“If we greens don’t broaden our thinking to tackle war, we may save some wilderness, but lose the world.”
―David Brower, the Sierra Club’s first executive director
and a World War II veteran of the 10th Mountain Division
The Kansas Chapter’s Executive Committee has recommended that the Sierra Club Board of Directors adopt a resolution in support of withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as downsizing the military’s expansive network of overseas bases.
The ExCom unanimously voted in favor of the resolution at its Oct. 15, 2011, meeting in Topeka. The resolution now goes to the Sierra Club Board of Directors for review.
While the actual number of military bases is unknown, historian Nick Turse estimates that the U.S. maintains over 1,100 bases worldwide, with nearly 700 bases in no fewer than 38 foreign countries.
In addition to the cost in financial and human treasure, America’s wars and military expansion have had a devastating impact on the environment. The U.S. military consumes an estimated 14 million gallons of oil every day in service of its tanks, ships, aircraft, Hummers, and bases. The military’s carbon footprint is larger than any single industry and even most countries on the planet. It is arguably the elephant in the room of environmentalism.
The Kansas Chapter’s antiwar resolution was drafted and approved prior to President Obama’s announcement that troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2012. Notably, less than a week later, plans to increase the American military presence in the Persian Gulf to offset the Iraq withdrawal became public.
The resolution will be considered at the November meeting of the Board of Directors in San Francisco.
What can you do? The Kansas Chapter has taken the lead nationwide on this issue. Share the resolution with your Sierra Club friends around the U.S. Ask for their chapters’ support. And let the Sierra Club Board of Directors know that you support it too!
Text of the resolution on the U.S. wars and military expansion, submitted by the Kansas Chapter to the Sierra Club Board of Directors:
After a decade of war in Afghanistan and nine years in Iraq, the Sierra Club believes it is time for the United States to withdraw its troops from these countries. Additionally, the Sierra Club is concerned about the expansive U.S. military presence throughout the world, which poses numerous environmental as well as geo-political dangers. Quite simply, war is an environmental disaster. The work of environmentalists in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world is undermined by the exhaustive environmental cost of military activity in natural resources and consumption of fossil fuels, as well as immeasurable contributions to greenhouse gasses. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused a massive economic drain in financial resources needed to move the U.S. toward a green economy and infrastructure. With the continuing expansion of military action since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. military has now become the largest single consumer of oil on the planet; its carbon footprint is unmatched in any single industry or even in most countries. While the Sierra Club recognizes the efforts of the U.S. military to improve its environmental standards, the only real solution is for the U.S. government to draw down its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and to begin a process of standing down its presence throughout the world.
By Bob Sommer