Letter: For peace, justice and sustainability, recruit green industries

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As we marked International Day of Peace last week, it is unfortunate that some of our community leaders do not support this year’s local resolution primarily because the peace proclamation references disappointment in the county commissioners’ support for the construction of a Pratt & Whitney (division of Raytheon) plant:

“Whereas, in this time of escalating Climate Change and the Covid pandemic, we lament that there have been political and economic actions taken by our elected representatives that threaten the health and well being of the people, of the environment, and of our Democratic process. We specifically call attention to Buncombe County Commissioners’ decision to provide millions in tax incentives and other inducements to Pratt-Whitney, part of Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest and most profitable weapons merchants in the world. We believe that it is not in the best interest of our community to align with industries with a record of environmental harm that choose profit over life.”

Our city and county governments have a stated commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change. But they clearly do not yet recognize that the paradigm shift (or evolution in thinking) needed to achieve both the goals of climate resiliency and peace is counter to bringing industries here that, in real terms, do not support these goals. Fossil fuel intensive industries aren’t “green,” and industries contributing to the military/industrial complex are not peace promoting.

Yes, our community needs good jobs that pay good wages. And we also need to think in new ways about how to successfully and sustainably maintain life on this planet. We live in a time of existential threats to human life — climate change, nuclear war and imperialism. We need to attract business and industry here that are on the cutting edge of sustainability.

Our country’s investment of blood and treasure (thousands of service people killed or injured and trillions spent) in the military has not brought real security, but failed military interventions in Iraq and most recently Afghanistan. We did not make these countries any better or safer for those who live there. But huge amounts of money were made by the “defense” contractors. And thousands of citizens of those countries were killed or maimed with their infrastructures ruined. While our Pentagon receives more of our tax money (more than that of the next 10 nations combined) to build extravagant weapons systems that we don’t need to pursue an interventionist foreign policy that achieves nothing positive, citizens here lack the basics of a decent life — decent jobs, food, shelter, medical care, clean air, water and soil.

The International Day of Peace calls for us to shift our old ways of thinking about security, war and the natural world. In these times, a true security system is one that includes transitioning to “green” energy production now, better and less violent ways of resolving conflict now, meeting basic human needs now, promoting justice here and abroad, now. It calls us to a paradigm change that is necessary for humanity to have a future.

Providing tax inducements and infrastructure to bring industries here that are not part of the real solution, but are actually part of the ongoing problem, is something that those who truly seek peace, justice and sustainability cannot support.

— Anne Craig


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7 thoughts on “Letter: For peace, justice and sustainability, recruit green industries

  1. indy499

    We all read your little friend’s same letter. You guys going to write some more? Inane stretch points and no one cares.

  2. Local Grandad

    How many times will MTX publish the same letter?

    “Jetliners equipped with the GTF (Geared Turbo Fan Engine) would achieve a 16% reduction in fuel consumption, a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a 75% reduction in noise. All of those thresholds have been achieved, with a typical GTF saving 100 gallons of fuel per flight hour.” Forbes 2018

    A very simple google search demonstrates that Pratt will make components for this very engine here in Buncombe County. I am proud that local leaders helped recruit this industry and indeed see technology innovation like this as part of the solution to global climate change and driving sustainability in air travel. Bravo Buncombe County Commission!

    • Ken Jones

      While any reduction in carbon emissions is good news, let’s keep a few things in mind about Pratt & Whitney: (1) It is a division of Raytheon and as such makes engine components for military fighter jets – P&W admits that this amounts to about 30% of its production. The Pentagon with its 800 bases around the world and endless wars is the largest single producer of carbon emissions in the world; (2) Raytheon has a horrendous record of creating and leaving toxic wastes at its sites. It is inevitable that our French Broad River will suffer the effects of this plant on its banks; (3) P&W is relocating to Asheville because it is downsizing or possibly abandoning its unionized workforce in CT because NC is a so-called “right-to-work” state with a largely non-unionized workforce. What does this say about the way it will treat its workers? (4) Altogether, P&W – a multinational corporation – has demanded and received over $100 million in state, county, business, and foundation subsidies. That money could have been better invested in local initiatives that fostered more jobs and greater sustainability. If it’s jobs and the mitigation of the climate crisis you’re after, the aerospace industry is not the way to go. And of course war industries that profit from death and destruction around the world are the #1 source of environmental destruction and human suffering. You can put lipstick on Pratt & Whitney and it can make more efficient engines, but it’s still a rapacious business enterprise that puts profits over people.

      • Bob lackey

        Next in the pipeline is sustainable aviation fuel. P &W engines can burn this fuel. SAF reduces greenhouse emissions from airliners and ALL jet engines by 80%!

        The United States Military must stay strong and maintain it’s advantage over other militaries. We can’t make the mistake of thinking we can talk to China, North Korea, ISIS and many other bad guys and all will be love and peace!!

        We MUST be the strongest military in the world! And we are NOT returning to 1860 with NO airplanes and other modes of transportation. If we stopped ALL use of fossil fuels now or 10 years from now we would all starve to death. Grocery stores would be empty and the electricity we use would shut down.

        • Ken Jones

          1. So-called Sustainable Aviation Fuel is bio-fuel which presents its own ecological problems, including theft of land from indigenous peoples and mono-culture agriculture which removes land from food production. The solution is to reduce our energy use through conservation, cutting back our lavish consumption which is at the expense of the great majority of the world’s population, and generating energy through sustainable means.
          2. The US military is the monster of the world, already bigger than the next 10 countries combined, with 800 bases in foreign countries, occupations, covert actions, and other sordid imperialistic ventures that comprise our unrelenting extraction of the earth’s resources and domination of its peoples. We like to deflect attention from that and justify our aggression by pumping up the pseudo-threat of those who refuse to submit to us.
          3. Your argument about the dire effects of transitioning from fossil fuels is an example of “reductio ad absurdum” and neglects the real feasibility of making this transition safely and the real existential danger of not doing so.

          • Bob lackey

            Move to the Fiji Islands and live as if it’s 1820 if your radical activism requires that of you!

            There is ZERO support in the US Congress and the Biden administration to deeply gut the US military. ZERO support save a hand full of far left wing socialists Democrats who have NO power and not enough votes to change anything.

            The airline industry is NEVER going away. Ten years from now there will be more jet airliners flying WORLDWIDE than now and now all of the major airports worldwide have in excess of one thousand flights a day.

            We are NOT going back to 1820 to a time before the steam engine was invented.

            Sustainable Aviation Fuel WILL be produced at enormous amounts in five to ten more years.

            Those such as yourself who hold human progress with disdain should find a Gilligan’s Island in the south Pacific and bask in the joy of living off the land.

            The United States of America, China, Russia, India, The Islamic World and Vietnam and Japan will never embrace your environmental radicalism.

            Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Weapons with be here for hundreds of years hence. The key is to never use Nuclear weapons except as a strong deterrent and radically cut emissions from fossil fuels via sustainable aviation fuel, carbon capture and the technologies of the future.

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