The War Between Russia and Ukraine – An Environmental Disaster
CEESP News: Ritu Dhingra, IUCN CEESP Regional Vice Chair for South and East Asia.
Who will wear the burnt–the speechless lifeforms through no fault of their own? War always brings calamity and strife. When human beings, Homo sapiens, “The Wise Man,” and the most evolved species on this Earth trigger war and themselves suffer, there is a massive cry. Everyone suffers–from infants, to adults, to the weak, sick, and aged. Many international organisations come forward and help the victims of war.
Photo: Ukraine Cow
During wartime, a big question arises: what happens to other species belonging to flora and fauna? Do they have a right to live? Who will take care of them? When millions of Ukrainians have taken refuge in different parts of the world, where will other lifeforms go or take shelter? Russians have an enmity with Ukrainians, does the flora and fauna of Ukraine also have the same nationality? Do animals and plants have a nationality? If not, why do they have to bear the brunt of every war in the world? During these times, why can’t some recourse be taken for protecting these speechless lifeforms? And even after the war, why can’t some measures be taken for the homeless and speechless lifeforms? These lifeforms are displaced and eventually die and have no place to take refuge. It is high time that we, human beings, who have the power to decide which species will live and which will die, take a moment to think and feel the plight of other living beings on this Earth, even during wartime. Do these times urgently call for a special convention for protecting these lifeforms right now?
According to few online news sources:
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has abruptly transformed the world. Millions have already fled. A new Iron Curtain is grinding into place. An economic war deepens, as the military conflict escalates and civilian casualties rise.”1
“United Nations member states attending the UN Environment Assembly’s opening session have raised concerns over the environmental impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Russia says they are hypocrites. The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (Unea 5.2) got under way in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, with some world leaders condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and raising concerns over the environmental impact of the conflict. Russia called the concern “hypocrisy” The meeting coincides with the release of the sixth report of the International Panel on Climate Change. It details the grim effects of the climate crisis on humanity, biodiversity and marine life. While environmental concerns over the conflict cast a shadow over the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, urgent concerns were raised over the triple threat of the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and pollution.”2
“Ten humanitarian corridors have been agreed on with Russia for the evacuation of citizens, according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk. Reuters reported that Vereshchuk said a corridor had been agreed for the besieged city of Mariupol, although the authorities’ previous efforts to evacuate civilians there under a temporary ceasefire have mostly failed, with both sides trading blame. About 350,000 civilians are stranded in the city with little food or water.”3
It is pertinent to note here that after 24 days of war, it is difficult to manage the war-stricken citizens of Ukraine; what about the situations of all other lifeforms? I am of the opinion that a treaty is required in this field, and people from all over the world must come forward to help such helpless creatures. We have conventions like CBD, CM,S and CITES–maybe now we require another treaty on “ Conservation of Species During the War” (CSDW).
1. Helen Davidson, Rebecca Ratcliffe and Haroon Siddique, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 25 of the invasion” The Guardian, Sun 20 Mar 2022 18.01 GMT, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/20/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-25-of-the-invasion (last visited on Mar 21, 2022).
2. Onke Ngcuka, “UN ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY 5.2, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sets environmental disaster alarm bells ringing” Feb. 28, 2022, available at: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-02-28-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-sets-environmental-disaster-alarm-bells-ringing/ (last visited on Mar.21, 2022).
3. Helen Davidson, Rebecca Ratcliffe and Haroon Siddique, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion” The Guardian, Sun 19 Mar 2022 1.38 GMT, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion (last visited Mar, 21, 2022).