Saleem H. Ali
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies University of Vermont, Rubenstein School of Natural Resources

“Given my experience with environmental peace-building initiatives whether it’s through trans-boundary conservation zones, peace parks, environmental treaties between countries that otherwise have tremendous antipathy and hatred towards each other… it leads me to believe that environmental issues are indeed a very promising avenue for building better ties between countries, and resolving many of the most contentious and challenging conflicts of our times.”


Lester Brown
President, Earth Policy Institute

“Terrorism is a threat, no question about it, but on my list of threats to our future, there are many more serious threats, climate change being an obvious one, population growth being another…The challenge is not to fashion a high tech, military response to terrorism, that won’t work. The challenge is to build an environmentally sustainable equitable society that will do more to undermine terrorism than any possible high-tech military weapon systems that we can devise.”


Michael Barrett
Grantee, National Geographic Society

“The American attack on Truk Lagoon was very similar to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. There were a number of ships in a very small area that had limited means to escape, and the American aircraft just came in and bombed them. Nearly sixty ships were sunk in this very shallow lagoon…. If you think of Truk Lagoon, it’s essentially two things: it’s sky and water, and those are your horizons, and there are tiny islands scattered about. And it’s just this vast expanse, and as far out and remote as you are the entire area just smelled like a gas station, there was just so much oil coming off of these ships.”


Lt. General Robert Gard, Jr.
(USA, Ret.) Senior Military Fellow, Veterans for America

General Gard cites NATO’s 1999 campaign against Slobodan Milosevic: “We bombed oil refineries, resulting in mile long oil slicks that extended down the Danube through Romania into the Black Sea. We bombed petrochemical plants and fertilizer factories…and there were carpets of dead fish in the river as a result of that. In fact, Serbia itself is seething at this point with carcinogens in the landscape, cratered fields – it will take the ecosystems decades to recover.”


James Janko
Novelist, “Buffalo Boy and Geronimo,” Instructor, City College of San Francisco, Vietnam Veteran, and Medic

“I grew up in a small town in Illinois, a town surrounded by cornfields and bean fields, a very beautiful town along the Illinois River. And when I saw from high in the sky the destruction to the land, I couldn’t help wondering, ‘What if that had happened to our cornfields, our bean fields? How would we feel if that happened?’ And I went to that war knowing nothing at all, but when I saw that level of destruction I could not believe that this was going to lead to democracy, that this was a line in the sand that was going to be for the cause of freedom.”


David Jensen
United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, Post Conflict Branch

“The deforestation we see in Afghanistan is a product of three forces. First of all you have the Mujahideen that were using the forests for tree cover…The Soviets destroyed some of the forest to prevent that. Second of all, you have the Afghans themselves harvested the forests and stockpiled the wood because they feared that they would be taken away during the collectivization process. And third you had landmines that were put into agricultural areas. By putting the landmines into agricultural areas it forced people to find other areas to grow food and the most obvious were the forests and woodlands of the country. So those three factors have led to virtual 100% deforestation in some areas.”


Thomas E. Lovejoy
President, The Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment
Founder, PBS Series “Nature”

“Whether it is sonic booms affecting marine mammals, or it is the burning of oil fields in Iraq, or it is destroyed coral reefs in the Pacific for landing purposes, the list just goes on and on. There is absolutely no question that war and the preparations for it have an impact on biological diversity.”


Michael MacCracken
Chief Scientist for Climate Change, Climate Institute

“The amount we are spending on climate change, which is the long-term threat, is about ten percent as much as we’re spending on terrorism and about one percent as much as we’re spending on defense…Sea level is also rising, and in Louisiana we have been losing about thirty square miles of land per year. If the United States were losing that to some foreign power, we’d have the military out there defending it.”


John McNeill
Professor of History, Director of Graduate Studies, former Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs, Georgetown University

“I think it’s generally the case that the greater and more durable impacts come from preparation for war rather than combat itself. [The Soviet Union] built about 45,000 warheads, tested over 700 of them and left a mind-boggling nuclear waste behind, which the successor countries, whether it is Kazakhstan or Russia, can’t possibly afford to clean up. In truth, it is never going to be cleaned up, and some of the radioactive waste will remain potentially lethal for 24,000 years.”


Marie Rietmann
Public Policy Director, Women’s Action for New Directions

“I grew up near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which is in Washington State. When the nuclear bombs were developed there in WWII, little thought was given about what to do [with] the waste that would result afterwards. Indeed, now the Department of Energy calls Hanford the ‘World’s Largest Environmental Cleanup Project.”


Jeanne Mager Stellman
Professor and Director of Environmental Health Sciences, SUNY-Downstate

“Agent Orange was an important tool that could be used to save the lives of thousands of soldiers who could fight in the jungle more clearly. But at the same time it introduced serious toxic chemicals into the environment and one could also say caused huge ecological disaster by this massive deforestation of a jungle area.”


Paul F. Walker
Program Director, LEGACY Program, Global Green USA

“The United States will spend somewhere over forty billion dollars just to destroy the existing, known, declared chemical weapon stockpile of 31,000 tons. The Russians, with 40,000 tons, will spend probably ten to fifteen billion dollars with a lot of Western help.”


Sue Wareham
President, Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Australia

“In relation to nuclear weapons we know several things. We know that as long as any nation retains nuclear weapons, other nations will want them. We know that as long as nuclear weapons exist, one or more will be used again one day. That’s not a possibility that’s a certainty: nuclear weapons will be used again unless they are abolished. And we also know that any use of nuclear weapon would be absolutely catastrophic. There’s only one solution here. We need the abolition of nuclear weapons and that’s an urgent and pressing need.”