War and the geos (Earth) exist in a doubly destructive relationship.

The materials of contemporary weapons (e.g., uranium, tungsten, alloyed metals) are extracted from the Earth to be shipped and repackaged as key components of munitions that are then re-introduced into the ground during warfare, where they remain in soils and groundwater, causing long-term damage to ecological systems. The environmental legacies of this cycle of extraction, production and deployment are currently undisclosed and vast in scale; entire regions and populations live with the threat of gradual and deferred harm from the materiality of war.

The War and Geos project explores relations between conflict and the Earth in the environmental legacies of conflict. Our research activities focus on the production and residues of newly advanced weapons (e.g., Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), white phosphorus and depleted uranium) that affect ecological systems and public health. We bring together expertise from different disciplines (geography, environmental science, public health, anthropology) to work at field sites in Gaza and Iraq and the multi-sited production chains of weapon manufacturing.

The project is based at Newcastle University with partners Friends of the Earth Palestine and Purdue University and was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant in 2022. It is now funded through UKRI Horizon Europe and will run 2023-2028.