestation is associated with warlords who rise to power from the ashes of military campaigns that continually destabilize the region. This plunder eliminates beneficial ecosystem services to surrounding populations and gives rise to further conflict and violence as people are left with depleted resources. Forest loss also reduces the amount of available habitat for a number of species, including avian communities, currently experiencing a precipitous population decline — a dangerous precedent in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
The state organism is continually exalted by those in positions of power as the only legitimate mechanism of social organization. We are told only the state can ensure peace and sustainability in an increasingly complex and ever fragile world. But given the role of the nation-state in the world, as an economic and military power, it is time to acknowledge the organism is a global threat to peace, security, liberty and the environment.
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