Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Peace Day 2016: 3 Ways Climate Action is Vital

The UN International Day for Peace 2016 has been tied to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Why is goal #13 -- Climate Action -- so vital to peace?

Sustainable Development Goal 13:
Climate Action
I think it is very possible to question whether many of the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved before achieving substantial reductions in militarization, starting with the militarization of the US.

But there's no question in my mind that Climate Action (goal 13) goes hand in hand with antiwar activity.

Here are three big reasons . . .

(1) Climate Action ends the Global North's rationale for military dominance of the Middle East.

Ever wonder why the name of the US game is #permawar?
As a result of Climate Action, people have woken up to the fact that the world has far more fossil fuels than we can ever possibly burn.  People like Bill McKibben and his organization, 350.org, have made it clear that there is a carbon bubble, and the vast majority of oil, gas, and coal reserves are going to have to stay in the ground.

And once people in the US and other countries realize oil and gas will soon be a thing of the past, their very next question is "So why should we continue to try to militarily dominate the Middle East?"

Who knows? They may even begin to question whether it was just to fight for oil in the first place . . . .

(2) Our progress on Climate Action calls into question all resource-driven conflict -- the entire "race for what's left."

We need more BASES so we can get more STUFF ! ! !
Prof. Michael Klare has characterized the posture of the Global North as a "race for what's left" -- a race into which the Global South is being unwillingly dragged, and a race that is intimately tied to militarism.

A crucial element of Climate Action is recognition of our addiction to more and more and more stuff, and our inadequate attention to the possibilities of lowering consumption and moving toward economies of conservation, sustainability, and sharing.

It is inevitable that, as we do that, we will recognize the role of militarism in feeding the vicious cycle of acquisition and consumption. We have bases, therefore we must have important interests to protect; our important interests having been protected than a steady flow of economic activity -- raw materials, finished goods, investments, travel, and more?

What happens when we recognize a strategic imperative to do less, spend less, consume less?

(3) Climate Action is essential to our movement building.

Peace and Planet 2015 - model of cross-movement organizing
One of the big lessons to me of 2015 was that the peace movement and the environmental movement have realized that they are not separate movements, and they cannot accomplish their goals as separate movements.

An excellent example of this was the Peace and Planet event in New York City in April, 2015. It brought activists together from around the world to work on peace issues (particularly nuclear disarmament) and climate action.

Another example was the World Nuclear Victims Forum, which I attended in Hiroshima in November, 2015.

Yet another example is the integrated Alternative Global Security System from World Beyond War.

The closer we get to taking serious action on the climate crisis and global warming, the clearer it becomes that it is part and parcel of putting a stop to our militaristic ways.

Other Related Posts

It will benefit us antiwar activists in the US to attend to and reflect upon the importance of these Sustainable Development Goals to achieving the goal of ending war.

(See PEACE DAY 2016: What comes first? Demilitarization? or Development?)

Far more important than the historic performance of fossil fuel stocks is the future correlation of fossil fuel stocks to generalized, systemic risk in the market, and their negative correlation to the few sectors of the market that stand apart from that risk.

(See The Feel-Good Folly of Fossil-Fuel Valuation )

What if we had a massive region in the heart of the country pushing back against the war-crazed conventional wisdom of "more weapons," "more consumption," and "more destruction of the environment"?

(See Another Modest Proposal: A Green, Demilitarized Midwest! )