In the years during and after wars, including WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War, Friends were concerned and involved in work for peace. But more recently with the nebulous war on terror, with military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries in Africa and elsewhere, politicians, the media, and others have worked hard to keep these conflicts, and the deaths of thousands of American, in-country forces, and civilians hidden as much as possible. Congress has abdicated its power to declare war to the presidency. The obscene amounts of money for war leaves little for social programs.
To this day we have not come to grips with fundamental injustices our country was built on, the genocide and theft of land from Native Americans, and the enslavement of African Americans. The consequences of these injustices continue to plague our society today. And will continue to impact us until we do what is necessary to bring these injustices to light, and find ways to heal these wounds, and build real justice.
It is becoming more obvious even to those who were determined to ignore the mounting threats from climate change, that climate change is not only real, but becoming more dangerous quickly, and that we are on a path to extinction of life on earth. The historic, widespread and continuing flooding along the Missouri River has caused a lot of immediate damage, forcing people from their homes, contaminating water supplies, killing livestock, covering and/or destroying bridges, roads and buildings. The long-term damage with the loss of topsoil, and ruin of corn in storage bins will have significant long-term effects. Failing crop production will cause food prices to increase dramatically. Many farmers may not be able to recover from these losses and the amount of money needed to rebuild.
Many tipping points related to increasing greenhouse gas emissions have been exceeded. Environmental collapse is occurring much sooner than any climate models have predicted.
We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event.
There are real questions about whether to even try to address this dire outlook. Many young people are deciding they can’t bring children into the world, where they will be exposed to increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters.
There are several reasons I have gotten involved with the Sunrise Movement, that is working hard to make a Green New Deal a reality. A Green New Deal (GND) is the only plan that addresses the scope of what would be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the scale, and in the timeframe, to give us any hope of survival. One of the primary goals of a GND is a just transition to 100% renewable energy. To do this will require retooling our energy systems and create millions of new jobs in the process.
To do this will also require that we shift the vast sums of money away from the military to help fund a Green New Deal. This is necessary not only for using our taxes in the way we want them to be used, for peace and economic development, but also because the U.S military is one of the greatest fossil fuel polluters in the world.
It is important to note that this transition be a just transition, which involves installing renewable energy infrastructure in those areas that are currently experiencing environmental, economic, social, and racial injustice. These communities are where fossil fuel infrastructure and pollution is currently operating. This also means focusing on bringing new, well paying jobs to those who live in these communities.
The GND thus addresses not only restructuring our energy infrastructure but will do so in ways that begin to bring justice to those who now suffer environmental, economic, social, and racial injustice. For all these reasons, I believe all of us who have worked, and continue to work for peace and justice, should come together to help implement a Green New Deal.