by John Carl Alonsagay/Philippines
Graphic by Javan Lev Poblador/ATO - ClimatEducate Project
War as an instrument of aggression and self-defense have always scourged humankind for centuries. However, damage done to the environment has never been accounted as a casualty in conventional warfare. This includes conflict related to exploitation or utilization of resources such as oil, timber, earth minerals, pollution, and habitats degraded.
In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict through UNGA Resolution no. 56/4.
As climate change further threatens our ecosystems, it is necessary to highlight the importance of protecting our natural resources and avoid massive degradation of the environment during war.
In another personal perspective, new rules to avoid environmental degradation in conventional warfare, just like the provisions of the Geneva Convention, must be made.
We must highlight that ensuring action on the environment, and advancing sustainable development are instruments to conflict prevention and peace building.
John Carl T. Alonsagay is the current President and a Board of Trustees member of the Alpha Team Organization (ATO). He serves in the project team as a liaison officer and member of its Committee for Design and Creatives. He is engaged in policy advocacy particularly matters related to climate change education, research and environmental policies in the Philippines. He is also a licensed educator and is an advocate for blue carbon ecosystems protection.