An Arctic Battleground is Incompatible With Life on Earth
Right now, both Russia and NATO have stepped up activity in the Arctic Ocean. Russia is re-occupying military bases from the Cold War. 30,000 NATO troops and 50 NATO warships are in the Arctic region now with an exercise called "Cold Response", the biggest war games within the Arctic Circle since the 1980s. Russia has deployed large warships to international waters off Norway and has issued warnings of a "firing area" there. But the Arctic Ocean is the last place we can afford military activity.
The Arctic Ocean is our global life support. It governs the weather and ocean patterns responsible for the availability of food, fresh water, and safe shelter for everyone on Earth. Our lives, livelihoods, and peace depend on the stabilizing effect of the Arctic Ocean. But as 95% of the oldest and thickest ice is gone, exploitation and military activity break up the remaining ice and damage an already vulnerable ecosystem.
The Arctic seabed is not a resource, it's the world's biggest land mine. A single catastrophic release of methane from the softening permafrost could emit 50 gigatons – 12 times more than is currently in Earth's atmosphere. This would cause $60 trillion in damage from natural disasters and undermine the global economy.
But that's not all that's buried in the permafrost. Viruses and bacteria have been kept preserved in the frozen earth for centuries or millennia. A methane blast could disperse them far and wide and trigger the next pandemic.
As if that was not bad enough, nuclear waste dumped in the Cold War era is still sitting at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. This includes the former Soviet nuclear submarine K-27, described by experts as a "possible radioactive time bomb".
The all-volunteer international Parvati Foundation (https://parvati.org/