WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER

March 20, 2003

We the undersigned environment groups are opposed to the looming war against Iraq and deplore the loss of human life and the disastrous environmental and social impacts that would result from such a war.

We urge the Australian Government to avoid war and to pursue all possible avenues to bring about a diplomatic resolution with Iraq through the United Nations.

We support diplomacy, negotiation, international treaties and non-military options to resolve disputes and to promote human rights, environmental protection and sustainable societies.

The proposed first-strike war in Iraq is clearly inconsistent with this approach to foreign policy.

On a shared planet and with an increasingly interdependent world, we support cooperation ahead of conflict.

A major motivation for the proposed US-led war against Iraq is the perceived need to safeguard access to oil in the region. We believe that the best solution to the problem of oil dependency by highly industrialised countries is an increased reliance on clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources.

The destruction of the natural environment has itself become a tactic of war. Forests in Vietnam were chemically defoliated, and in 1991 the burning of oil wells in Kuwait during the Gulf War was both a political and military tactic. The Gulf War battlefields remain littered with discarded radioactive ordinance, resulting in continuing dangers to human and environmental health.

There are no ultimate winners in war ­ neither people, nations, nor the planetary ecosystem.

We maintain that national security would be better realised by working towards sustainable, meaningful lives for all, rather than increasing defence and security spending and engaging in armed conflicts.

Signed:

Australian Conservation Foundation
Cairns and the Far North Environment Centre
Conservation Council of the south East Region and Canberra
Conservation Council of Western Australia
Environment Centre Northern Territory
Environs Kimberley
Friends of the Earth Australia
Greenpeace Australia Pacific
National Parks Australia Council
National Toxics Network
Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales
North Queensland Conservation Council
Queensland Conservation Council
The Wilderness Society