Category Archives: d-sustainable

English bulletin December 1, 2021


Once again, this time the 26th, the Conference of Parties has failed – the conference of the nation-states of the world to deal with the climate crisis.

As described by Greta Thunberg, it was a “greenwashing event” of “blah, blah, blah”: “The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves, and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue the exploitation of nature and people and the destruction of presents and future living conditions to take place”.

As described by Amnesty International, “Leaders have catastrophically betrayed humanity at large by failing to protect people most affected by the climate crisis and instead caving into the interests of fossil fuel and other powerful corporations.

The crisis has intensified, but little else has changed since the previous conferences such as those described in CPNN bulletins in 2012 and again in 2015 and summarized here.. After those conferences, CPNN remarked that while the nation-states could not deal with the crisis, the organizations of cities were taking effective action, and young people around the world were mobilizing into a global youth movement.

Again this year, the organizations of cities are showing the way.

Global city partners C40, ICLEI, the Global Covenant of Mayors, CDP, UCLG, WRI and WWF, are working together to recruit cities to the Race to Zero. The 1049 cities and local governments signing onto the Race to Zero represent 722 million people and will pursue ambitious climate action in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5℃ – the global standard for climate action. The mayors’ presence at COP26 is the culmination of years of visionary climate leadership from local leaders who have leveraged their influence to bolster global climate ambition. They have promoted their vision for a Global Green New Deal, which aims to place inclusive climate action at the centre of all urban decision-making to create healthy, accessible, liveable, and sustainable cities for all.

And again this year, it is the young people like Greta Thunburg who are seizing the initiative.

At Glasgow there were an estimated 250,000 demonstrators, led by young people and their organizations like Fridays for the Future which was started by Greta Thunberg.. Other demonstrations, largely led by youth, took place in Brussels, Melbourne, Palu (Indonesia), Paris, Berlin, Seoul, Manila, New York, Dharmsala (India), Wellington (New Zealand), Fiji, Istanbul, and Victoria (Canada), just to mention those for which we published photos.

The peace movement recognizes that the struggle for climate justice is an essential part of the struggle for a culture of peace. An example is our report from Mouvement de la Paix in France.

Religious organizations are also mobilizing. Many Catholics joined the demonstrations in Glasgow, inspired by the 2015 encyclical letter of Pope Francis entitled “LAUDATO SI’ drawn from the words of Saint Francis of Assisi. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us.”

A global movement is forming and it is led by youth. Quoting from the website of Fridays for the Future, “Along with other groups across the world, Fridays for Future is part of a hopeful new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis. . . The goal of the movement is to put moral pressure on policymakers, to make them listen to the scientists, and then to take forceful action to limit global warming. Our movement is independent of commercial interests and political parties and knows no borders. We strike because we care for our planet and for each other. We have hope that humanity can change, avert the worst climate disasters and build a better future. Every day there are more of us and together we are strong. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed. No one is too small to make a difference.”


COP26: Thousands of young people take over Glasgow streets demanding climate action


Some villages in France have found a second life by welcoming refugees


United Nations : UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women


From LA to Bogotá to London, global mayors unite to deliver critical city momentum to world leaders tasked with keeping 1.5 degree hopes alive at Glasgow’s COP26



What I Saw on Election Day in Nicaragua


Remembering Georgi Vanyan: for peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia


Amnesty International: Leaders’ catastrophic failure on climate at COP26


Mexico: Municipal Mediation Unit of the City of Merida to promote a Culture of Peace

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

Here are excerpts from the CPNN Bulletin of April, 2019.

Millions of students went on strike from school on March 15 to pressure their governments to address seriously the problem of global warming. Photos from that day on CPNN show their demonstrations around the world: in the UK, Australia, Philippines, Sweden, Italy, Uganda, Belgium, USA, Canada, Portugal, Ukraine, Spain, Chile, Nigeria, France and Bangladesh.

