Saturday, March 29, 2014

Toward an end to an ecology of war

An ecology of peace would be a set of relationships that included care for Life, and a programmatic approach to transformation of conflict. Anything less should simply mean more struggle toward it.

What happens when we have an ecology of war?

We see disregard for Life and we see a default to destructive conflict.

In 1957, for example, the Marines at Camp Lejune first started contaminating their well water, the water that Marines and their families drink, with trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent used to degrease metal. Outside researchers, responding to medical problems, found two directly related phenomena. One, the well water on the base was contaminated with many things but the TCE levels were 280 times the maximum allowed by EPA. Two, "the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found an alarming rate of miscarriages, birth defects and childhood leukemias" (Goode, 2007). A million Marines and their families have been exposed.

So? Freedom isn't free. Friendly fire happens, either with bullets or chemical internally delivered 'bullets.' Marines die, their children die, their spouses die, you pay your war taxes and it's all spent up before we can get around to health care as a right in the US. Instead, it is your right to have Marines, in your name, attack in Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, Korea, and all the way back. So there are some desultory efforts to reduce the pollution but all efforts to apply stricter standards to Camp Lejune water have "met with resistance from the Pentagon" (Goode, 2007).
Key to resolving these attacks on the Earth is fixing our methods of conflict management. When we begin to frame each crisis as an opportunity to negotiate a win-win outcome and commit to doing so nonviolently, we will have troops who are unarmed with hardware and well armed with knowledge, specific multicultural skills, and strategic nonviolence. We will have leaders who work to reassure everyone that we will not exploit anyone, that we are committed to nonviolence, and we don't need so many metal instruments to degrease. We will shut down all foreign military bases and convert all domestic bases to peaceful methods of national defense.

That will be a key component of an ecology of peace. We can get there incrementally, and at some points, we can take large strides.


Goode, Darren (2007, May 25). Investigative panel targeting pollution at military bases. CongressDaily. p. 6.

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