Sardinia and Jeju: The Environmental Cost of War Helen Jaccard Bruce Gagnon

Sardinia and Jeju:
The Environmental Cost of War
Helen Jaccard
Bruce Gagnon
August 10, 2012
Veterans For Peace National Convention
Miami, Florida, USA
“If leaders are to address the challenge of climate change, they
cannot ignore the impact of militarism on climate change”.
(Dr. of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)
The statement then called for the following:
i. The IAEA to end the promotion of nuclear energy as the solution to climate
ii. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to investigate and
estimate the full impact on greenhouse gas emissions by the military and
demand that each state release information related to the greenhouse gas
emissions from the production of all weapons systems, military exercises,
from war games, weapons testing, military aviation, environmental
warfare, troop transfer, military operations, waste generation,
reconstruction after acts of violent nterventions.
iii NATO , whose collective activities have contributed to, not only the
perpetuation of the scourge of war and the violation of international
peremptory norms but also the substantial release of greenhouse gas
emissions to be disbanded.
iv. Global military budgets to be reallocated to global social justice.
# of Arms Manufacturers
by Country
Grand Total
South Korea
# of Weapons Manufacturers % of world total
The US alone accounts for over
two-fifths (or just under half of
the the world’s spending)
Preparation for War
Pollutes Our Only Planet and Depletes Her Resources by:
• Extracting and transporting minerals, oil and natural gas
• Manufacturing and testing military aircraft, drones, tanks, bombs,
missiles, guns, bullets, armor, protective clothing and
communication equipment
• Testing the effects of explosions and fires on armor and pipelines
• Moving equipment, soldiers and materials around the world
• Storing massive quantities of fuel and munitions, such as Agent
Orange, which leak into the surrounding ground water and earth
• Nuclear submarine accidents that release radioactivity
• Construction and renovation of bases and buildings - The USA
alone has over 900 bases
• Massive military “exercises” – peaceful paradises become target
ranges. They are bombed and attacked by air and sea.
• Sonar testing, which kills marine mammals.
US Military trashes the environment
• The Government Accounting Office estimates that the Department of Defense
generates 500,000 tons of toxic chemicals and waste annually—more than the five
leading chemical companies combined.
• The Pentagon reported to Congress in 1990 that more than 17,484 military sites
violate federal environmental laws. At least 97 are on the Superfund list, which
designates the cleanup of certain areas to be a national priority.
• U.S. military activities—excluding the manufacture of weapons—consume enough
energy in one year to run the entire U.S. urban mass transit system for 22 years.
• A conventionally powered aircraft carrier consumes 150,000 gallons of fuel per day.
In less than an hour’s flight, a jet launched from its flight deck consumes as much
fuel as a U.S. motorist uses in two years.
• 40,000 underground tanks used to store chemicals and fuels threaten nearby
communities. In New Jersey alone, Lakehurst Naval Air Station has acknowledged
that 3.2 million gallons of aviation fuel and other chemicals contaminated an
aquifer that provides much of the tap water for the southern half of the state.
Three different tests indicated toxic substances 10,000 times the levels the
government considers safe.
Mining for Weapons Production
Mining for all kinds of metals, often many in the same site, for many purposes.
There are hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of abandoned mines in the world
which are polluting the neighboring regions with lead, arsenic, asbestos, mercury and
acid mining drainage (in the worst cases so acidic as to dissolve metal tools)
Often less than 1% of the rock brought to the surface is actually used and for many
hard-rock mines, there is no end in sight to the acid pollution because of the large
volumes of pyrite present in the waste.
The acidity itself can suppress the life in waterways and if allowed to build up in
standing water, such as pit lakes, can kill larger animals such as caribou, moose, and
migrating waterfowl, according to Solutions to Acid Mine Drainage, a fact sheet
published by Natural Resources Canada.
But more significant are the metals that the acid releases. Traces of unwanted metals
are almost always coexistent in deposits of the target metal, whatever that might be. A
whole suite of potential toxicants--such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, zinc, iron,
copper, aluminum, and manganese--can be found in hard-rock mines.
Nuclear weapons
“Nuclear bombs, whether they’re used or not,
violate everything that is humane…sacred.
“Why do we tolerate them?” Arundati Roy
Uranium mining is done in the US
on Sacred Native Land
Uranium Mining on Sacred Land
Case Study: Spokane Indian Reservation
The Native American Reservations are considered “independent” of the
federal government and therefore, the cleanup falls on the EPA. The
EPA’s hands are tied because they are suing Midnite Mine’s parent
company for the cleanup costs. Meanwhile, people on the Spokane
Reservation are dying.