The movement has been inspired by the actions of a girl in Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who sat last year by herself outside the Swedish parliament to demand that they take action. Since then Greta has spoken out in many venus, including the meeting of the world’s richest bankers and executives in Davos, Switzerland. Her words at Davos struck a chord, especially among young people around the world: “Act As If Our House Is on Fire. Because It Is.” She has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. If Thunberg won, the 16-year-old would be the youngest winner ever and the second after 2007 co-winners former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be honored for work on climate change.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres has praised the youth movement, saying that ““These schoolchildren have grasped something that seems to elude many of their elders”, he said, adding that “we are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing; we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial.” The Secretary-General acknowledged that his older generation “has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”

Representing CPNN, I had the chance to go to the march and demonstration of school students in New York against climate change on Friday, March 15. There were a series of demonstrations ending up with a big enthusisastic crowd at the Museum of Natural History. The average age was under 20. I’d have to back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to remember big demonstrations with majority youth. Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

Here are the CPNN articles on the question
Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

NAM Baku Summit unique opportunity to find solutions to solve real world issues – Pakistani expert

The Boric effect on Chilean youth

Brazil youth voter drive battles apathy – and could help Lula

‘We Refuse to Go On Like This’: US Students Walk Out to Demand Gun Control

Australia: On our “frightening” future: how this election shows young people are taking back their voice

Amid rain and wind, Catholics join 100,000 demonstrators at COP26 climate march

Fridays for Future: Who we are

COP26: Thousands of young people take over Glasgow streets demanding climate action

Our future, our decisions: young activists call for seat at climate table

India: Activist Disha Ravi, 22, Arrested Over Toolkit, Faces Conspiracy Charge

Montreal: Demonstration for “climate justice”

First Person: Turning ‘apathetic people into climate activists’; a young person’s view

At Major March in Madrid, Indigenous & Youth Activists Slam Global Leaders for Climate Inaction

The best images from school strikes around the world

Photo essay: Climate Change Protests Sweep Europe

Russia: Ecofest, festival for green universities and eco-friendly lifestyle

The kids got it right: Climate Change, pollution and the system

Fridays for the Future: 25000 demonstrate in Berlin with Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg—Swedish Teen who Inspired School Climate Strikes—Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Voices of young climate action activists ‘give me hope’ says UN chief

Kids on strike for the climate in New York

Spanish youth rebel against climate change and begin to strike: “Friday for the future”

Global Climate Strike in Pictures: Millions of Students Walk Out to Demand Planetary Transformation

Mission Statement of American Youth Climate Strike

English bulletin June 1, 2020


As we have seen in this bulletin in recent months, the global health and economic crisis has inspired many to envisage and prepare for radical change believing that “another world is possible.”

This month we feature two aspects of this movement: 1) towards local food production and consumption, known as food sovereignty; and 2) global rlinkage of activists via webinars and online courses and conferences. Hence a new variation on the old slogan that we should “Think global, act local.”

Food sovereignty

As pointed out by The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty , the disconnect between food supply and demand has never been this huge. While almost a billion people around the world sleep hungry at night, tons of food are wasted across fields caused by transportation and market bottlenecks. Every year, a third of the world’s food – amounting to as much as USD 1.2 trillion – is lost or goes to waste. With today’s pandemic, lockdowns and supply chain failures have put this problem into overdrive. To meet this crisis, The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty, has issued 9 demands, including priority to local food production and local markets. One of their demands is to lift sanctions and cease all military aggressions which are exacerbated the crisis of hunger.

Another coaltion, the Planetary Coalition, also based in Asia and including partners around the world, calls for “a new earth Democracy” with a wide range of actions including “local biodiverse food systems.” They remind us that “Contrary to what we are made to believe, it is not globalisation that protects people from famines, which it produces and aggravates, but peoples food sovereignty, where people at the community level have the right to produce, choose and consume adequate, healthy and nutritious food, under fair price agreements for local production and exchange.”

A leader in the food sovereignty movement has long been the international peasant’s movement La Via Campesina, a global coalition of 182 organisations in 81 countries. Now they remind us that “As the world reels under the fallout of a pandemic, now is the time to start building an equal, just and liberal society that embraces food sovereignty and solidarity.”

The North African Network for Food Sovereignty has put forward a series of demands and urgent measures in response to the health emergency including support to subsistence farming activities, subsistence stockbreeding, and coastal subsistence. As well as encouraging the consumption of their products through the creation of direct markets and fighting illegal and monopoly speculation.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is working to establish food sovereignty and agroecology as a key policy response to the climate crisis that is negatively impacting Africa. “Agroecology is a reverse response rejecting the industrial monoculture agriculture that contributes more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, degrades the environment, depletes biodiversity, erodes diverse cultures, and only feeds less than 30 percent of the world population.”

