Thank you to all those who facilitated and attended the recent climate change rally in downtown Asheville. If we continue to destroy the Earth, we destroy ourselves. Now is the time to try to effect change. I recently heard the phrase “analysis paralysis.” The saying seems to reflect what we see happening around us. Because there are so many serious issues, some of us have become overwhelmed. Many of the looming disasters, already very real for much of the world, are connected.
For example, there is a huge connection between war and climate crisis. Facts and figures can be difficult to find these days, so I appreciated the recent short paper written by an advocate of peace, people and the planet, who helped me understand some of the connections [“Ten Ways the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined,” by Medea Benjamin]. The Pentagon is the single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels and gas emissions in the world. This is a fact that can be measured. The author says, “We could cut the Pentagon’s current budget in half and still be left with a bigger military budget than China, Russia, Iran and North Korea combined.” If the government were to use the potential savings to invest in an Earth-friendly infrastructure, we could have cleaner air and 128,879 fair-wage jobs that help the planet stay green. Wouldn’t that be nice!
Military actions and saving the planet are very connected. I believe that changing this country’s toxic foreign policy is the most immediate and effective way to help our environment. If we can encourage our government to stop wasting precious resources and our tax dollars on wars, we could have a positive impact on our climate.
The Friends Committee for National Legislation has just recently trained a new team in Asheville to engage in dialogue with members of Congress. I am grateful to be one of those new team members. This year’s focus is on the repeal of the Authorization of the Utilization of Military Force that has allowed the last three presidents to engage in military actions without the approval of Congress. This legislation seriously alters our Constitution, changing the balance of power. Team members are asking that the United States Senate pass the House provisions to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs in the final defense spending bill as written. The Asheville FCNL team is excited about the upcoming opportunity we have been given to speak to Sen. Thom Tillis’ staff about the repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. We’ll be back in touch to let you know how it goes.
Meanwhile, take the time to advocate for our planet and those who have no voice of their own, like trees and children, like your neighbors and yourself.
— Dr. E.L. Halsey, Ed.D.