Climate & Peace

This article appeared in our Spring 2017 Newsletter.

How do we bring the climate and peace action closer together? What values, often implicit, do these movements share, and how can we articulate them and act on them most effectively in this time of crisis? Many groups standing against President Trump share a strong desire to build a more unified movement; how do we unite while carrying on our own campaigns?
Making connections between peace and climate issues is an ongoing project of MAPA’s peace and climate working group. The issues are complex and the connections run deep. We are reaching out to community groups to increase our understanding of these complexities and the common grounds for action.

In October we had a successful event with Robert Pollin, author of Greening the Global Economy, who described how we can work toward a less militarized, less fossil fuel dependent, more just economy. In December, the film Age of Consequences drew a large audience and lively discussion. As the film demonstrated, the Pentagon is worried about climate change as a “threat multiplier”. The war in Syria is widely seen as having been caused in large part by a drought that drove many people off the land and into the cities.

Do we need to worry about the uses that the military can make of this perception? Some commentators argue that describing the climate crisis as a security issue could lead to more military involvement in our development assistance. Arguing that scarcity of food and water resources because of drought and other climate disruption inevitably fosters conflict may mask the possibility of other options for adaptation, such as more equitable land distribution or shifts to biodiverse, water-retaining agricultural practices.

We will continue to hold events and talk with others about the issues. The need for a clearly articulated positive agenda has never been greater. As we protest the outrages of the present administration we need to articulate values, policies, and actions that would, in fact, work. We welcome people interested in delving into these issues.