82.50. ENMOD = Convention Prohibiting Military Use Of Environmental Modification Techniques

The United Nations ENMOD Convention was signed by 34 countries 18 May 1977. The Convention came into force on 5 October 1978 when Lao People’s Democratic Republic became the 20th nation to ratify it. The Convention is due for review in 1983, five years after coming into force.

These facts and an extraordinarily interesting account of the political maneuvering associated with the Convention, in particular the prevarication of the U.S.A. who through Operation Popeye had carried out a major rainmaking project in Laos from 1968-72 to harass the North Vietnamese, were reported by Prof. G.R. McBoyle of the Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, at the annual meeting of the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association (CPREA) in Ottawa in June 1982.

Canada has not ratified the treaty; Prof. McBoyle doesn’t know why and quails before the formidable task of first penetrating the Government bureaucracy to find out which Department is responsible (probably several, which means none!) and then trying to get them to take action. Science for Peace members should be only too ready to undertake this task — our first objective is “to raise awareness….of the clear and present danger of war waged with weapons of mass destruction”, which includes ENMOD! Any volunteers — Geographers, Climatologists, Geophysicists, where are you!

This is only one example of the many areas where the public, and indeed the professionals in that area, are shockingly ignorant and indifferent to military technologies that may prove in the event more dangerous to human life than nuclear weapons:

Aerospace scientists
military use of space
Laser physicists
innumerable military applications
Organic and analytical chemists
chemical warfare
Biologists
biological warfare

We professional scientists in these areas have a social responsibility to be accountable to the public at least to make them aware of the dangers arising from perverted military applications of our work!