In the United States there is a rebirth of the Food Sovereignty Movement. This is illustrated by the increased use of urban farms and gardens in the city of Detroit and the program Seeds and Sheep by the Navajo Nation in Utah.

Examples from France, Thailand and Singapore are cited in the article “Grow your own: Urban farming flourishes in coronavirus lockdowns.”

Webinars, online courses and conferences

Increasingly, conferences are taking the form of Webinars so that people can take part from around the world.

The world conference “No Nukes, Climate Justice, Peace” originally scheduled for New York City in April was held instead online with up to 500 people joined by Internet and with simultaneous live streaming so anyone could join by listening in simultaneously or later on a YouTube publication. The conference was sponsored by hundreds of leading nuclear disarmament, peace, climate and justice organizations. Speakers came from the United States, Japan, Germany, Costa Rica, Iran and Australia.

The Webinar “Youth Actions for Climate, Nuclear Disarmament and Sustainable Development” was held on May 14 and 19 sponsored by Abolition 2000 Youth Network, World Future Council, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the Basel Peace Office. Speakers came from Switzerland, United States, Canada, Kenya, Morocco, Czech Republic, Philippines, Bangladesh, South Korea and Japan.

The Webinar “How Young People Can Lead Climate Change Action, sponsored by the International Youth Foundation took place in November 2019 and was made available as a video this month on a website called Youthlead.

Nonviolence International has a weekly Webinar series. “Young Women Fighting for Our Planet” took place on April 22 and the video is available online via Facebook. Speakers are from Kenya, United Arab emirates, Canada and South Korea.

Campaign Nonviolence is holding a Weekly Nonviolence Community Course online for six weeks from May 28 through July 2. There are places for 50 participants. Advanced registration is required.

Movimento por la Paz (Spain) is holding an online course “Five paths for peace” beginning on May 18, with places for 20 participants filled in order of registration.

Finally, here at the Culture of Peace News Network, Mirian Castello, based in Brazil, is hosting a weekly Webinar interviewing activists for a culture of peace. Registration is open for people around the world to access the webinar live and submit their questions to the person interviewed. The first three interviews are now available as online videos.

Now we see that the technology is available and is being used for the “global movement for a culture of peace . . . promoted through sharing of information” that was envisaged in 1999 by the United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action.


Earth Day Communiqué – 22nd April 2020 Making Peace with the Earth


If Culture of War was a human choice and invention, what if we choose a culture of peace?


Amnesty International: Ignored by COVID-19 responses, refugees face starvation


Mexico: Universities of ANUIES to share best practices on culture of peace



Campaign Nonviolence: Weekly Nonviolence Online Community Course


Webinar and Video: Young Women Fighting for Our Planet


The New World Citizen Laboratory, Yali Gabon and PAYNCoP Gabon join forces to raise awareness about Covid 19


Global military expenditure sees largest annual increase in a decade—says SIPRI

English bulletin March 1, 2020


Nuclear disarmament. New York City is becoming the most recent city to plan for divestment of their funds from the nuclear weapons industry. Public hearings in the city on January 28 heard from a wide range of speakers in favor of this action. Speakers included the global campaign, Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, Mayors for Peace, young peope from Peace Boat and a representrative from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Participants at the hearing expressed their love of the city and strong unwillingness to see New York, or any other place on the Earth, to be exposed to the threat of irreversible destruction that nuclear weapons poses.

Hundreds of cities have joined the cities appeal of ICAN calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. The appeal states: “Our city/town is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this Threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment. Therefore, we warmly welcome the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in 2017, and we call on our national government to join it.”

The Appeal is also supported by Mayors for Peace with its network of 7675 cities in 163 countries around the world. The most recent city to support the appeal, on January 27, was Oxford in the UK.

Sustainable development. UN Habitat recently sponsored the Tenth World Urban Forum to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by world leaders in 2015. At the meeting, which took place in Abu Dhabi from 8-13 February, the 13,000 participants  recognized that “an increasingly urbanized world is a ‘transformative force’ that can be harnessed and steered to boost sustainable development.” Among the organizations of cities taking part in the Forum was ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), a network of cities in over 100 countries, with global experts in 22 offices.

At the World Urban Forum, the Global Parliament of Mayors presented a project called the Virtual Parliament, an online tool to connect with Mayors around the world, to debate and vote on political issues and to exchange experiences. For example, it has supported an action of the US congress of Mayors against gun violence.