Dawn Mining Company left behind almost 2.4 million tons
of stockpiled ore when they closed operations at Midnite
Mine in 1981, about 2 million tons of this ore is estimated
to be uranium oxide.
The Mine tore up Reservation land, leaving behind nearly
33 million pounds of waste rock when they closed
operations at the site.
This waste ore and rock causes acid mine drainage,
which flows into Blue Creek, and causes high levels of
radiation and heavy metal contamination in the Spokane
Of the six mining pits left behind as scars on the land, two
are part-way filled with groundwater that poisons the land
around it.
OIL and WAR – The vicious cycle
Demand for Oil
Oil, Coal, Nuclear Lobbies
National Subsidies Oil
Destruction of
oil production
Militaries Protect the
“National Interests”
(of Oil Producers)
Depletion of oil
Military Biggest Oil User
Greenhouse Gases Released
Military/militarism – the unseen
climate culprit
• Uses 90% of the energy consumed by the
federal government and is the largest
consumer of energy in the world. (2006= 1
quadrillion BTU’s!)
• The Pentagon is the largest single consumer of
petroleum in the world, estimated at 1 million
barrels (1 barrel=42 gallons) per day - and thus
is the largest polluter of our ecosystem!
“Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every
automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero
emissions, the earth would still be headed, head first
and at full speed, toward total disaster for one major
reason. The military produces enough greenhouse
gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its
inhabitants large and small, in the most immanent
danger of extinction.”
From the Introduction to The Green Zone, Barry Sanders
Military / Security Oil Use and Pollution
“ The military industrial complex consumed almost
double the oil equivalent energy as the U.S. military,
even higher today because of the escalation of arms
exports. Thus, the entire military enterprise is far
and away the largest single climate polluter and
contributor to global warming.” Renner, 1989
“The vast security network to protect access to oil
also runs on vast amounts of petroleum-based
Michael Klare
In Preparation and During War:
Consumption of Oil
M1 Abrams Tank: ½ mile per gallon
B-52 Bomber: burns 55 gallons of jet fuel PER MINUTE
F-15 Fighter at takeoff: burns 4 gallons of fuel PER SECOND
Soldier in Afghanistan: Requires 22 gallons of fuel per day
Military Bases
The U.S. alone has over 900
military bases around the world.
US and NATO Bases
• The US Military has over 900 bases in
over 60 foreign countries.
• 255,065 US military personnel are
deployed Worldwide.
• The total land area occupied by US
military bases worldwide is 2,202,735
hectares (8504 square miles), which
makes the Pentagon one of the
largest landowners worldwide
(Gelman, J., 2007).
• The Atlantic Alliance (NATO) has its
own Network of military bases, thirty
in total.
Sardinia, Italy - a case study of War
Eco-system Damage during Peacetime
Sardinia and it’s People
Sardinia is the second largest island in
the Mediterranean Sea – a paradise
with diverse wildlife and beautiful
beaches. Alice Scanu, a Sardinian
environmental engineer and activist
said, “We are peaceful people, poor
ones maybe, but very welcoming.
That's how I'd like Sardinians to be
remembered, not as people involved in
wars and power games.” In the rural
areas are shepherds and farmers who
make magnificent wine, honey, and
Military Use of Sardinia
For over 50 years Sardinia has been used
by militaries and arms manufacturers to:
test new bullets, bombs, missiles and drones
train soldiers and pilots
practice war scenarios
destroy old weapons and dangerous chemicals
launch bombing sorties, most recently against
• Seventy percent of Italian military bases are
located here.
Italian, NATO, and U.S. bases occupy about
1/3 of the area of the island’s land and sea.
During military practice drills, the area closed
to navigation and fishing is about 7200
square miles, almost 2 times the island
Salto di Quirra Polygon
Military Firing Ranges
Quirra, Teulada, Capo Frasca – 3 of the
Largest Firing Ranges in Europe are on this
ONE island. These firing ranges are often
used for air, sea, and land multi-national
military “exercises” to simulate a coastal
The Quirra base also has other, very polluting functions:
•Test-fire rockets, drones, bombs
•Test effects of explosions on armor and pipelines
•Dispose of tons of old weapons, including chemical
weapons (by incineration or burial, both of which cause
incredible pollution problems.)
