There is No More Time
By Lucinda Marshall
04 March, 2005
All evidence suggests that our lives and that of our planet are in grave
peril. If we are to survive, we must immediately dismantle the forces of
greed and power that are destroying our lives in the toxic pursuit of
empire. It is our refusal to face the realities of global warming and our
continued illegal use of Depleted Uranium that are the true terrors of our
time. Our governments and the corporate empires they defend must be
compelled to cease and desist from all forms of violence against our earth
and its inhabitants, to work towards mitigating the damage done and to
begin creating a livable future.
The environmental imperative of our situation cannot be ignored. The impact
of global warming is accelerating. Levels of carbon dioxide (the main cause
of global warming) have risen abruptly in the last two years. The Arctic is
warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and its polar ice cap has
shrunk up to 20% in the last three decades; the ice cap is expected to
disappear altogether by the year 2070. (1) Our land, air and water are
polluted with toxins and waste to the point where they can no longer
sustain life. Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct, glaciers
As global warming continues to affect the life of our planet, the results
will be devastating. Water will become scarce in some parts of the world
while others will be flooded by rising seas as the polar ice caps melt.
Rain forests are likely to dry out and burn and parts of the world will
become much hotter even as others become much colder. Droughts will cause
starvation, oceans will become more acidic and less hospitable to life and
diseases like malaria will spread easily. (2)
Studies and reports have been issued telling us that temperatures are
rising far faster than previously thought and that we have reached the
tipping point in global warming that we had sought to avoid. There is the
grave possibility that within as little as 10 years, we will reach the
point of no return. Once that point is reached, the risk of abrupt
uncontrollable climate change is expected to increase according to the
recent report "Meeting The Climate Challenge". (3)
Each year, more and more people die unnecessarily of the cancerous impact
of our toxic behavior, of preventable starvation, of disease and because of
the misguided priorities of violence. War rages because of greed and the
desire for domination. The pandemic quest for power and honor cuts an
ever-widening swath of violence and degradation. Millions of people have
been killed, wounded, trafficked, sexually assaulted and left homeless. And
always, it is women and children who are most victimized.
It is precisely our disconnection from our ecological support systems
that allows us to commit warfare. It should therefore not surprise us that
military powers are the biggest polluters on our planet. The worst of this
pollution is the use of enormous amounts of depleted uranium in wars that
have been waged by the U.S., most recently against Afghanistan and Iraq,
imperiling the very survival of our planet.
With a half-life of 4,500,000,000 years, the impact of DU will not go
away. There is more than 1.5 million tons of radioactive Depleted Uranium
waste in the world today (700,000 or more tons of this is located in the
U.S.), and this number grows by 50,000 tons per day. In the first Gulf War
alone, the Pentagon admits to using 320 tons of uranium weapons (in
violation of international law), although Greenpeace puts the probable
amount at more than 800 megatons. (4), (5) (6),
Depleted uranium causes both radioactive and chemical damage in humans. It
is deposited in the lungs and kidneys of its victims and gives off alpha
and beta radiation which cause cell deaths and genetic mutations, resulting
in cancer in exposed individuals and genetic abnormalities in their
descendants for many generations to come (from a 1995 U.S. Army report).
(7) Women with their sensitive breast and uterine tissues and children with
their not yet fully developed immune systems are the most vulnerable. (8)
Unquestionably the most critical point that we must understand is that the
lethal impact of DU knows no boundaries. As these weapons explode, their
toxic dust is carried in the wind and invades soil, water and air
everywhere. We do not yet fully know the magnitude of the damage caused by
this pollution, but there is the very real likelihood that we have already
sown the seeds of our own demise.
It is the most perverse of ironies that the military forces that claim to
defend us are responsible for most of the violence and environmental
degradation that is destroying our world. These forces are inextricably
tied to the ethos of corporate and national empire building that values the
hoarding of resources over the common good.
This perilous and lethal greed is no longer tolerable and it is
imperative that we come together in insisting on an end to planetary
destruction and full commitment to creating a fair and sustainable future,
with full and equal voice for all, most especially those who have born the
brunt of the impact of the patriarchal irresponsibility.
Delay is no longer acceptable or possible, there is no more time.
(1) Geoffrey Lean, "Global warming approaching point of no return, warns
leading climate expert", The Independent, January 23, 2005.
(2) Geoffrey Lean, "Apocalypse Now: How Mankind is Sleepwalking to the End
of the Earth", The Independent, February 6, 2005.
(3) Michael McCarthy, "Countdown to global catastrophe", The Independent,
January 24, 2005.
(4) World Information Service on Energy Uranium Project, "Current Issues:
Waste Management of Depleted Uranium",
(5) VT Padmanabhan, "Is Depleted Uranium From The West Asian Battlefields
Coming To India?", South Asia Citizens Wire, January 27-28, 2005.
(6) Brita May Rose, "America's Radioactive War", Counterpunch, November 17,
(7) VT Padmanabhan, "Is Depleted Uranium From The West Asian Battlefields
Coming To India?", South Asia Citizens Wire, January 27-28, 2005.
(8) Rosalie Bertell, "Health and Environmental Costs of Militarism",
presented in Barcelona, Spain and reprinted by International Institute of
Concern for Public Health, www.iicph.org.
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the
Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, www.feministpeacenetwork.org which
publishes Atrocities, a bulletin documenting violence against women
throughout the world. Her work has been published in numerous publications
including, Awakened Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The
Progressive, Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine , Common Dreams and Information
Clearinghouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org