Letter: On Day of Peace, ponder military and climate connections

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Thoughts to ponder on International Day of Peace (Sept. 21), whose theme for 2019 is Climate Action for Peace:

Our worst enemy isn’t China, North Korea, Russia or Iran. No, our new enemy is becoming more powerful every day. Confronting this enemy won’t take guns, bombs or modern weapon systems. We are that enemy. And Mother Earth is not too happy with us. She’s losing her polar ice caps, her forests are burning, her storms more destructive, her waterways flooding and her fertile fields browning into deserts through climate change.

But we still prepare to fight other countries, unaware of our largest threat. In Asheville, we are warned of imposing disasters invading us in the form of heavy rains, increased flooding, landslides, droughts, fires, epic storms, maybe even insect plagues as climate change rages across our mountains, valleys, homes and businesses.

Not long ago, the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center estimated collateral damage in Asheville from increased flooding. Estimates of potential flood damage included 180 parcels of land used to provide community services — and underwater, 1,549 residential parcels — and 61 miles of flooded roads. If we don’t prepare for such disasters, we will, like Nero, be playing the fiddle while the rains fall from the heavens, or the wildfires roar or mudslides strip our mountains.

Even though climate change is now enemy No. 1, 97 Asheville defense contractors continue to accept funds as members of the military-industrial complex. In 2018, nearly $21 million in defense contracts flowed into our city. (governmentcontractswon.com).

How many organizations or contractors are getting federal funds to lessen the effects of climate change? Uncle Sam doesn’t seem to publish such information. But we can compare budgets. The feds budgeted $649 billion for defense in 2018, whereas the various agencies that work on climate action received about $14 billion. If only the contractors above could transition their jobs from war to renewable energy, maybe we could slow the momentum of climate disruption marching into WNC.

Unfortunately, much of our billions aimed at building weapons also cause climate change. If our military were a country, its fossil fuel use would fall one below Iraq and one ahead of Sweden at 34th, ahead of 162 other countries. And that’s only from the use of fossil fuels, not accounting for all the other ways our military damages land, air and water, and especially millions of people, whom many of us call “climate refugees.” In turn, they may become scapegoats, excuses for further armed conflicts down the road. However, the powerful create war, not the victims.

Join us as we look at the connections of war and climate change this year when we observe International Day of Peace in Asheville and around the globe. You can find details on Facebook at WNC4Peace.

— Rachael Bliss



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3 thoughts on “Letter: On Day of Peace, ponder military and climate connections

  1. Rick

    One very significant fact that Rachael Bliss seems to ignore is that to protect what is deemed valuable and worthy of keeping, such as our country’s way of life, our economy, our ability to use personal initiative to prosper and grow, and our other freedoms, we must be able to defend ourselves against those countries that could harm us and perhaps bring about our end as the greatest country in the world. Having a strong military, and the existence of military contracts with businesses in our area, does not mean we have hostile intentions. Those who are weak and cannot ensure peace through strength will eventually cease to exist due to actions of envious adversaries. Period.

    • Lulz

      You’re missing the point. These climate “justice” loons are anti-capitalistic communist. The ruse of climate change and giving the government the authority to control all aspects of the economy are in fact just another way of saying they want communism. This letter is written by someone who hates America. And not because they’ve been treated bad by it. But because they’re brainwashed by a leftist media to believe outside their comfortable life where they do not interact with anyone else., America is evil.

      • Bruce Cameron Carruthers

        How typical of people who don’t want to consider the impact of climate change. Instead of addressing the most central, most pressing issue facing the world and its inhabitants, the commenter attempts to deflect the serious arguments he or she is faced with by employing a “red” herring and calls the author a communist. If the environment continues to be destroyed at its current rate, all the military spending in the world won’t save us.

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