Today, rallies across the country will take place to protest the environmental policies of President Trump and his administration, which is at the end of his first 100 days. But if we really want to march for the environment, we’d be marching against the policies that protect the Pentagon.
The Department of Defense is the largest contributor to climate change. Not only does the DoD consume the most fossil fuels as a single institution, but the money necessary to change policies and efforts to combat climate change is being swindled into the Pentagon. Over $600 billion goes to the Pentagon which is over 54% of discretionary spending. That’s the money needed to make real change for the climate.
In 2014, Sara Flounders wrote in the International Action Center:
“There is an elephant in the climate debate that by U.S. demand cannot be discussed or ever seen. This agreement to ignore the elephant is now the accepted basis of all international negotiations on climate change. It is well understood by every possible measurement that the Pentagon, the U.S. military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions and many other toxic pollutants. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements. Ever since the Kyoto Accords or the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1998, in an effort to gain U.S. compliance, all U.S. military operations worldwide and within the U.S. are exempt from measurement or agreements on reduction.”
Just a week ago, the March for Science gathered thousands across the country. I saw dozens, probably hundreds, of signs posted on social media from marches in every major city. What I did not see was one single sign against militarism. Why? Probably because those same scientists marching “for science” get their funds in some way from the DoD. You see the problem now?
Originally, the People’s Climate March happening on April 29, 2017 didn’t include marching for peace. It included everything from saving the environment to indigenous rights to $15 minimum wage and beyond but only after petitioning did it include marching for peace. People just haven’t made the connection of militarism to literally everything the People’s Climate March stands for. Militarism is literally one of the main root causes of almost all problems in society, certainly the largest root cause. The money being spent on the military is what is really destroying us. We have enough money, resources, and knowledge to change this world into a garden of eden. But we have to quit being in denial and realize our military isn’t protecting us, rather its destroying us.
I’ll marching in my local sister march of the People’s Climate March, but I’ll be marching against militarism. Because if we really want to be serious about marching for the environment, we would be marching towards the Pentagon.
(For a more detailed article on how war threatens our environment, I highly recommend this piece from World Beyond War)