Military Activities on Sardinia:
Large quantities of buried waste contain cadmium, lead, antimony,
and napalm
Explosions of waste (left over from the Balkan war) affect up to 2000
square meters that no longer support vegetation – a 30-second
explosion in Quirra produces the same pollution level as a municipal
incinerator during one year. Communities, shepherds, base
personnel and animals are exposed to toxic dust from explosions
Explosions contain thorium, lead, cerium and cadmium
Thorium, a radioactive and highly carcinogenic heavy metal used in
military targeting systems has been found in Sardinian honey, milk,
and other areas of the food chain.
High levels of lead are in the water and the sand at several places on
the beaches.
Pieces of bombs, missiles, and bullets lie on the ground and in the
Military Activities on Sardinia:
Health Effects
Malformed animals: two-headed lambs, calves with deformed
legs, a pig with one huge grotesque eye, and other horrors. A
tissue sample from a malformed lamb was found to contain
depleted uranium.
Malformed babies: Between 1988 and 2002 fourteen children were born with severe
malformations in Escalaplano, a small village of 2400 people bordering the Quirra
• In a village with 150 inhabitants, 12 people died from leukemia in 2002 alone.
• Forty civilians and 23 soldiers from there have died of leukemia in the past decade.
• 65% of workers on 7 of 12 farms located near the base are suffering from serious
• In the previous decade (1990 – 2000), there had been no cases of leukemia or
lymphoma among this same population.
• Most of the cancers are Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia.
• Rates of thyroid cancer and autoimmune diseases are also unexpectedly high.
Decimomannu Air Base
This more typical kind of military base also exists on Sardinia. –
Decimomannu is the largest NATO air base in the world.
•The military base of Decimomannu has been spilling jet fuel into the aquifers for
years. This fuel contains xylene, benzene and lead, highly dangerous and
carcinogenic substances that end up in human bodies through water, air and food.
•Mayor Louis Porceddu in February 2011 prohibited the use of the local wells .
Since then, the residents have not received answers on further analysis and the
necessary and urgent remediation. The authorities deny responsibility and
expertise. In the meantime, the spill continues unabated, killing the land and
putting the people’s health in great danger.
•An alleged reclamation has already cost 900,000 Euros, although no problem has
been solved.
•Monica Pisano of the Decimomannu Civic Committee “Su Sentidu” said, “It is
absolutely ineffective, since it is useless to reclaim the territory if the spill
Nuclear Submarine Bases
Sardinia had a Nuclear Submarine Base on the Island of
Santo Stefano from 1972 – 2008.
In 2003 the nuclear powered submarine
U.S.S. Hartford struck a rock - most of the bottom half
of the rudder was torn off and gouges in the hull were
deep enough to raise concerns about its structural
integrity. However, residents suspect that even
greater damage was done. Also, the U.S. government
covered up the incident for over 3 weeks, infuriating
the Italian government.
Massimo Zucchetti, Professor at the Department of Energy at the Torino Polytechnic and his
team analyzed algae in the archipelago. The presence of radioactive alpha particles and
plutonium traces were found, sometimes in high concentrations. This contamination is due
to either a continuous loss of pollutant from the submarine base, or to environmental
releases that took place during the USS Hartford accident.
On January 20, 2004, the “schwäbische Zeitung” newspaper reported that there was an
alarming high amount of radioactivity in the water near the former base.
Nuclear Submarine Accidents
Other Paradises Damaged or At Risk
Vieques Island, Puerto Rico is another island that was used for
•live training exercises
•ship-to-shore gunfire
•air-to-ground bombing
•an ammunition depot and a
•dumping ground for 10,000 tons of toxic waste.
•It was bombed an average of 180 days per year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found unexploded ordnance,
remnants of exploded ordnance, mercury, lead, copper, magnesium, lithium,
napalm, depleted uranium, and possibly pesticides and solvents
contaminating Vieques.
The U.S. Navy started looking for a replacement for Vieques in 2000 and
Sardinia was one of the main candidates. It is interesting to note that most of
the problems in Sardinia escalated after the year 2000.
On the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, which the U.S. Navy has used as a
bombing range for half a century, the cancer incidence is 28 percent more
than that of the main island (NVA, July-August 1999).
Moreover, military activities—which killed a civilian in 1999—have included
the firing of depleted uranium munitions into the Vieques training range in
blatant violation of both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and the
Navy’s own official training regulations, which specify that DU ammunition is
to be used only during combat or approved tests and is banned for peacetime
or training use. Further, only 57 of 263 DU shells were recovered!
Military activities have also included the establishment of nuclear facilities in
numerous bases, such as Roosevelt Roads, in flagrant violation of the 1967
Treaty of Tlateloco, which declared the Carribean and Latin America a
nuclear-free zone.
