Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Immense Cost To Our Planetary Environment Of Our Government’s Addiction To War-making

Painted banner by the author of this post, Russell Wray.
Today I'm sharing an op-ed written by Zumwalt 12 member Russell Wray, a fantastic artist with a focus on loving and protecting marine life.

Russell's op-ed was first published in the Bangor Daily News on January 30, 2017 under the headline "BIW should make life-affirming products instead of death machines."

On February 1st, the trial of the Zumwalt 12 will begin. We will be going to stand trial for obstructing a public way just outside of the Bath Iron Works (BIW), during a  protest of the “christening” of a Navy Zumwalt destroyer this past June 18th. 

Though none of us dispute the fact that we did indeed block traffic on the road for approximately ten minutes, we are pleading not-guilty, and the jury will hear why we believe our action was not only reasonable, but it was also necessary, in order to try to prevent a much greater crime that would do far greater harm to our planet.  

Four of the Zumwalt 12 are veterans of the US military, all members of Veterans For Peace, who strongly believe that our nation’s militaristic, imperialist policies and actions are in violation of international law and have made the US a rogue state. They recognize the fact that the Zumwalt has nothing to do with defending the coastline of the United States, for it was designed and built to be a stealth, forward deployed attack weapon.  

Like other Navy warships, it will likely be ported at some of the roughly one thousand US bases around the world. These bases usually come at the expense of the local people’s right to decide for themselves if they even want that base on their own lands and waters, as well as their right to a healthy environment. For these veterans, sitting down in the road at BIW was “an act of civil resistance, not a matter of breaking the law, but an action taken in response to broken laws.”

It was a cry out to the American people to look at what our government is doing to others around the world, in our name.
A number of us choose to take this action for deeply held faith-based reasons. One of these has stated that “As a follower of the nonviolent Jesus, I found it impossible to remain silent as another weapon of mass destruction was blessed and prepared for delivery to the Navy…..Through the simple act of sitting down and refusing to move, we embodied a resounding “No” to the immeasurable suffering caused by national policies that have made weapons of masdestruction and unrestrained, endless war our country’s major exports.”
Members of the jury will also be hearing from some of us economic reasons for opposing these warships. Only three of these ships having been, or are being built thus far, at a staggering cost of over $21 billion. This brings to mind President Eisenhower's  famous quote: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…” 

There is also the immense cost to our planetary environment brought about by our government’s addiction to war-making. 
To mention only two of the innumerable ways our planet is suffering this addiction: The Pentagon’s vast carbon footprint, the Pentagon being the single largest contributor to climate disruption on the planet. The other, an important reason for my own participation in the action, is the great harm being done to marine life because of the Navy’s refusal to take meaningful, commonsense mitigation measures that would drastically reduce impacts resulting from its reckless use of sonar. 

While we each had our own personal reasons that led us to sit down in the road that day, it’s fair to say that we all share the belief that if we are going to continue living on this planet, it is absolutely necessary that we move away from militarism and war towards a more sustainable culture of diplomacy and cooperation, where justice prevails, and we care for one another and the Earth. 
We would all be much better off, if instead of building death machines, BIW’s skilled workers were building high-speed rail, wind turbines, and other sustainable, life-affirming products. Lets make that change happen!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Path Of Most Resistance Would Oppose Wars, Too

Image from petition "Will you stand for peace?" directed at the organizers of the April 29 People's Climate March
What's wrong with this picture? It speaks a thousand unnecessary words about why war and militarism are the most clear and present threat to environmental health. 

It would be hard to think of a more effective engine of climate change than the billowing smoke of the thousands of fires caused by weapons in the oil and gas rich regions of our planet.

My friend Jenny Gray posted some wisdom today that I've lost in the flood of information; essentially, she vowed to follow the path of most resistance. I inferred her nod to the notion that the path of least resistance often leads to people supporting policies that are deadly to the planet and its life forms. For instance, men in offices blandly signing death warrants for names on a list.

The path of least resistance these days is masquerading as the path of most resistance. (Because, the demagogue with bad hair!!!) However, if you bear in mind that the way most propaganda works is not by telling lies but by directing our attention away from glaring truths, the mask falls away.

The organization World Beyond War is circulating this critique of the so-called "People's Climate March" slated for April 29 in Washington DC. Among the claims on the march organizers' web site:
There are nine points to the People’s Climate platform that were developed over the last year. They are:
  • Directly and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas and toxic pollution to successfully combat climate change and improve public health
  • Mandate a transition to an equitable and sustainable New Energy and Economic Future that limits the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
  • Provide a Just Transition for communities and workers negatively impacted by the shift to a New Energy and Economic Future that includes targeted economic opportunity and provides stable income, health care, and education
  • Demand that every job pays a wage of at least $15 an hour, protects workers, and provides a good standard of living, pathways out of poverty, and a right to organize
  • Ensure that investments are targeted to create pathways for low-income people and people of color to access good jobs and improve the lives of communities of color, indigenous peoples, low-income people, small farmers, women, and workers.
  • Make bold investments in the resilience of states, cities, tribes, and communities that are threatened by climate change; including massive investments in infrastructure systems from water, transportation, and solid waste to the electrical grid and safe, green building and increasing energy efficiency that will also create millions of jobs in the public and private sector
  • Reinvest in a domestic industrial base that drives towards an equitable and sustainable New Energy and Economic Future, and fight back against the corporate trade-induced global race to the bottom
  • Market- and policy-based mechanisms must protect human rights and critical, native ecosystems and reduce pollution at source

Sounds good, right? Except that there's no mention of the #1 driver of carbon pollution and climate change: the military.

If you can't smell the Democratic Party bullshit at this point, you may have a head cold interfering with your olfactory organ.

Why won't people who claim to be concerned about the environment -- for instance, -- come out against wars? Probably because their political allies have taken and continue to take massive donations from the corporations who profit from building climate wrecking weapons of mass destruction.

Wars begun before the current regime took the White House will continue to get uglier, and new wars may even get nuclear

When will the misinformed people in the U.S. mount significant resistance to militarism as a way of life? After it's already too late?

You can join me in signing the petition to the People's Climate March organizers here, though it is unlikely they will listen as their ears are plugged up with corporate donations. But if another person sees that you signed and is led to ask a crucial question about the link between militarism and climate change, your communication will have worked.

You can also join the Natural Guard campaign by signing the pledge here. Be a communication worker and help bring news of the path of real resistance to people befuddled by corporate media messaging.

Add your name to join the Natural Guard effort from wherever you are!

I pledge to speak out about the effects of militarism on our environment, because the commons we all share that sustain life are valuable to me. 

In discussions about security and safety, I will remind others of the need to count in the cost in pollution and fuel consumption of waging wars all around the planet.

In discussions about acting soon to protect our loved ones from the effects of climate chaos, I will remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and its many contractors in contributing to planetary warming.

Lisa Savage, Solon, ME
Mark Roman, Solon, ME
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Wade Fulmer
Curtis Cole
Bob Dale
Christine A. DeTroy
Eric Herter
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natasha mayers
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Beth Adams
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Jason Rawn!
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Peter S. Morgan, Jr., Raymond, ME
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Will Thomas, Auburn, NH
Wendy Thomas, Auburn, NH
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Juyeon Rhee, Tenafly, NJ
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