Reducing international tensions. The organization of International Cities of Peace reports that the first City of Peace on the Korean peninsula was established February 5 near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Pocheon. A major celebration was held at City Hall where Mayor Park signed a Proclamation as a crowd of media, dignitaries, and over 100 citizens packed the hall. Pocheon has the potential to help make the dream of Reunification of South and North Korea come true in order to benefit citizens of both countries.

Urban violence. A new initiative, the Strong Cities Network (SCN), is working with a broad coalition to reduce urban violence. According to the SCN, “Today, 83% of deadly violence occurs outside of conflict zones, with the majority of this violence concentrated in cities.” Their report highlights successful initiatives in Glasgow (Scotland), Oakland (California), and cities in Ecuador.

Tackling urban violence is also the priority of the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace, which is a project of the United Cities and Local Governments. Previous forums were held in Madrid in 2017 and 2018. The next one will take place this coming October in Mexico City to construct “solutions that promote urban environments capable of eliminating expressions of violence.”

According to the Strong Cities Network,”Nation states have dominated the global political arena for centuries, but with more than half of the world’s population today residing in cities, it may be time to rethink who should be at the table when it comes to decisions on how we can reduce violence.” The same could be said with regard to nuclear disarmament, sustainable development and the reduction of international tensions.



Strong Cities Network: Reducing violence is not impossible, and cities are proving this


Peace promotion in the Sahel: The best award-winning radio productions


Amnesty International: New generation of young activists lead fight against worsening repression in Asia


New York City hearings pave the way for nuclear weapons divestment


For Bob Marley’s 75th Birthday, Ziggy Marley Reflects On His Father’s Legacy


The Wet’suwet’en Fight Against New Pipeline Spreads Across Canada with Blockades & Occupations


Switzerland: Lutheran World Federation marks World Interfaith Harmony Week


Devoted to discovery: seven women scientists who have shaped our world

Is there a future for nuclear energy?

Here are some key indicators from the 2019 edition of the World Nuclear Report, which show that the use of nuclear energy is declining.

1. Over the past two years, the largest historic nuclear builder Westinghouse and its French counterpart AREVA went bankrupt.

2. In 2018, ten nuclear countries generated more power with renewable than with fission energy. In spite of its ambitious nuclear program, China produced more power from wind alone than from nuclear plants. In India, in the fiscal year to March 2019, not only wind, but for the first time solar out-generated nuclear, and new solar is now competitive with existing coal plants in the market. In the European Union, renewables accounted for 95 percent of all new electricity generating capacity added in the past year.

3. The number of units under construction globally declined for the sixth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 46 by mid-2019, of which 10 are in China, but there is still no construction start of any commercial reactor in China since December 2016.

4. The nuclear share of global electricity generation has continued its slow decline from a historic peak of about 17.5 percent in 1996 to 10.15 percent in 2018.

5. Over the past decade, levelized cost estimates for utility-scale solar dropped by 88%, wind by 69%, while nuclear increased by 23%. Renewables now come in below the cost of coal and natural gas.

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

If we can connect up the planet through Internet, can’t we agree to preserve the planet?

This expression, “If we can connect up the planet through Internet, can’t we agree to preserve the planet? “, was inspired by an article by Len Yannielli in the beginning of CPNN back in 2002: Chilean Fisherpeople Fight Salmon Introduction.

Over the years since then, we have carried many articles on this theme. See many of them listed here and here.

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Historic day in the campaign to beat plastic pollution: Nations commit to develop a legally binding agreement

A message from Palestine: This is the time to re-imagine, re-create and restore.

UN Launches First-Ever Global Plastics Report on World Environment Day

NASA Study: First Direct Proof of Ozone Hole Recovery Due to Chemicals Ban

Moonshots are not a question of age: millennial Boyan Slat inventor of The Ocean Cleanup

Canada: After three decades, Inuit achieve meaningful protections for Lancaster Sound

World’s Largest Marine Reserve Created Off the Coast of Antarctica

South America: A ‘sweeping’ win for the oceans that you didn’t hear about

History Made: New England Ocean Treasures Protected!

