We cannot end climate change without ending war. The United States military is the planet’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gases and consumer of oil. The US military and its weapons, consistently deployed to secure economic dominance for the few while ensuring suffering for the many, has no place on a just and livable planet. The corporate interests and fascist, militarist tendencies that lead humanity into conflict are the very same that view our Earth, its atmosphere, and its abundant life as a resource to be exploited for profit. Ending war means ending the war economy – the colonial system of extraction and exploitation that got us into this mess in the first place.
That a more peaceful world could be a result of the broad system change climate activists are calling for is no coincidence. But the theoretical intersection alone isn’t enough! As environmentalists and climate change activists, we must make our commitment to peace explicit. Our planet depends on it.
This Earth Day, April 22nd, let’s get loud for peace on Earth Day! Ending the war economy and divesting from military contractors is crucial for our climate, just like preventing the Willow Project in Alaska, stopping Cop City, and adopting Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as opposed to GDP as our primary economic metric! On Earth Day, we stand with our partners who make these demands, and all demands which will bring the war and fossil fuel economy to a timely end. Request posters for your Earth Day events, join your local Earth Day actions and participate in our Earth Day webinars! Join us in uplifting #EarthDayEndWar and WAR IS NOT GREEN!
1. Well, War Is Not Green.
If you needed another reason to oppose war aside from the threat of nuclear destruction, massive civilian casualties, violence against women and the concentration of fascist imperialist powers into corporatized hands, this is it. The US Pentagon already is the planet’s largest single institutional emitter of fossil fuels, and US-backed conflicts around the world since WWII can always be tied back to economic gain dominance, especially via the private control of fuel and natural resources. A war with China, which the US has gradually encircled with hundreds of military bases and weaponry, is being provoked for economic reasons as the government and media manufacture the consent of the American public. This will only result in the increase of Pentagon funding (already at $858 billion), siphoning off billions of dollars of taxpayer money to infrastructure and weaponry which is destroying our climate. Many people don’t realize that every solution to climate change already exists – the government simply will not fund it when its priority is making war. Demilitarization is one of the most important things we can do for the climate, and for living beings inside and outside conflict zones. Learn more about the environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine, for example.
2. The War Economy Is Not Green
While the basic tenets of capitalism are taught in America as economic law, this is hardly the case. This broken and optional system in which we find ourselves –where income inequality is at an all-time high, the poor have little access to healthcare, and the climate is nearing deadly tipping points – is driven by capitalists and federal economists who love to talk about the profit-oriented metric Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. This metric, which is used as an indicator of our country’s well-being, tells us the amount of financial profit produced by economic activity in a given time period. Which is pretty ridiculous when well-being is obviously a function of things that aren’t liquid cash, like quality of education, healthcare, and biodiversity. Essentially, under a GDP-oriented economy, half of a country’s forest cover could be destroyed and the poverty rate in all major cities could double over the course of a year, but as long as billionaires continue to increase their profits, the illusion of progress persists. But if we manage to change how we measure progress in this country, we may actually be able to achieve some. Genuine Progress Indicator is a metric which places value on things like improving air quality and food security. With GPI in place, lawmakers and activists would have the most undeniable picture yet of the cost of war on people and planet. Learn more here.
3. Biden Is Not Green
“No more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period.” President Biden uttered these words on the campaign trail in 2020, swearing up and down that he would be the climate champion we need in this moment and ban fossil fuel extraction on federal land. Well, this man lied. He has approved more federal oil and gas leases in his first two years in office than Donald Trump did in his. The degree to which our sitting president lied to get into office is appalling – this wasn’t a mere fib. Biden’s disregard for his own climate promises will shrink the time we as a species have to reach net-negative greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late to avoid climate collapse. That time stands at just over 6 years. President Biden must revoke his approval of the Willow Project for the sake of every living being on this planet, and to make good by the young voters he courted on the campaign trail with his climate promises. He must then follow through and legally protect all federal land from further extraction. We don’t have time for him to wait.