Militarism vs climate

I was rather disappointed by the editorial on the climate change and peace movements (PN 2578-2579). Although there is a large overlap in personnel between the two, their campaigns tend to run on parallel lines. But it is surely necessary, particularly at this stage, to make a much closer connection.

As they are presented, the main arguments of the climate change/environmentalist movement would still apply even if we lived in a peaceful world as they invariably relate to the effects of civilian activity upon the environment. The purely environmental cost of wars and preparation for wars needs not to be separately estimated and factored into every argument.

It has never ceased to amaze me that up to now it has not been, though militarism destroys, pollutes and poisons the environment, gobbles up non-renewable sources of energy and makes land dangerous to use and does so at a tremendous speed. People are still being killed in France and Belgium from ordnance from a war that took place a hundred years ago.

What I suggest is that peace activists and environmental activists try to produce a joint report on the purely environmental effects of war and preparations for war on the UK. And I hope that Peace News will initiate it. Once it is perceived as a necessary next step, and a step that can only bring the peace movement and the environmental movements together, I think that activists in other countries might well follow suit.

Malcolm Pittock, Bolton

Editor's response:

Dear Malcolm, thank you for these thoughts, which you sent in March! The delay in publishing your letter is entirely down to me. Your reflections are just as topical as ever, though. There is a US book called The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, by Barry Sanders (AK Press, 2009), which argues that even if all civilian economic activity stopped, the scale and rate of growth of military emissions of greenhouse gases would be enough to drive the world into runaway climate chaos. We were due to have a workshop based on this book at this year’s Peace News Summer Camp but it didn’t work out. Watch this space!

Four cats

ImageIf you get a cat to roll on a computer keyboard for 30 minutes, run a spell and grammar check, you’ll have a document humans can read.

If you get a second cat to do the same thing to the document and run another check, you’ll have a treatise upon which a political doctrine can be based.

If you get a third cat to do the same thing to the political treatise, turn off the anti-virus and run another spell and grammar check, you’ll have the treatise Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘sanctions policy’ is based upon. The department of works and pensions is advanced techno.

Labour politicians are asking for more information about Iain’s policy. But, unfortunately, his fourth cat didn’t like him much, and ran off to live next door. He has been trying to tempt the cat back with bowls of food.... But it’s only tins of cheaper brands from food banks.

The cat isn’t iimpressed. At least, not enough to roll on a keyboard for him, so providing Labour MPs the answers they require.

The moral of the situation being: be kind to cats. They are an important part of government. And will be helping to run Britain for the next five years.

‘Hard-working’ cats, that is.

Phil Wright, Gillingham