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