Armed Conflicts and Weaponization: the Biggest Threat to Biodiversity

Submitted by Aroosa on 29. December 2022 - 10:31

Armed conflict and weaponization which are the manifestations of human beings continues to have a devastating impact on biodiversity around the world. Existing species are disappearing more than the pace on which new species on earth are being discovered. Nearly 1.8 million different species exist on our planet, including 280,000 in the seas and oceans. Every year, 15,000 species are being added to biodiversity, while the discovery mission is far from over yet. Biodiversity means living species (insects, plants, animals, fungi, algae, bacteria and viruses) and the environments in which they live. This term also includes the interactions of species with each other and with their environments. Where specialists hopefully anticipate that roughly 100 million species inhabit our earth, at the same time, they point out that the rate of their disappearance is 100 to 1000 times larger than the natural rate of extinction. According to an estimate, 28% species are under extinction threat while 35% species have already disappeared.

This biodiversity loss is caused by certain natural reasons; however, the current rate of loss is largely attributed to the human activities, among which the activity of weaponization for military advantages is prominent. Since the humans’ lust for power, war and armed conflicts do not cease to exist, the competition for the manufacturing of modern weapons has increased all over the world. Along with the tremendous growth in the manufacturing of weapons, a major change in traditional methods of warfare has also been observed. As chemical weapons were not enough, the new methods of warfare have been opted by humans, including biological weapons and armed drones, which are not only posing challenges to human-legal rights but for the biodiversity as well.

From the destruction of forests in Afghanistan to the damage inflicted upon the Ukrainian land, and from the decimation of wildlife across the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Mozambique civil war obliterating elephant population; armed conflicts, weaponization and its use has harmed biodiversity in many ways. The species loss has accelerated by degrading forests, land and natural resources by armed activities. Not only that, the growing security concerns are hampering conservation efforts. War effected states with the fragile governing system have fallen victim to illegal wildlife trade, while the civilians and the displacement effects of conflicting populations who need basic livelihoods also leading to the overexploitation of natural resources.

Today, the world is equipped with 875 million small arms and light weapons, more than 14 thousand nuclear weapons, and countless biological weapons which contain pathogenic organisms or toxins to harm or kill individuals, animals, or plants. Contemporary world events suggest that the human quest for power is not satiated yet. The more we wish for world peace, the more we get involved in wars. Whether these armed conflicts taking place between the neighboring countries on the borders or on the distribution of resources or due to the circumstances arising out of terrorism, day by day the biodiversity is becoming a victim in the midst of all these. Peaceful management of the conflicting world is the biggest time of need if we want to protect biodiversity that supports ecological balance. One thing we should prioritize, that human life that is impossible without biodiversity is more important than human ego.