A Tiny Reef in the Philippines Offered Early Proof That Marine Parks Also Help Fishers

Fishing ban in remote Pacific waters is working, report finds

World Wildlife Federation: 2012 Living Planet Report

Chilean Fisherpeople Fight Salmon Introduction

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Peace Dividend Signatories: Over 50 Nobel laureates and presidents of learned societies

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

Scientists Found A New Way To Break Down the Most Common Plastic

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

Moroccan Researcher Karima El Azhary Wins International Sustainable Development Award

Environmental damage is a war crime, scientists say

Youth for climate: 130 scientists support the youth climate strike

Spain: A group of professors creates ‘Manifesto for the Survival of the Planet’

Researchers Develop Artificial Photosynthesis System that Generates Both Hydrogen Fuel and Electricity

Città della Pieve, Italy: The Declaration of the Scientists for Peace

Tunis: Strengthening the scientific partnership between Iran and the Arab countries

Jordan: Peace through science

The Senegalese winners of the “Next Einstein Forum” present the results of their scientific work

Science for Everyone, for More Democracy

Les sciences pour tous, pour plus de démocratie (France)

International Symposium 2013 “Science, Technology and Culture of Peace (France)

English bulletin August 1, 2018


Last month we reported on reforestation projects in Africa: the Great Green Wall that streteches from one side of Africa to the other; and the Million Tree Initiative in Zambia. And previously we reported on reforestation projects in China , Pakistan and Brazil.

This month we add reports on the Greentrees Sequester initiative in North Americ and the project Defenders of the Forest in Madagascar. The Greentrees initiative recerived an award from the American Carbon Registry “in recognition of exceptional implementation of the world’s largest reforestation project both in terms of volume of high-quality verified emissions reductions issued and number of participating landowners and acres.”

The Madagascar project is important because the island is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots with the vast majority of its species of fauna and flora endemic to the island. Much of Madagascar’s wildlife is under threat, particularly its humid forests.” The Mitsinjo Association, composed of the local conservationists, hires local youth to plant trees and conserve the animals that are in danger of extinction. The Association engages in a variety of education and capacity building programs for the communities they support, including schools.

Meanwhile the divestment from fossil fuels continues to gather force. We have previously reported on divestment initiatives by a wide variety of local and global organizations, including the World Bank, Catholic institutions, Norway and New York City. Go Fossil Free, a group that advocates for fossil fuel divestment, estimates that $6.15 trillion worth of fossil fuel assets have been sold off since the movement started in 2010.

In Japan, which has been one of the biggest financiers of coal technology in the world, Nippon Life Insurance, Japan’s largest life insurer, with assets of $667 billion, has announced that they will stop financing coal-fired power plants.

This month we report that the Parliament of Ireland has voted to sell off its estimated $370 million in fossil fuel investments “as soon as is practicable.” Ireland’s vote is particularly important because it reflects a major shift in the divestment movement, Originally, fossil fuel divestment was entirely driven by moral concerns—institutions pulled their money out of oil, gas, and coal companies because they didn’t want to be contributing to the destruction of a stable climate. Now, divestment is increasingly seen as a smart financial move for investors.

Perhaps most important of all, there continues to be progress in renewable energy that does not pollute the atmosphere. A few months ago, we reported on increased investment in solar power in China, Australia, Sweden, UK and Germany, including electric cars and a solar highway in China. And this month we see that India is making strides towards leadership in wind and solar power. Although renewable energy currently supplies only 20% of the country’s needs, this is beginning to change as a result of financial considerations. New renewable energy is less expensive to build than it costs to run most of the existing coal fired power in the nation—let alone construct new plants.

Finally, for a holistic approach, we can recommend that of Agroecology. In Brazil, the National Association of Agroecology has brought together several hundred farmers’, women’s, artists’ and activists’ organizations over the course of the last fifteen years to promote a new model of development based on farming and land use practices in an ecological and common good perspective centered around traditional and popular knowledge and culture. The very nature of agroecology is transversal and holistic. Considering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, agroecology covers the majority of them: climate, water, the fight for gender equality, against poverty, hunger, decent work, etc.



India strides towards clean energy leadership


Campaign Nonviolence National Convergence in Washington, DC this September 21-22, 2018


II World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace: Madrid, 5-8 November


Peace Boat returns to Cuba with a message of peace and global solidarity


Women in school to promote a sustainable peace in Cameroon


9th International Conference on Human Rights Education


USA: A call to resist immigrant concentration camps


Peru: Law to promote the culture of peace and non-violence in basic education

When you cultivate plants, do you cultivate peace?