Other Paradises Lost or At Risk
Kwajalein Atoll: Eleven of the 97 islands in this atoll in the Southern
Pacific ocean are part of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test
Site. It is clear that the U.S. intends to continue to use the islands for
military purposes well into the future. Due to its previous occupation by
Japan, Kwajalein was the target of the most concentrated bombardment
of the Pacific part of World War II – on February 1, 1944.
• Thirty-six thousand shells from naval ships and ground artillery on a
nearby islet hit Kwajalein.
• American B-24 Liberator bombers aerially bombarded the island, adding
to the destruction.
Pacific Missile Range Facility
Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii
Launch of a
ballistic threat
target missile
This is yet another huge missile testing and
training range for U.S. Military and contractors.
They track submarines, ships, aircraft and space
•42,000 square miles of airspace
•2385 acres of land
•1100 mi2 instrumented underwater range
•Perch Electronic Warfare Site
•Electronic Warfare Portable Simulator Sites
•Helicopter Terrain Flight Training Course
Pfc. David Tracy assigned to First
Battalion, Twelfth Marine Regiment,
sites the Howitzer 150 gun during an
artillery live fire exercise.
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy; photo by: Photographer's Mate 1st
Class Jane West
White Sands Missile Range,
White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is the
largest military installation in the United States,
with almost 3,200 square miles in area. The
missile range is located 27 miles east of Las
Cruces, New Mexico.
It is a multi-service test range whose main
function is the support of missile development
and test programs for the Army, Navy, Air Force,
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), other government agencies and private
Judge dismisses Guam firing range
• A federal judge in Hawaii has dismissed a lawsuit to halt the military’s plan
to build a firing range close to the historic Pågat site, calling the lawsuit
moot, according to a District Court of Hawaii document.
• The lawsuit was filed by firing range opposition group We Are Guåhan, the
Guam Preservation Trust, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation
in November 2010.
• The proposed firing range has been one of the most controversial aspects
of the proposed Guam military buildup because the range is very close to
the ancient village site of Pågat. The military has said the range is essential
to sharpen the skills of thousands of Marines who are expected to move
from Okinawa to Guam, but protesters and local politicians have said the
firing range should be built on existing military property, not on land
leased from Guam’s government.
Another Paradise At Risk - NOW
Jeju Island, South Korea
The South Korean Government is constructing a
naval base in the tiny village of Gangjeong, which
is surrounded by three UNESCO World Natural
Heritage sites and nine UNESCO Geo-Parks on an
island that is designated a Global Biosphere
Reserve. Construction is accelerating daily with
the dredging of the island’s seabed and its coral
communities, despite the protests of the residents
and the 94% of them that repeatedly voted not to
allow this base to be built.
The entire village and surrounding area is to become a 50-hectare naval base
that will house 8,000 marines, up to 20 destroyers, several submarines and
two 150,000-ton luxury cruise liners.
Lead pollution at over 1800 firing
ranges in the U.S.
The military has been involved in massive lead cleanup efforts for years, at an
estimated 700 military firing ranges across the country. Shooting ranges are likely
to be one the biggest sources of lead pollution in the country (Figure 1).
Assuming a very modest level of activity at the nation's 1,813 firing ranges - just 15
customers shooting 50 rounds a day - firing ranges would put nearly nine million
pounds of lead into the environment per year. This is more lead pollution than is
produced by any other industry except metals mining and manufacturing, and
waste recovery operations.
The nation’s firing ranges represent a major potential source of lead in water and
wildlife, and a potential liability to nearby property owners who may find
themselves living next to a hazardous waste site or who might be victims of lead
drifting onto their property.
Firing ranges are exempt from all EPA and pollution control laws – they are even
allowed near bodies of water.
In just 2 years a typical firing range can have lead contamination equivalent to a 5acre Superfund site.
Sonar Kills Whales
High-intensity naval sonar poses a
serious threat to whales, dolphins
and porpoises that depend on sound
to survive, says a report by the
United Nations Environment
A report by the International Whaling
Commission's scientific committee
said the link between sonar and
whale deaths was "very convincing
and appears overwhelming".
The Navy acknowledges that sonar
can be deadly to marine mammals,
and that the exercises at issue would
“take” an estimated 170,000 marine
mammals, including causing
permanent injury to more than 500
whales and temporary deafness to at
least 8,000 whales.
War Itself Destroys Ecosystems
• Bombs, missiles and fires destroy the land from explosions and
• Ordnance, whether unexploded or not, contains heavy metals
which pollute the surroundings, and beyond the immediate
vicinity, in some cases for thousands of years!
