I recently said “there are several reasons I’ve begun to write what I hope will be a series of posts about working for peace and justice.” What I still plan to write is that we have to awaken people out of apathy. It will take vast numbers of us to halt the march toward authoritarianism here and around the world. It will take a massive uprising to rapidly cease the use of fossil fuels and in the process build Beloved communities to bring us together to empower our friends, neighbors and ourselves.
There are hopeful signs this is beginning to happen. From Vox.com:
A massive global youth-led protest demanding political action on climate change took place Friday, with 2,300 school strikes taking place in over 130 countries.“One of the largest environmental protests ever is underway. It’s led by children. Kids are fed up with grown-ups’ inaction on climate change” by Umair Irfan Updated May 24, 2019
But today, Memorial Day, war and peace are brought into focus. Even though I don’t believe in war, I respect those who serve in the military, who have fought wars, so many of whom were killed and injured doing so. These men and women invest at least several years in service, time taken away from their families, risking their lives because they believe this is the way to protect the country and their loved ones. Unfortunately they kill and injure others in the process, often noncombatants. That obviously takes a great toll on soldiers. It is hard to process that around 20 veterans take their own lives every day. 10-20% of veterans suffer post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The challenge for those of us who do not believe war is the answer is to convince those who believe war is. There aren’t any easy answers to that, but that is what I intend to discuss in future posts.
There is one other thing I’ve been thinking about. Many have pointed out that the antiwar movement has been conspicuously absent for years. When I hear that, I wonder if I should have been doing something different than my focus on environmental abuse and destruction. Others who I have worked with on that are also people who don’t believe in war. It seems much of the peace movement has changed to focus on environmental devastation. I think that makes sense. The reason people focused on preventing war was because of the massive death and destruction that occurs, as well as the damage it does to those who fight.
Today we are seeing the consequences of the war on Mother Earth. The fossil fuel industry and profligate materialism are the enemy. Far more misery, death and destruction is occurring, and will continue to occur from our unfolding environmental catastrophe than has ever occurred from war.
I believe the environmental movement is today’s peace movement.