The initial articles on this subject were written by Marielza Cunha Horta about the The Eco Citizen project in Brazil, and she gave us the title: “Cultivate plants, Cultivate peace.” Since then, subsequent articles bear out this approach.

According to the CPNN article about the largest tropical reforestation effort in history that aims that aims to restore 73 million trees in the Brazilian Amazon, “The reforestation project fills an urgent need to develop the region’s economy without destroying its forests and ensuring the well-being of its people.”

When announcing a great tree-planting project in Zambia, the President emphasized that it would involve young people, especially school children so that “when our learners appreciate the importance of trees, it will in turn create a positive impact in families and the communities at large.”

And describing the Green Belt Project that will cross the entire African continent with trees, CPNN noted that “Although the project was conceived on a grand scale, continental in scope, the actions must take place at a local level. . . [so that] the populations of different villages, communities and cities will develop mutual understanding, respect and confidence.”

Here are the CPNN articles on this subject:

Faces Of Africa – Defenders of the Forest [Madagascar]

Greentrees Sequesters Another 1 Million+ Tons of Carbon via Reforestation; Wins Award

‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ transforms arid Pakistan region into green gold

Great Green Wall Brings Hope, Greener Pastures to Africa’s Sahel

Leading from the Front: Zambia Launches Plant a Million Trees Initiative

China Reassigns 60,000 Soldiers to Plant Trees

World’s Largest Tropical Reforestation to Plant 73 Million Trees in Brazilian Amazon

Trees talk to each other and recognize their offspring

African women organize to reclaim agriculture against corporate takeover

This new initiative out of Paris will help fight climate change with trees

A Great Green Wall Across the African Continent

Une muraille verte transcontinentale

Eco Cidadão commemorates the International Day of Peace

Eco Cidadão comemora Dia Mundial da Paz

The Eco Citizen project: Cultivate plants, Cultivate peace

Eco-Citizen Programme : Urban Agriculture for Vulnerable Youth

What is the relation between the environment and peace?

One way to understand the relation between environment and peace is to turn the question on its head and ask what is the relation between the environment and the culture of war.  Here is what I say in my book The History of the Culture of War :

The exploitation of the culture of war involves not only exploitation of people, but also exploitation of the environment. In recent years everyone has become more aware of the dangers of environmental pollution, with special attention to carbon emissions which have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and resulted in global warming. This is also related to the loss of the world’s forests which redress the problem by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Insufficient attention has been paid, however, to the great environmental destruction and pollution caused by military activity.

Historically, military-related activity has been one of the primary causes of deforestation. This was already evident in ancient times as described above in the case of Greece and Rome. More recently, the British Empire was a major destroyer of forests, as described for India in an article by Budholai (available on the Internet) :

“The early days of British rule in India were days of plunder of natural resources. They started exploiting the rich resources present in India by employing the policy of imperialism. By around 1860, Britain had emerged as the world leader in deforestation, devastation its own woods and the forests in Ireland, South Africa and northeastern United States to draw timber for shipbuilding, iron-smelting and farming. Upon occasion, the destruction of forests was used by the British to symbolize political victory. Thus, the early nineteenth century, and following its defeat of the Marathas, the East India Company razed to the ground teak plantation in Ratnagiri nurtured and grown by the legendary Maratha Admiral Kanhoji Angre. There was a total indifference to the needs of the forest conservancy. They caused a fierce onslaught on Indian Forests. The onslaught on the forests was primarily because of the increasing demand for military purposes, for British navy, for local construction (such as roads and railways), supply of teak and sandalwood for export trade and extension of agriculture in order to supplement revenue.”

I have not been able to find precise evidence of the environmental damage caused by the contemporary American Empire, but the following description of military pollution by Schmidt (2004) gives some idea of the problem which includes contamination of the land by poisonous chemicals as well as air pollution:

“Preparing for war is a heavily industrialized mission that generates fuel spills, hazardous waste, and air pollution. The DOD owns more than 10% of the 1,240 sites currently on the National Priorities List, and has estimated the cost of cleaning up these sites at approximately $9.7 billion. In addition to lead and a variety of solvents, training facilities release munitions constituents including perchlorate (a thyroid toxicant), RDX (an explosive compound and neurotoxicant), and TNT (an explosive compound linked to anemia and altered liver function).

