War costs the earth. Literally.
- Wars and armed conflicts around the world take a huge and often hidden toll on human and environmental health each year.
- Wars turn individuals and families into refugees, forcing people to leave their homes, countries and regions. They also leave cultures, traditional medicines and foods.
- Wars turn adults and children into soldiers and/or victims, creating an intergenerational spiral towards further conflict in the future.
- War causes breakdown of services, by deliberate targeting of health workers and facilities.
- Wars destroy environments. Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to the planet as we know it.
Civilians bear most of the costs of modern wars.
Current global spending on wars and preparations for wars is approximately $US1.7 trillion, i.e. $US1,700 billion. Diversion of financial and human resources into fighting and preparing for wars means there are fewer resources to address extreme poverty, and provide critical humanitarian needs such as sanitation, health care and education for all people.
In Australia, military spending for the year 2017 – 18 is $34.7 billion, which is about $95 million every day (Australia Strategic Policy Institute figure). Meanwhile, our overseas aid is rapidly slipping to all-time low levels.
Many costs of wars are beyond measure. The issues facing victims of war, civilian and military (volunteers and conscripts), are very often enormous, as are the challenges for displaced populations.
- MAPW submission to Australia’s 2017 foreign policy defence white paper
- Cost of War project, Brown University
- Medical peace work MOOC (massive open online course)
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Military expenditure
- UNHCR – the UN refugee agency page
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