Depleted uranium from western shells will pollute Iraq and Kosovo for many years to come. In 1991, the UK Atomic Energy Authority warned that, if particles from merely 8 per cent of the DU used in the Gulf were inhaled, there could be "300,000 potential deaths". UN statistics, published in the British Medical Journal, showing a sevenfold increase in cancer in southern Iraq between 1989 and 1994.
The Worldwatch Institute estimate that the world's armies account for about six percent of total global energy use. An F16 fighter plane uses more fuel in an hour than an average car does in a year.
Environmental degradation can often only take place with the backing of military might. The struggle of the Ogoni and other peoples of the Niger Delta against the destruction caused by oil exploration was met with massive state violence on behalf of Western companies. In West Papua and again in Colombia it is the same story. When people try to stop their land being taken and destroyed they end up looking down the wrong end of a barrel of a gun.
Increasingly over the coming century conflicts will break out over environmental factors. Climate change, desertification, intensive farming and increasing exploitation of natural resources will cause crops to fail, flood low lying areas, turn fresh water into a scarcity, make border disputes more critical.