Nearly 1 in 10 Americans live within 10 miles of a DOD Superfund site – a sometimes perilous proximity. The Massachusetts Military Reservation, for instance, a 34-square-mile multi-use training facility in Cape Cod, is slowly leaching solvents, jet fuel, RDX, and perchlorate into the area’s sole aquifer, a drinking water source for up to 500,000 people at the height of tourist season.

Military aircraft from DOD facilities also generate noise and air pollution. For instance, in 1996, the most recent year for which data are available, more than 50,000 military flights contributed to the heavy air traffic over Washington, D.C. According to the Democratic Committee on Energy and Commerce, these flights emitted 75 tons of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which generate smog. In 1999, the Sierra Army Depot, located 55 miles northeast of Reno, was California’s leading air polluter, according to the EPA Toxics Release Inventory. The base released some 5.4 million pounds of toxic chemicals that year, including aluminum, copper, and zinc fumes.”

Military testing and seeding with anti-personnel mines and unexploded or spent ammunition such as cluster bombs and depleted uranium have rendered large tracts of land around the world uninhabitable and unapproachable. I have not been able to find any full accounting of this. However, we know that many people, often children, are still being injured by anti-personnel mines, cluster bomb fragments and other ammunition around the world. Furthermore, any seasoned traveler will have encountered zones that are “off limits” because of military use, often because they have been used for target practice and weapons testing and still contain live ammunition. In addition, does anyone know how much of the world’s land is now contaminated with so much radiation from the disposal of radioactive waste or from accident nuclear explosions such as that of Chernobyl that the land will not be habitable for hundreds or thousands of years?

Of course, the above damage is dwarfed by what would happen to the environment if even a small fraction of today’s nuclear weapons were used in a nuclear war. At the height of the Cold War, scientific calculations were made showing that the world would enter a “nuclear winter” caused by the clouds from such war, not to mention the lethal levels of radioactivity that would result. It is frightening to realize how close we have come to such a nuclear war. Several years ago, a CPNN article described how a Soviet colonel saved the world from a nuclear holocaust when all the signals required him to fire the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Until recently, this topic was rarely mentioned in the media despite the fact that the same potential for nuclear destruction remains on attack-alert ready for deployment. However, the recent adoption of a UN resolution and Nobel Prize for Peace has brought back attention to the danger.

This question pertains to the following articles

UN Women : Five young women on the forefront of climate action across Europe and Central Asia

Central Africa : Safeguarding the Lake Chad basin, a major regional challenge

Mouvement de la Paix Appeals for the French to Contribute to the Success of the Global Day of Action on Climate Change

Dalaba, Guinea: launch of the APAC Project of Didhèrè Foulah in Kaala

The Páramo de Sumapaz, will be the scene of Colombian cinema festival

In Central Africa, Villages Join an Experiment To Save the World’s Second-Largest Rainforest

Russia: Ambassadors of Specially Protected Natural Territories

International Peace Bureau: the ‘carbon boot-print’

World animal protextion: Five amazing Sea Warrior women tackling ghost gear on a global scale

Greenpeace: Great news for the Arctic AND the Antarctic!

Ghana: WANEP builds capacity of front line Peace Actors

Kenya: Construction of Wangari Maathai institute starts

Africa: Sustainable development: The future of the land is in green energy

On Earth Day, Commit To The Great Turning

Mozambique: Maputo Declaration of African Civil Society on Climate Justice

Book review: War, peace, and ecology. The risks of sustainable militarization

Livre: Guerre et paix… et écologie. Les risques de militarisation durable

Reflection on the Life of Wangari Maathai
Sumak Kawasay: Full Life

Sumak Kewesay: Vida Plena

PROYECTO plantea crear la Defensoría de Madre Tierra (Bolivia)

Bolivian Project Proposes to Create a Defense of Mother Earth

Earth Hour, March 23: Uniting people to protect the planet

Pangolins, elephants win big protections at United Nations wildlife gathering

Kenya: Construction of Wangari Maathai institute starts

Initial count from Amboseli is good news for elephants

Big Win for Species at Risk (Canada)

Governments commit to tackling wildlife crime in major declaration

Life-Link Friendship Schools in Iran

World Heritage Site a Haven for African Wildlife

Environmental Sustainability as a Tool for Peace Building

International Conference on Environmental Diplomacy and Security

The Law of Mother Earth: Behind Bolivia’s Historic Bill

Water for Peace

Global Balance Sheet

Nobel Peace Prizewinner Calls for Culture of Peace

2004 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Wangari Maathi