- This website was
developed in May 2003 by students of Geography 378
- (International Environmental
Problems & Policy)
at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, to examine the connections
between the Iraq War and the energy polices of the United States
and the world community. The recent conflict in Iraq, and the
aftermath of the 2003 invasion, has focused attention on global
environmental issues in several ways.
recent wars in Iraq have been fought in a country with a delicate
and historic cultural
this desert environment, the wars have generated a water
the civilian population. The marshy environment of southern Iraq
has also been drained
by the former government, which also set fire to oil
Second, the munitions
of war directed against Iraq possess distinct environmental risks.
An example is the use of Depleted
which has generated controversy around the world, particularly in
The munitions, oil fires, and chemicals in Iraq's wars may be contributed
factors to Gulf War Syndrome, a term for symptoms reported both
by U.S. veterans
and by Iraqis
themselves. Poor medical conditions in Iraq have been worsened by
and by postwar humanitarian
Third, the question
loomed over Iraq. Chemical
used by both Iraqi and Iranian troops in the 1980s. The U.S. destruction
of Iraqi weapons in 1991 also contaminated the air. Nuclear fears
have also shaped the conflict, and not only in the effort to thwart
Iraqi development of nuclear arms. Nuclear
been explored to defeat Iraq, including the use of tactical "bunker-buster"
- Fourth, militaries
around the world use enormous amounts of resources
and rack up numerous costs
for global society. Wars are increasingly fought over natural
resources such as oil,
to feed industrial civilization's thirst for an endless oil
supply. The opening of new oil sources in the Caspian
Basin was the theme of the Fall 2002 class website in this
- One alternative
to increased dependence on foreign oil is to explore renewable
which are environmentally cleaner and increasingly feasible in
particularly when combined with efforts to conserve
energy. Only 8 percent of U.S. power is currently provided by
renewable energy sources. Worldwide the share climbs to 14 percent.
Appropriate energy can be generated from natural forces, such
as the sun
heat. Fuel is also readily available in plant biomass
and organic waste.
can be made to run on cleaner and more efficient fuels, such as
Power plants can cogenerate
electricity and heat, or use hydrogen fuel
cells, and systems can be built to efficiently heat
and cool buildings.
- With so
many options available to turn toward renewable supplies of energy,
our national and global society is still wedded to fossil fuels,
a source of energy that is both finite and environmentally destructive.
At current trends, known oil reserves will run out in 45 years.
Conflicts over dwindling oil supplies also contribute to regional
wars, which in turn use up or burn up more oil. Renewable energies
are one way for a new generation to break this cycle.
378 STUDENTS, SPRING 2003
||Mai Nhia Xiong
WAR LINKS & MAPS
The opinions expressed
on this website are those of the students or their research sources,
not of all Geography 378 students, the instructor, or of the University
of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and its departments.