Nicaragua Forms Battalion of Eco-Soldiers to Combat Climate Change


Written by Stephen Messenger

While much of the developed world continues to debate the most effective ways of tackling global carbon emissions in closed-door summits and international forums, some countries hardest hit from changing climate patterns are beginning to take a more direct approach. In light of what it considers a national security risk posed by climate change, the government of Nicaragua has formed the Ecological Battalion, a first-of-its-kind team of soldiers dedicated to combating against environmental threats.

Over the last three decades, forest cover in the once-lush Central American nation has fallen by nearly 25 percent, mostly due to illegal lumber operations which had stripped the regions nature reserves of trees virtually without resistance. But now, thanks to the newly designated eco-battalion made up of 580 soldiers, the forests’ most pressing threats may find their days are numbered.

For Nicaraguan leaders, the ongoing disappearance of their forests has already lead to a rise in temperatures and reduced the amount of rainfall. The latter issue is of heightened concern from the nation’s leadership, particularly as government officials look to hydroelectric to meet their energy demands.

“The Nicaraguan government is trying to change the matrix of its energy supply, and to do so we need to preserve and conserve our nature reserves and forests so we can have the water we need to run what will be Central America’s largest hydroelectric plant, Tumarin,” says Col Juan Ramon Morales, commander of the Ecological Battalion. “But if we don’t have forests, we won’t produce the rain we need to make this project sustainable. We can’t have a hydroelectric plant in the desert.”

According to the BBC, Nicaragua’s Environmental Battalion is the first of its kind to battle climate change in Central America — and they seem to be taking the job very seriously. While the soldiers, clad in camouflage, do carry firearms as they patrol the imperiled forests, they also carry shovels to plant trees in areas already cleared.

“Our color is green by nature,” says army chief Col Nestor Lopez. “Now we have to make it that by conscience, too.”

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


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Photo from tik_tik via flickr

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Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo2 years ago

I just had a novel idea. We need an Eco-Army of soldiers for the world.

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo2 years ago

Thank you, Tree Hugger, for the thrilling news! It actually gave me goose bumps. I know how silly this must sound, but I have so much anxiety about the deforestation of the planet that I lose sleep some night because of my concerns.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Is South America the only continent that wants to tackle the injustice done to the earth and its inhabitants?

David N.
David N.3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M.3 years ago

Kudos to Nicaragua's Ecological Battalion and the work they are doing, not only patrolling with firearms , but caring shovels to plant trees in already cleared areas. This such a great example that I hope other countries will follow.

Karen Baker
Karen Baker3 years ago

Hopefuly it works

Lydia Price

I sure got a thrill out of the idea of soldiers planting trees. This is the kind of war we could all cheer.

Penny C.
Penny C.3 years ago

Some good news at last......

Andrew K.
Andrew Kitching3 years ago

Thanks you so much for this! is there a page or email address we can thank them on? Or maybe we should create a petition on here to say thanks...

Kaitlin Carney
Kaitlin Carney3 years ago

I applaud any efforts to help mitigate climate change. But, do we really want to further the war mentality that has undermined so many other cooperative efforts on issues ranging from women's rights to environmental issues? If we say we are waging war, then there are two sides and people 'on the other side' will get defensive and feel attacked. Why can't we cooperate to the end goal of a clean and healthy planet for all living beings?