We Must Dismantle The War Machine To Avoid The Climate Catastrophe

| Resist!

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 the 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

Jodie Evans is an activist and co-founder of CODEPINK.

  • voza0db

    How many MILLIONS of americans are DIRECTLY involved in the USofT WAR MACHINE?

    How many MILLIONS of americans are INDIRECTLY involved in the USofT WAR MACHINE?

    Find out those numbers and then start to think on how can one persuade an extra-high-income or a low-income worker, from the CEO’s like these

    to the average modern slaves like these

    that make a living from the USofT WAR MACHINE, to quite their jobs and financial stability? Find out how can you CHANGE this and the WAR MACHINE problem is resolved.

    And about Jane Fonda… I’m already sorry I went to the site to read more about that!

    At some point Jane Fonda DECLARES: “One reason Al Quaeda bombed the U.S. on 9/11“! I guess she’s talking about some other fun event! When did Al Quaeda bombed the USofT? Any videos?!

    This is why all these Hollywood old celebs should remain in theirs CA mansions…

  • ThisOldMan

    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.

    Actually, the climate crisis is not merely “exacerbated” by endless wars. The climate crisis would’ve been addressed in some meaningful fashion not long after James Hansen first testified on the issue before Congress if it were not for the (well known by those who’ve thought about it) fact that modern warfare is utterly dependent on cheap and abundant oil and gas, with no affordable alternatives in sight. (Consider, by way of contrast, what happened after the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1976 that the ozone hole was caused by CFC’s.) Moreover, even the Pentagon does not have the resources needed to create and maintain the massive global infrastructure needed to keep oil and gas cheap and abundant; for that the Military Industrial Complex needs the rest of the economy to remain utterly dependent on their use. The MIC of course includes the oil and gas companies, but it is much larger, politically powerful, and even more ruthless. This is why this article’s conclusion is spot on, even if its arguments could’ve been stronger.

  • voza0db
  • voza0db

    I’m sorry to destroy ONCE AGAIN your illusions and hope!

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has made an unusual announcement distinct from his normal emphasis on mere ‘defiance’ of US sanctions; instead, he is now boasting of the discovery of a new oil field with over 50 billion barrels of crude in the country’s south.

    “I am telling the White House that in the days when you sanctioned the sale of Iranian oil and pressured our nation, the country’s dear workers and engineers were able to discover 53 billion barrels of oil in a big field,” Rouhani said in a speech Sunday.“!

    I seems clear what will the United States of Terrorism will do next!

  • Mark

    I agree with the points Ms. Evans make, particularly how we need to connect the issues. However, when she says that the Green New Deal fails to address the need to curb the military, she is referring not to the original GND by the Green Party which puts that issue front and center but to the weaker GND now advanced by Democrats such as AOC and the Sunrise Movement. This is just the latest example of how ideas initially championed by the Greens – and other community groups – get weakened once the Democrats feel it is time to jump on board.

  • mwildfire

    I hate to feed your ranti-Americanism, voza, but it is sickening to read that the US military has the highest public support of any institution–whereas the Congress, for example, stays in the single digits. I don’t know all the reasons but one of them is the enormous investment by the pentagon in Hollywood–TV shows, movies, and then even book publishers so often have a pro-military theme.

  • mwildfire

    It was several years after the ozone hole was discovered before anything was done, and the protocol directly followed the successful development by the companies involved of alternative substances. Once they had those in hand, they ceased their denial and wanted a global solution immediately. Climate is a much, much more complicated thing–a handful of human-made chemicals caused the ozone hole, used in a few applications–fossil fuels are absolutely everywhere, the entire economy runs on them–the two situations are not comparable. As to your last statements comparing the oil lobby with the MIC…I wonder if they are not interwoven, with the sociopaths most enriched by one also heavily invested in the other?

  • voza0db

    mwildfire… That’s is exactly the root of the problem not wanting to feed the (I believe you wrote an extra ‘r’ or is that a mixture of rant+anti?! A brand new word!) “anti-Americanism”.

    If the american population keeps pretending that this isn’t a real problem… Well, keep buying those MADE IN CHINA USofT flags for the military corpses!

    But who know what’s funnier… mutTrump said a few months ago this.



    the fun is that he just still can’t see that USofT isn’t a Great Nation!

    About the HollyWARwood… Yes, and add GAMES to the freak show!

  • voza0db

    You can blame a specific person on that oily fake GND!

    8. Rein in the military-industrial complex by

    reducing military spending by 50% and closing U.S. military bases around the world;

    restoring the National Guard as the centerpiece of our system of national defense; and,

    creating a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.

    The first one means a RADICAL CHANGE in the lifestyle of ALL americans. Without that spending and military THREAT around the world you guys can’t keep the USD as World Reserve Currency, and so… bye bye american lifestyle!

  • ThisOldMan

    While it is true that it was substantially easier to end the CFC fiasco that created the ozone hole than it would be to eliminate fossil fuels from the global economy, it did share one important aspect with the climate crisis: It required global cooperation, and in particular, U.S. support.

    The Kyoto protocol was the first step towards such cooperation on climate, but in 1997 the U.S. Senate approved by Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which claimed it unfairly favored developing nations, by a 95-0 margin, leading Clinton to give up on getting it ratified. It took almost another 20 years for the rest of the world give up on getting the U.S. to sign on to anything more ambitious than the toothless Paris accords, which Trump has since abandoned. So ask yourself “Why among all OEDC countries is the U.S. uniquely and unequivocally opposed to meaningful action on the climate crisis? And who is behind that decision, which spans multiple presidencies both Democratic & Republican?”

    The most obvious thing that is exceptional about the U.S. is the size of its military, which has a budget that exceeds that of the next 5 or so nations combined, and that’s no coincidence. The best term out there to describe the people (acting together in a highly concerted, consistent fashion over a span of decades) behind the “who” in my second question is Eisenhower’s “Military Industrial Complex,” which includes not only the Pentagon per se but the entire ecosystem around it, including defense contractors, think tanks and of course the fossil fuel companies themselves. The term “Deep State” is not as appropriate because that tends to be focussed on the intelligence community, which while significant does not have nearly the same political and economic clout by itself.

    The “why” in my first question was answered in my original comment, but if you want the details, I refer you to “Oil, Power and War: A Dark History” by Matthieu Auzanneau.