Nicaragua’s Ecological Battalion: Boots on the Ground to Fight Climate Change?
Nicaragua has a new ecological battalion – allegedly the first of its kind in Central America. More specifically, it is a division of the army tasked primarily with stopping illegal logging, planting trees, and yes, fighting climate change. Operation Green Gold, the inaugural mission for the new battalion, recently wrapped up, and has declared “its first ‘battlefield victory’ by netting 111,800 cubic feet (3,165 cubic metres) of illegal lumber felled by loggers.” No mission accomplished sign, however. There’s a lot left to do. President Ortega’s adviser for national development policies asserts that Nicaragua has experienced “$200m (£126m) a year in lost agro-production due to climate change” since 2006, and that “deforestation and rising annual temperatures in Nicaragua – up three degrees centigrade in the past 50 years, according to government figures – is already affecting rain cycles.”
Our cursory search didn’t uncover much more information on the battalion. But it will be interesting to further explore how it interacts with the Nicaraguan population and the complex drivers of deforestation, and assess whether or not it could (or should) be replicated elsewhere.