War on the Planet and How I was Radicalized.

I know, catchy title. This piece on Slate.com builds an interesting bridge between what many environmentalists and peace activists have known for decades (which is that warfare is an egregious polluter of the planet with the US Military being the #1 source) and the fact that this trend may occur because countries/state militaries are making more concerted efforts to NOT kill people in direct battle (thus poisoning the earth, destroying any sort of infrastructure that sustains life.)

Back in 2002, when I was a student at Sonoma State University and deeply engrossed in Project Censored, a media analysis project that evaluates, researches and exposes the most under-reported stories of the year, I remember this story. This story (and this one about chemical corporations profiting off of breast cancer) radicalized me. Here is story #15 from Project Censored’s 2004* book, U.S. Military’s War on the Earth, with articles by Bob Feldman, David S. Mann and Glenn Milner, and John Passacantando.

The world’s largest polluter, the U.S. military, generates 750,000 tons of toxic waste material annually, more than the five largest chemical companies in the U.S. combined. This pollution occurs globally as the U.S. maintains bases in dozens countries. In the U.S. there are 27,000 toxic hot spots on 8,500 military properties inside Washington’s Fairchild Air Force Base is the number one producer of hazardous waste, generating over 13 million pounds of waste in 1997.

And that was just 2 years into the so-called War on Terror. It is absolutely no mystery why I spent the next near 7 years of my life working with CODEPINK Women for Peace (birthed by some of the country’s leading environmental activists) nor why I did  at the BP Houston Headquarters. And why I’d do it again. Everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

 

*All of the stories collected for the annual are actually articles published in the previous 18 months.