Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--за мир и дружбу

According to Google Translate, the phrase on the card means For Peace and Friendship. The postcard seller wrote a variation of the translation on the back of the card, but did so with the card upside-down. I'm posting the Russian rightside-up for those of you who read the language.

Warfare can affect many aspects of the environment. Land use, water supply, air quality, biological resources, and the functioning of ecosystem services are often disrupted by war. Military impact on natural capital is global, ongoing, and persistent. It can result from the actual physical destruction of landscape, the release of pollution during (or in preparation for) combat, or from the social disruption that leads to refugee populations, resource depletion and subsistence living.

Yet, though it is self-evident that war causes environmental damage, it is surprising how seldom the issue is raised by environmental advocates. The impact of a particular weapons testing ground may be debated, or we may condemn the senseless loss of species to combat, but it is rare to perceive war itself as being, fundamentally, an attack on the environment.
~excerpt from article titled War's Forgotten Victim. Read full article at the Academy of Natural Sciences website.

From the defoliation of the forests in Vietnam, to the oil fires of Kuwait, all major wars of the 20th century, and . . . conflicts like Kosovo, have had a hidden casualty: the environment.

Unexploded weapons, polluted rivers, contaminated soil, and damaged landscapes have all harmed human health, local economies, and ecosytems. The long-term effects of such environmental damage have not yet been fully determined.
~ excerpt from description of video titled The Environmental Impact of War, produced by America's Defense Monitor website, where the film may be purchased.

Based on the unprecedented environmental damage caused by the 1990-1991 Gulf War and available data on the environmental effects of recent conflicts in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, BirdLife International has identified seven risks to the environment and biodiversity - and as a consequence also to local people - posed by war:
  1. Physical destruction and disturbance of natural habitats of international importance and wildlife resulting from weapons use
  2. Toxic pollution of natural habitats and wildlife resulting from oil spills or oilwell fires caused by fighting or deliberate damage
  3. Radiological, chemical or bio-toxic contamination of natural habitats and wildlife resulting from the use of weapons of mass destruction and conventional bombing of military or industrial facilities
  4. Physical destruction of natural habitats and wildlife resulting from increased human pressure caused by mass movements of refugees (ie, water pollution, use of wood as fuel, hunting of wildlife)
  5. Burning of wetland and forest vegetation as a result of fighting or deliberate damage
  6. Desertification exacerbated by military vehicles and weapons use
  7. Extinction of endemic species or subspecies
"Until recently the impact of war on nature has often been ignored or obscured by the conflict itself. As the 1990-1991 Gulf War showed, such conflicts have devastating effects on the environment, biodiversity and the quality of life of local people long after the cessation of hostilities", said Dr Michael Rands, Director and Chief Executive of BirdLife International. 
~excerpt from article titled Threats to the Environment Posed by War in Iraq. Read full article at Environmentalists Against War website.

is not
for children
and other
living things

The iconic poster (that I do not have permission to print here) of a sunflower combined with the above phrase is available from the Another Mother for Peace (AMP) website. The poster was created by Lorraine Schneider for AMP in the 1960s. 

The Santa Monica Mirror published an inspiring article providing background about Ms. Schneider and her poster art.



Alyssa Ast said...

Very unique blog post. Love the idea and love the post!

Darlene said...

Mankind will not be content until it completely destroys the Earth we share. War is waged to satisfy the greed of men who make billions when it is waged. To me, this is the ultimate evil.

Melinda said...

As usual, your 'old postcard Wednesday' doesn't disappoint, Lydia. This post was unusual and made me much sadder than most but you are so right--war is not good for children and other living things.

One of the schools I teach for caters primarily to the military so I have many students who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Their essays simply break my heart. But their strength of spirit amazes--always.

I wonder why people still insist on fighting when life should be about peace and finding the similarities with one another--rather than the differences.


Rhiannon said...

I totally agree with everything you said here about wars. I have always thought about how "Toxic" wars are especially these days..

I also predicted as soon as the Gulf war started that many of the Gulf war soldiers would come back "chemically sick and ill" from wearing those darn pesticide uniforms they made them wear and also from all the things they breathed in the air. Imagine all the population in these countries and how much these wars have affected them so much! Now I am sure there are many soldiers not only coming back with missing limbs, and PTSD, but also some health issues from the toxins in the air they breathed every single day there.

Makes me so sick to my stomache when I think of how we as a country have contributed to such environmental disasters on foreign land, our own country and on this earth.

I posted an Earth day dedication on my blog also.

Great post Lydia..thank you for all the tremendous effort you make to reach out to others in such important ways.



Lydia said...

Alyssa~ I so appreciate your kind comments and positive visit!

Darlene~ Your comment should be adopted by the President's speech writer for a major address about this topic. Alas....

Melinda~ Thank you for bringing your interesting perspective as a teacher of children of deployed military people. Your final paragraph brought a tear to my eye...

Rhi~ It all makes me sick to my stomach, too. Very nearly seems a lost cause to hope for a better day. But without hope?
I'm on my way to see your Earth Day observation.

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