Ukraine vs Russia, and the Environment that suffers!
We are all aware of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but have you considered the environmental damage? Why does the earth always have to suffer the wrongdoings of humans? When wars occur, humanity is always called into question; the sufferings of millions of people can be heard, but what about the sufferings of Mother Earth? War does no good; it causes unending suffering to people who are struggling, as well as unending harm to the environment, the consequences of which will be felt by future generations.
Russia’s conflict day by day with Ukraine is referred to as chilling aggression as tensions escalate. The ongoing war between the two countries is an open secret; Russian soldiers have been in the East of Ukraine since 2014, occupying a part of Ukrainian land. This political conflict has resulted in environmental hazards and damage in Ukraine.
War is one of the most stressful and destructive things in this modern world.
War can ruin lives and cause terrible harm to communities. Such is the case with the war between Ukraine and Russia. It has been going on for quite a while now, causing a lot of damage to those who live in that area, destroying the environment, and making it hard for those affected to live their everyday lives normally.
Military activity has a significant environmental impact. Not only can war be harmful to the socio environment, but military activities also emit large amounts of greenhouse gases (which contribute to anthropogenic climate change), pollute the environment, and deplete natural resources, among other environmental consequences.
During conflicts, deforestation often increases. Many times, this is due to overharvesting by communities that have become overly reliant on wood and charcoal for fuel and heating. However, it could also be the result of armed or criminal gangs exploiting the failure of management systems. Civilian coping strategies may also result in over-harvesting of other natural resources or environmentally hazardous practices such as artisanal oil refining. In some cases, community-based sustainable resource management systems may be disrupted. During conflicts, deforestation often increases. Many times, this is due to overharvesting by communities that have become overly reliant on wood and charcoal for fuel and heating.
Several studies have discovered a strong positive correlation between increased military spending and increased greenhouse gas emissions, with the impact of military spending on carbon emissions being more pronounced in countries of the Global North.
Ukraine has over a dozen nuclear reactors, and several reports have detailed Russian strikes near nuclear-waste facilities, raising the risk of contamination and health problems.
"Many of the problems we're seeing pose either acute or chronic health risks to people, and people have a human right to a healthy environment," Weir said, adding that it could also hinder contamination, disaster, and environmental recovery efforts.
Ukraine's environmental crisis may have an impact on future climate policy.
"In terms of momentum for global environmental cooperation, we're already at a low point," Conca said. "The war diverts attention and resources from governments around the world at a time when we can least afford it."
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report last week stating that climate breakdown is occurring faster than previously thought and that parts of the world will become unlivable in the coming decades if action is not taken now.
Though understandable, Weir stated that the report's release was overshadowed by news of the Ukraine conflict, which "demonstrates how our future increasingly depends on global cooperation and how widely political shocks of conflicts can spread, excluding other important issues."
The scale, intensity, and duration of the conflict, as well as the scope of the environmental crisis, remain unknown.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is causing air, ground, and water pollution that will be long-lasting. In addition, risks for contamination and health problems arise when nuclear sites are disturbed.
But once the bombs become silent, that’s when restoring the environment turns into a greater challenge, Weir tells Euronews Green. “Environment remediation is very expensive and often technically quite challenging, and we find that often after conflicts, this isn’t done. There is no capacity, or money, or resources to remediate the environment.”
Regardless of the direct impact of carbon emissions, the biggest risk in the fight against climate change is a shift in certain nations' priorities around economic growth and reconstruction, as well as a breach of mutual trust.
"The collapse of environmental governance is something that will have a long-term impact."
Anyone searching the internet for information about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will be met with many different viewpoints. The conflict remains murky and complicated, and we hope that this guide helps to clarify Ukrainian - Russian political conflicts in a factual way. As the environment changes, hopefully, we will continue to see improvements in human rights abuses and environmental degradation.
Articulated by- Palak Vijay