By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, April 25, 2021
The Earth is dying. President Biden intends to ask various money lenders to put poor countries deeper into debt to help. OK. Better than nothing, right?
He also intends to spend $1.2 billion on climate aid to poor countries. Hey, that’s awesome, right? Imagine what kind of solar panels and new windows your house could have for $1.2 billion. Only problem, of course, is that the world is larger than one house, and just for perspective (not to mention the contradictory results), consider that the U.S. government in 2019, according to USAID, handed out $33 billion in economic aid plus $14 billion in military “aid.”
Biden also plans for the U.S. government to spend $14 billion on the climate, which compares rather unfavorably to the $20 billion it hands out annually in fossil fuel subsidies, not counting livestock subsidies, never mind the $1,250 billion the U.S. government spends each year on war and war preparations.
The President also says he wants to reduce U.S. emissions 50 to 52 percent by the year 2030. That sounds super fantastically better than nothing, right? But the fine print not found in the U.S. media reports includes that he actually means reducing 2005 levels by 50 to 52 percent by 2030. And the totally missing print that environmental activists know from past experience to object to includes such slimy practices as excluding from the calculation any emissions from imported goods or from international shipping and aviation or from the burning of biomass (that’s green!), plus the omission of predictable feedback loops, plus the building into the calculations the benefits of imaginary future pro-climate technologies.
These are some of the reasons people dumped wheelbarrows full of BS as close as they could get to the White House this week.
And then there are the things that even the environmental activist organizations tend to go silent on. These often include livestock. They almost always include militarism, which is generally excluded from climate agreements and even discussions about climate agreements.
Here’s a 1.5-minute video introduction to the problem of militarism for the earth:
War and preparations for war are not just the pit into which trillions of dollars that could be used to prevent environmental damage are dumped, but also a major direct cause of that environmental damage.
The U.S. military is one of the biggest polluters on earth. Since 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the annual emissions of 257 million cars on the road. The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest institutional consumer of oil ($17B/year) in the world, and the largest global landholder with 800 foreign military bases in 80 countries. By one estimate, the U.S. military used 1.2 million barrels of oil in Iraq in just one month of 2008. One military estimate in 2003 was that two-thirds of the U.S. Army’s fuel consumption occurred in vehicles that were delivering fuel to the battlefield.
Some of us struggle to educate on and actually implement laws against war and genocide, of which ecocide is a close cousin and ought to be recognized and treated as such.
Here are a few ideas of things that can be done to advance the needed education and activism.
1. EcoAction – Military and Climate Webinar April 25
This forum will explore how the military impacts upon climate change. We will hear from Madelyn Hoffman of the NJ Greens and longtime former Director of NJ Peace Action; David Swanson of World BEYOND War; and Delilah Barrios of Texas Greens. April 25, 2021 04:00 PM in Eastern Daylight Time (US and Canada) (GMT-04:00) REGISTER.
2. Join Russian-U.S. NGO Initiative to Plant a Tree for Peace April 25
If you can’t plant a tree today, build on this example from Russia House for future days.
3. Militarism & Climate Change: Disaster in Progress Webinar April 29
Both anti-war and climate movements are fighting for justice and life for all people on a livable planet. It’s increasingly clear that we can’t have one without the other. No climate justice, no peace, no planet. April 29, 2021 • 7:00 PM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00) REGISTER.
4. War and the Environment: June 7 – July 18 Online Course
Grounded in research on peace and ecological security, this course focuses on the relationship between two existential threats: war and environmental catastrophe. We will cover:
• Where wars happen and why.
• What wars do to the earth.
• What imperial militaries do to the earth back home.
• What nuclear weapons have done and could do to people and the planet.
• How this horror is hidden and maintained.
• What can be done.
5. Use the Resources
Make use of the fact sheets, articles, videos, powerpoints, movies, books, and other resources on war and the environment from World BEYOND War here.
6. Sign Petition to John Kerry and U.S. Congress: Stop Excluding Military Pollution from Climate Agreements
As a result of final hour demands made by the United States during negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto treaty, military carbon emissions were exempted from climate negotiations. But the U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world and a key contributor to climate collapse! U.S. climate envoy designate, John Kerry, is right; the Paris Agreement is “not enough.” Sign this petition.
7. Sign a Letter to John Kerry Drafted by Veterans For Peace
We ask Climate Envoy Kerry to:
1. Include military Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in all reporting and data on GHGs (they never should have been excluded).
2. Use his public platform to promote major reductions in the military and its expenditures, including eliminating hundreds of overseas bases, rejecting nuclear modernization and endless war.
3. Promote bilateral accords with Russia and China to stop funding fossil fuel projects and promote cooperation toward green economies.
4. Fight for the US to pay its fair share to the Green Climate Fund.
5. Promote a Just Transition with union jobs and prevailing wages for workers displaced from the fossil fuel and weapons industries, and for low-wage workers.
6. View grassroots climate, environmental justice and anti-war groups as allies and work with them as partners.
8. Demilitarize a Green New Deal
Talk with advocates for a Green New Deal about where the money can come from and the green good that would be accomplished directly by defunding militarism.
This article was previously published on David Swanson’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is cofounder and executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook, Longer bio. Sample videos. Areas of focus: Swanson has spoken on all variety of topics related to war and peace. Facebook and Twitter.