The First Step To Averting Climate Catastrophe

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Above Photo: gregwest98 / Flickr

Here we are, a full three decades after NASA scientist James Hansen raised the specter of a looming climate crisis with Congress, looking at the first generation of severely impacted youth and telling them they’re right: We have completely squandered their future. For too long, our dominant culture has practiced unsustainable growth and consumption, ushering in the end of a habitable planet and with it civilization as we know it. Those most impacted are the communities who have contributed the least to climate change, a direct extension of the settler colonization project that has unfolded across the globe over hundreds of years.

Jane Fonda and her Fire Drill Fridays are linking social movements across issues, eyeing the connections between the myriad problems we see causing climate chaos, many of them rooted in capitalist consumer culture. From the need to tease apart incarceration from profit to outrage at our treatment of asylum-seekers at our southern border, we’ve witnessed rapid wins in the movement to divest public dollars from the private prison industry after years of hard work behind the scenes. The same asylum-seekers who are fleeing nations ravaged by wars and conflicts—many driven directly by U.S. policy—and the impacts of climate crisis are being held in appalling conditions in concentration camps and prisons, many of them run by the private prison industry. We are encouraged by intersectional organizing, and thrilled that Jane is connecting the dots that link militarism, weapons corporations, migration, and the climate crisis. We are clear on the impact: the Pentagon is the single largest consumer of oil on the planet, but the nationwide call for a Green New Deal has not yet given attention to our military spending as either a massive driver of the climate crisis that cannot be ignored, nor as a source of much-needed funding for a project as massive as the Green New Deal.

Movements to divest from the military and movements to divest from fossil fuels often face the same bad actors. Recent actions targeting the massive asset manager BlackRock are drawing attention to their investments in companies behind Amazon deforestation. Investing in these companies undermines our ability to maintain a livable planet, namely by destroying the forests that are the lungs of the earth in the Amazon basin. Here at CODEPINK, we have also given considerable attention to BlackRock because they are the world’s top investor in weapons manufacturers, but even this more explicitly anti-war action connects to the climate crisis. The same weapons that are used in wars and conflicts all over the world are a crucial component of the war machine that makes up a significant portion of the Pentagon’s fossil fuel use—the U.S. military has released 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases since the start of the global war on terror in 2001. Moreover, those same weapons are a major factor in conflicts that lead to migration by asylum-seekers—weapons that are in turn produced by corporations that are propped up by our public dollars, to the detriment of our communities. When our public institutions invest public money in weapons corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman, they are underpinning the war machine that draws public dollars away from projects benefiting our communities and puts them into an already bloated defense budget. There is a clear thread running from the Pentagon budget to weapons corporations to our impoverished communities to migrants fleeing wars and drought to greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate crisis. Imagine a snake consuming its own body: that is the war machine’s connection to climate breakdown. We must begin rapidly removing our public dollars from the war machine if we are to save humanity and the planet—which, like the climate crisis and the war machine, cannot be separated.

The time has arrived to build the next big divestment movement made up of people coming together across the planet to divest from the war machine—by withdrawing our public dollars from weapons corporations and putting them into local needs, including local green new deals, housing, health care, and education. The path to divestment has been laid by successful movements before ours; it is paved with the South African Apartheid regime, with coal and gas extraction companies, with gun manufacturers and tobacco companies, and with the private prison industry. The opportunities for divestment from the war machine abound. Cities, public pension funds, and university endowments invest public dollars in private corporations that often include weapons corporations, and elected public servants often accept campaign contributions from weapons-makers. Together we can demand that they divest because it is morally unacceptable to build our communities on top of global conflicts. At the same time, we must demand that we instead invest our public resources in projects that positively impact our communities, starting first with a rapid response to the climate crisis that is exacerbated by endless wars.

Join Jane Fonda Thursday night, November 7, for her teach-in on the connections between war and climate chaos. On Friday, I will bring this message to the Fire Drill Friday rally on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol to call on all of us to engage to Divest from War. We will then march to the White House to call out the current resident who just took steps to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Join in person or on the Fire Drill Friday livestream.

