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A Collection of Environmental Reporting on Israel's War on Gaza

Below is a collection of reports I’ve been gathering  since October 7 on the environmental consequences of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. This collection is meant as a call to action to my fellow environmental journalists to pitch and commission pieces on the U.S.-funded Israeli war on Gaza and apartheid across Palestine.

The International Court of Justice has now affirmed that there is good reason to believe that Israel is committing genocide. Environmental strategies are key to Israel's mass killing and displacement of Palestinians, and environmental journalists must not look away. We also must not get lost in bothsidesism. We know better than most, from covering the fossil fuel industry's disinformation campaigns, how powerful entities can spin doubt to advance a devastatingly harmful agenda. We are also practiced at navigating complex and unfamiliar issues. And we are aware, from covering climate disaster zones, that the environmental impact of this war will not end when the bombs stop falling.  

I hope this collection will be a source of ideas and inspiration, and I invite friends and readers to send me anything I’ve missed, as I’ll continue to add to the list.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

The greenhouse gas emissions during the first 2 months of the war in Gaza were greater than the annual carbon footprint of 20 nations, reports Nina Lakhani for The Guardian.

Another piece outlining the emissions + agricultural impact of the Gaza war, loaded with quotes from agricultural workers directly impacted: a beekeeper, an olive grower, and a fisher person, by Leanna First-Arai for Truthout.

The UN Environment Programme’s flagship Emissions Gap report, which is released before each COP meeting, made mention of conflict and military emissions for the first time, calling for more research into the topic. Reported by Indlieb Farazi Saber for Al Jazeera.

Agricultural Warfare and Displacement:

Human Rights Watch reviewed satellite imagery and found that the Israeli military has been systematically razing agricultural land.

More analysis of satellite imagery of systematic destruction of Gaza agricultural land by the Israelis. “It is estimated that 22% of Gaza's agricultural land has been destroyed by the intervention,” by Guillaume Maurice for France 24.  

“The leaves of plants function like sensors that record memories of environmental violence along the Gazan border.” Vital investigation into herbicidal warfare in Gaza by Forensic Architecture.

I found this piece by NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly really stirring. “We were interviewing a Palestinian farmer. Then the drones and soldiers appeared.”

Sarah Aziza and her brother search for the tree that marks the edge of their ancestral village — which their family was forced to abandon during the Nakba — and find only rows and rows of almond trees.

On the agroecological farming movement in Palestine by Marianne Dhenin for Life and Thyme.

There’s also lots of food justice stories that need telling. Here’s a piece from Jaya Saxena for Eater about how Palestinian American chefs are organizing for a ceasefire. 


Illustrated piece by Daniel Wolfe for the Washington Post on Gaza’s water crisis.

A piece by Nina Lakhani for The Guardian about how Israel — along with Russia — is a top driver of attacks on civilian water supplies

Sewage flows through the streets and contaminates the hastily erected tents in which hundreds of thousands of people now live,” by Nancy Murray and Amahl Bishara for 972 Magazine.

“The spring,” he said, “is the face of the occupation.” Powerful account of the fight for access to a spring in the West Bank by Ben Ehrenreich for Harpers.

The Environmental Legacy of War:

Crucial piece about the impact of the “15 million tons of debris [that] now litter the Gaza Strip.” Very illuminating comparison here on the high rate of debris-related deaths in NYC in the years after 9/11, by Saqib Rahim for Grist.

On the devastating potential environmental and human consequences of a reported plan by the Israeli military to pump seawater into Hamas tunnels, by Damien Gayle and Nina Lakhani for The Guardian

More on how Israeli strategies like flooding tunnels with polluted water have wreaked havoc on Palestinian agricultural land, water systems, and the very stability of the ground, by Joshua Frank at TomDispatch.

For inspiration on covering the intersection of war and environmental crisis: This piece by Lynzy Billing about the environmental legacy of the U.S. war on Iraq is incredible.

Palestine and the Environmental Movement:

An interview I did with Palestinian environmental leader Abeer Butmeh for Drilled about how Palestinian environmental activists have been treated as criminals by the Israeli government.

Reporting by Naveena Sidasivam and Lylla Younes for Grist on the hoops Palestinian delegates have jumped through to attend the COP28.

Investigative journalist and climate movement leader Naomi Klein lays out the argument for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel for The Guardian.

"Whoever identifies with Greta in any way in the future, in my view, is a terror supporter." On how an Israeli spokesperson apologized for going after Greta Thunberg for protesting for Palestine, by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana and Peter Wilke for Politico.

German magazine Der Spiegel suggesting we may see "the end for the climate movement" because Greta Thunberg expressed solidarity with Palestinians. I would love to see an analysis of the pile-on Thunberg has experienced.

Fossil Fuel Industry and Right-Wing Gaza Spin:

On oil industry efforts to capitalize on the war in Gaza and promote fossil fuels as a global security solution, by Dharna Noor for The Guardian.

Kate Aronoff has been on it for The New Republic with at least four stories. She’s got two on fossil fuel industry wartime profiteering. Then she’s got another one on the disparity between war funding and climate funding, and one about a weird Zionist oil and gas company.

Here's one by Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuel for Heated and how Republicans used Israel's war on Gaza to drum up a fake climate controversy.

Targeting Energy Sources: 

A piece by Taghreed Ali for Climate Home News on how solar panels are providing a lifeline to Gazans.

A piece for Al Jazeera about how solar panels are being targeted by Israeli bombs.

Distributed renewables are certainly useful for Palestinians in occupied territories, but there’s a key limitation, points out Rozina Kanchwala in Common Dreams, solar panels cannot withstand bombs.

Greenwashing Occupation:

Useful chapter by Manal Shqair on eco-normalization “the use of ‘environmentalism’ to greenwash and normalize Israeli oppression, and the environmental injustices resulting from it in the Arab region and beyond.” Part of the collection Dismantling Green Colonialism.

Other resources:

A list of resources on Palestine and the environment from Jadaliyya.

Finally, a newsletter post I did describing five reasons Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is an environmental justice crisis.