• Fuel used to transport people and equipment pollutes by spewing
greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Accidents happen,
resulting in spills, unexpected fires and explosions.
• Building or using roads and runways (for soldiers, tanks and
supplies) destroys the land and ground water. Once land is taken
for a road, the area becomes accessible to civilization and often,
sadly, the original eco-system is completely annihilated.
• War displaces hundreds of thousands of people, which causes its
own set of environmental problems – mass migrations damage the
soil, pollute the environment, and require new infrastructure.
Toxic Pollution Continues
Long After the War Ends
• Toxic contamination continues polluting,
either killing or causing debilitating diseases
and genetic defects for generations of
humans, animals and other parts of the
• Reconstruction of infrastructure uses toxic and
non-renewable energy sources (oil, natural
gas, coal)
Destruction of old munitions and
chemicals result in:
• Radioactive pollution from depleted uranium and
thorium which have been known to cause cancers,
birth defects and deformed animals
• Chemical and petrochemical pollution-asbestos, white
phosphorus, heavy metals, fuel spills
• Depletion of essential nutrients needed to survive:
potable water, unpolluted/de-toxified land in which to
grow food
• Depletion of energy sources to provide shelter, (wood,
cement and metal) electricity and heat.
• Loss of biodiversity, including precious orchards and
Depleted Uranium and Toxic Chemicals
• Agent Orange
• Napalm
• Heavy metals and chemicals which are
radioactive and poisonous are used in modern
Extracting these resources, manufacturing the
weapons, testing them, and using them are causing
massive environmental destruction, resulting in
high rates of cancers, birth defects, deformed
animals, and contaminated food, water, land, sea,
and air.
“I count 36 different kinds of bombs…in current
use by the US military,”* made with various
combinations of explosives and toxic chemicals.
*Barry Sanders, The Green Zone
A 1980 UN Convention banned the
use of napalm against civilian
The USA did not sign the treaty
and is one of few nations that
continues using
incendiary weapons.
A new more lethal form of Napalm
B was developed by US weapons
manufacturers, made of a
polystyrene-like gel and kerosene
based jet fuel, which is harder to
remove from everything it touches
and burns and burns…
Source: Sanders, The Green Zone
According to a UN Environment Program
report of 2004:
At least four million pounds of low-level
radioactive dust…
from spent munitions of bombs made with
illegal Depleted Uranium…
now cover the deserts and cities of Iraq…
In one year, from Oct.7 2001
to December 2002
the US dropped between
550-600 tons
of DU
on Afghanistan –
Sanders, “The Green Zone”
ACTIONS: What we’re doing
What has worked
Action Ideas
Let the indigenous philosophical construct of relatedness to
all beings (“all our relations”) infuse everything we do, the
choices we make, how we live our lives…
Visualize what the world we want to see (evolving toward a
military-free, post-nuclear, post-carbon future) looks like.
(Ex:“Solartopia” by Harvey Wasserman)
Draw it, write or journal about it, make signs and banners
for rallies about it, meditate on it.
Promote an Eco Justice Paradigm Shift - Include pollution
from militarization in every discussion about environmental
/eco/climate justice. Use eco justice language that
encourages awareness of essential biodiversity for all living
beings including earth, sky, solar system, etc.
4. Educate self and everyone else about this
issue: films, books, websites, articles. Start a
Study Group on one aspect of the topic.
5. Make this a key part of your Occupy
Environmental Working Group
6. War Tax Resistance - don't pay for wars and
preparations for Wars!
7. Sign up for a research internship with AFGJ
(write FOIA’s and provide internet design
and management.)
8) Rio +20 Earth Summit 2012 - Advocate
through organizations such as the Global
Alliance for the rights of Nature, and many
9) Help organize a Global Day of Action for
Mother Earth in 2013.
10) Help build a new global eco justice network
with the main purpose being the end of
militarism and military pollution.
More Action Ideas -Yours
Cannot afford this global military
industrial complex
any longer!
With one voice we
Peace is the answer!
For further information, contact:
Helen Jaccard
[email protected]
(206) 992-6364
Cree Proverb
“Only when the last tree has died,
And the last river been poisoned,
And the last fish been caught
Will we realize we cannot
Eat money.”
“Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent
about the things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Films: “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The
Environmental footprint of War”
by Alice & Lincoln Day
“Uranio 238” - Quaker Peace Center, San Jose,
Costa Rica
Books: Barry Sanders, “The Green Zone: The
Environmental Costs of Militarism” cl.
Roger S. Gottleib - A Greener Faith: Religious
Environmentalism and Our Planet’s Future, cl.