  • https : // www . nasa . gov / feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth/

    Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds

    From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown
    significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels
    of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in
    the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

    An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight
    countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from
    NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic
    and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution
    Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount
    of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening
    represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area
    to two times the continental United States.

  • chetdude

    Ah, zlaxy, another useful idiot doing the fossil-fool corporation’s work for them.

    Lots of weeds…not much food…


    ‘While rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the air can be beneficial for plants, it is also the chief culprit of climate change. The gas, which traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing since the industrial age due to the burning of oil, gas, coal and wood for energy and is continuing to reach concentrations not seen in at least 500,000 years. The impacts of climate change include global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice as well as more severe weather events.

    ‘The beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide on plants may also be limited, said co-author Dr. Philippe Ciais, associate director of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-suv-Yvette, France. “Studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising carbon dioxide concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”’

    Other major side-effects of AGW, loss of arable land and destruction of the ocean food supplies…

  • Wacanta

    Hope all that vegetation provides a lot of shade as we keep setting new high temperature records everywhere!

  • It is Western hoax organized by NOAA:

    https : / / wolnemedia . net / szczyt-klimatyczny/

  • Ah, zlaxy, another useful idiot doing the fossil-fool corporation’s work for them.

    You are Western deceiver. It is you doing the fossil-fool corporation’s work for them:

    To this day, global climate policy is still shaped by the agenda of Maurice Strong, a Canadian multimillionaire
    In the Sixties, having become very rich himself from Canada’s oil industry, Strong came to see that the key to his vision was “environmentalism”, the one cause the UN could harness to make itself a truly powerful world government.

    https : / / www . telegraph . co . uk / news/earth/paris-climate-change-conference/12035401/Farewell-to-the-man-who-invented-climate-change.html

    “Beginning in the 1980s, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund became leading advocates of the global warming agenda. … In their Sustainable Development Program Review, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund boasts of being one of the first major global warming activists, citing its strong advocacy for both the 1988 formation of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 1992 establishment of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    https : / / www . globalresearch . ca / rockefeller-familys-covert-climate-change-plan/5678775

  • Werner Rhein

    laxy, where did you get all this nonsense from, Oh I see you mentioned in here but what is not mentioned is that after the greening period in the natural cycle there is a drying cycle and that cycle is what makes the situation worse. All that green stuff will now get brown and very flammable.
    Did you see what was happening in California and now in Australia but also in a bit smaller scales in Canada and even Europes south.
    It burns up creating heat and more CO2 which is heating up our atmosphere. It is a vicious circle and it it increasing more and more.
    laxy, please before you read anything think and look where your information is coming from, there is an other source in between the original results of research and studies. It is the industries and corporations who are profiting from burning fossil fuels.

  • Wacanta

    And you’re a russian pox organized by the lizard people of Xanterra.

  • I am not russian.

    You try to joke out your irresponsible claims as i could understand you.

  • Wacanta

    Dah, comrade; I can tell you not rushun, and you must to be ameriKKKan. Not joking out, either.

  • I am a Slav from the land of Vyatichi. “Russian” is insult here.

    Anyway your claims are irresponsible.

  • Wacanta

    Yes, you’re a slav(e) to the ACD “chinese hoax”, and your claims are totally irresponsible to the survival of our species.

  • Your species are Wealth Western Whities. Yo do not want to decrease your level of consumption, you want depopulate of people around the world to seize their resources.

  • Wacanta

    You’re correct about that, and I’ve been protesting my governments actions since 1969, when I went to my first big protest against the Vietnam War, and I’m protesting to this day against presidunce dump. I own 4.5 acres in the Colorado Rockies, and could have built a 3,000 sq ft house, but I had a 24’X8′ tiny home built 3.5 years ago, so you’re wrong about me.

  • You are an common irresponsible Western Supremacist. I think you are supporting US imperialism by money (taxes) and legitimization (voting)

  • Wacanta

    Your reading comprehension is obviously zero, and it sounds like you expect me to stop voting and stop paying taxes so that I’ll no longer be a “Western Supremacist”, so I’ll say “bye bye” and you can go back into your mommies basement and continue typing out your delusional fantasies.

  • You are an common irresponsible Western Supremacist.

    As i understand you, you confirmed supporting US invasion wars and imperialism by money and legitimization.