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Department of Social Sciences

Greening Military? On the Transformation of the Military Metabolism in Context of Climate Change and Increasing Geopolitical Tensions

The fact that climate change and the associated environmental changes create a security risk has been discussed in research and also in the military for quite some time. At the same time, the question of the extent to which the military, armament and a changed geopolitical situation are putting climate mitigation efforts at risk has so far received little attention. The military sector is one of the world's largest CO2 emitters and thus contributes significantly to the climate crisis. With the increasing scale of military activity, in the short, medium and long-term negative impacts on the ecosphere are also intensifying. Germany has obligated itself to become climate-neutral by 2045. At the same time, the defense budget was significantly increased following the Russian attack on Ukraine. "Greening Military?" takes a look at these conflicting objectives.

Until now, there have been scarcely any links between military studies and socio-ecological (transformation) research. In the project, representatives from the fields of environmental sociology, historical research, theology & ethics, life cycle assessment and museum studies are working together in an inter- and transdisciplinary research network. The relationship between the modern military and its natural environment will be examined from various perspectives and analyzed in terms of its transformation in the light of "Zeitenwende" (Olaf Scholz) and the climate crisis.

The first phase of the project involves systematizing and surveying the military metabolism to date. Based on these results, the second phase of the project will identify and critically discuss socially negotiated greening strategies. Finally, in the third part of the project, a traveling exhibition on the military-nature nexus will be designed. Methodologically, the project uses expert interviews, instruments from the field of eco-balancing and transdisciplinary scenario techniques.

Project funding by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Project Team

Prof. Dr. Bernd Sommer TU Dortmund
Dr. Frank Reichherzer Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr
Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU
Dr. Kerrin Langer TU Dortmund
Tom Ebener TU Dortmund

Project Duration

01.06.2024 - 31.05.2027 (36 months)

Project Funding & Partners

Logos der Volkswagenstiftung, des Zentrums für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr und des Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society © Quellen: VW-Stiftung, ZMSBw, RCC