Climate and Peace

Our Mission 

Massachusetts Peace Action works to promote national and international action to limit human-induced climate change. MAPA realizes the threat posed by climate change, and promotes a healthy environment and development. MAPA seeks to promote policies that will promote societal as well as environmental peace for our future generations.

The drought in Syria illustrates the interconnected nature of peace and climate. It lasted from 2006 to 2009 and contributed to civil unrest and uprisings against the Assad regime in 2011. In 2015, Scientists published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists linking that drought to human induced climate changes in the region. Therefore, climate change contributed to precipitating the Civil War in Syria today.

The mass migration of Syrian refugees to neighboring countries and beyond during this conflict may be only a preview of the vast numbers of climate refugees that global warming will create in the coming years. Climate change and peace are intimately connected. Even the Defense Department sees climate change as a “threat multiplier.” One cannot hope for long term stability and peace without addressing the climate crisis.

Such an effort will require global cooperation. The U.N. Climate Change talks in Paris last December were an important step in coming to international consensus about the reality of human caused climate change. While all parties agreed on the importance of keeping temperature rises below two degrees Celsius difference from their pre-industrial levels, these talks did not lay a binding and enforceable framework to keep countries such as China, India, and the U.S. from veering away from the agreement.

We must put pressure on our leaders to address the climate crisis. Massachusetts Peace Action emphasizes the multiple connections between issues of climate and peace. 

Conversion. Our society and economy must undergo a fundamental conversion to reach a peaceful future beyond fossil fuels. This includes a new economy based on sustainable energy sources and prioritization of peaceful objectives

Global Petroleum Supply Chain. Shipment of petroleum around the world is rendered unnecessary by renewable energy and conservation. Continued shipping of petroleum degrades the climate, and defending that supply chain has significant military costs (not just financial, but also on human life)

The U.S. Military is the single largest institutional contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Re-allocating spending away from the Military will allow pursuit of other "public goods," and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change is a threat multiplier. The U.S. Department of Defense has identified climate change as a threat multiplier, and has developed programs to address the threats that it poses. Mitigating climate change will abate the multiplication of threats, and in the process reduce military spending.

Jobs at Home. U.S. military and energy practices and policies result in the creation of jobs abroad that could be in the United States. The jobs should be brought home to peaceful, sustainable pursuits.

International cooperation. To respond to climate disruption, we need increased cooperation to ensure people are taken care of, both on the community level and on the international level.  We need strong international agreements that give the environment and the world economy a path forward.

Our Actions

The Massachusetts Peace Action Climate Change task force works with several environmental organizations to promote events and awareness of climate change issues. In addition, MAPA works with these other groups to protest continued destruction of the environment without concern from corporations or the government. 

Learn more about the Climate and Peace Working Group 

Read the 2017 Work Plan for Climate and Peace