Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Across Africa, Water Conflict Threatens Security, Health, and the Environment

ROBIN SCHER – Water is a finite resource on our planet. We can only rely on what we have, which translates to about 2.5 percent of drinkable fresh water. Of that amount, only 0.4 percent currently exists in lakes, rivers, and moisture in the atmosphere. The strain of this limited supply grows by the day and as this continues, the detrimental impact will continue to be felt in places least equipped to find alternative solutions—in particular, the African continent.

The Need for Global Unity: How World Law Can Save Us All

JACOPO DE MARINIS – Many people will say that a world republic is unattainable. What country would agree to limit its absolute sovereignty? And yes, a country whose political leaders are held captive by special interests like military contractors and the fossil fuel industry might not agree to such an arrangement. Yet if the people unite with conviction to claim their right to live in a peaceful world, free from nuclear weapons, and to enjoy an economically and environmentally sustainable future―birthrights a world federal government is uniquely positioned to protect―this seemingly unattainable dream could become our reality.

How the US Should Respond to Israeli Right-Wing Extremism

MEL GURTOV and LARRY KIRSCH – While it is far from clear precisely how US policymakers will express their opposition to Israeli extremism—whether indirectly, through the FTO list as we have suggested, or more directly through diplomatic or legislative means—most important is that the US government deter terrorism sponsored by entities close to the heart of the incoming Israeli government. And those who rightly decry Palestinian terrorism need to take a hard look at what Israelis have just voted in—a coalition that has prominent advocates of violence against innocent Arab citizens. Doing so would give substance to US support of human rights, not only in Israel but in the Middle East generally.

In Barcelona, Kids Bike to School in Large, Choreographed Herds

CINNAMON JANZER – “The boys and girls who use bicibús establish new relationships with [other kids] from their neighborhood and of different ages … creating new opportunities to share space in the same neighborhood where they live,” Vilardell says. “If, in Catalonia, there are already more than a thousand people pedaling to school, [others] can do it too. [They can] fill their schools with bicycles for our health, the health of the children, and that of the earth.”

Our Climate is On the Ballot – Protect It

MICHAEL DOVER – It’s no secret that the extremists who now control the Republican Party are vehemently opposed to ending our addiction to fossil fuels, the main culprits in the climate crisis. Even before the rise of Donald Trump, diplomats who forged the Paris Accords cited the U.S. Republican Party as the most serious obstacle in the world to climate progress. 

If You Value Your Life, Better Vote D

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Although, in recent decades, American conservatives have embraced what they call the “Right to Life,” they have certainly done a poor job of sustaining life in the United States. That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from a just-published scientific study, “U.S. state policy contexts and mortality of working-age adults.”

Starved of New Talent: Young People are Steering Clear of Oil Jobs

KATE YODER – Doing business today is harder for oil companies. Big Oil is becoming stigmatized as awareness grows that its environmentally-friendly messaging, full of beautiful landscapes and far-off promises to erase (some) of its emissions, doesn’t match its actions. This poses a hiring challenge for oil companies, with much of their current workforce getting closer to retirement. For years now, consulting firms have been warning the industry that it faces a “talent” gap and surveying young people to figure out how they might be convinced to take the open positions. 

Will Greed and Dissociation from Nature Do Us In?

ROBERT KOEHLER – It’s fascinating how “interests” interfere with survival. We prepare for — and, of course, wage — war with an overwhelming percentage of our resources (to the benefit of the profiteers), but we plead poverty when it comes to helping people or, you know, saving the planet.It’s fascinating how “interests” interfere with survival. We prepare for — and, of course, wage — war with an overwhelming percentage of our resources (to the benefit of the profiteers), but we plead poverty when it comes to helping people or, you know, saving the planet.

Do We Have the Moral Imagination to Preserve the DACA Program?

ANDREW MOSS – What John Lewis did by describing democracy as an act was to expand the discussion of democracy from issues concerning governmental institutions and political norms to questions of individual ethical choice. Democracy, he helped us understand, is choosing to see truthfully and humanely. It is choosing to act responsibly on the basis of that vision. And sometimes acting in this way will take great courage: to endure the blows of state troopers, as Lewis did in a 1965 march for voting rights; or, years later, to risk deportation and speak out as undocumented (or temporarily documented) individuals in order to claim full rights as human beings – and as fellow Americans.

Global Existence is Threatened as Long as Nuclear Weapons Exist

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – It’s been a long time since the atomic bombings of August 1945, when people around the planet first realized that world civilization stood on the brink of doom. This apocalyptic ending to the Second World War revealed to all that, with the advent of nuclear weapons, violent conflict among nations had finally reached the stage where it could terminate life on earth. Addressing a CBS radio audience in early 1946, Robert Hutchins, chancellor of the University of Chicago, summed up the new situation with a blunt warning: “War means atomic bombs. And atomic bombs mean suicide.” 

The Future We Could Have Is Here Now

ROB HOPKINS – During my talks, I often invite people to time travel in their imagination to a 2030 that’s not utopia, or dystopia, but rather is the result of our having done everything we could possibly have done in those intervening years. We do it because, as Walidah Imarisha puts it, “we can’t build what we can’t imagine.”

How We Could Use Peace and Diplomacy to Break the Cycle of Insecurity

ROGER PEACE – Continuation of the current system of big power competition and rival blocs bodes ill for the future. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set its “doomsday clock” at 100 seconds to midnight, closer than it has ever been, based on nuclear and global warming threats, an indication of how close humanity is to “destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.” Moving toward mutual security and cooperation will set the clock back and allow humanity to move forward. 

Get Mad About Nuclear Madness

DAVID SWANSON – But right now there’s not a single U.S. Congress Member seriously sticking their neck out for peace, much less a caucus or a party. Lesser evil voting will always have the strength of logic it has, but none of the choices on any of the ballots includes human survival — which merely means that — just as throughout history — we need to do more than voting. What we can’t do is allow our madness to become meanness, or our awareness to become fatalism, or our frustration to become a shifting of responsibility. This is all of our responsibility, whether we like it or not. But if we do our very best, working in community, with a vision of a peaceful and nuclear free world before us, I think we just might find the experience likable. If we can form pro-peace communities everywhere like the one we’ve been part of this morning, we can make peace.

Putin, Biden Not Trying Hard Enough to Avoid World War III

BRAD WOLF – We have it within our means to not only “avoid World War III,” but to fundamentally change the world and create an enhanced quality of life for all. We have “weapons” of our own, nonviolent and effective. Hopefully, we will unite and realize the power we have before we all are boiled alive. There is literally no time like the present.

Active Today or Radioactive Tomorrow?

ROBERT MOORE – It’s not too soon to conclude that continued reliance on nuclear energy to generate electricity can be weaponized, as we never know when a plant might become a military target. If a conventionally powered power plant had an accident or became a military base, the area near it could recover. That’s just not the case with nuclear energy.

Stick to your guns? No, stick to your songs

BRAD WOLF – The resolution to endless war just might be found in the eternal mystery of music, its ability to attract, to rebuild, to connect. It calls to something deeper than reason, since too often we can reason ourselves into or out of anything we wish. It offers the chance to regain our fundamental nature, a trading of swords for symphonies. Why not Bach? Why not his “Prelude”? And after Bach, on to Liszt. Once we quietly listen, we may come out the other side and remember who we truly are.

Nine Stupid Nations

WINSLOW MYERS – “Stupid” is the most harsh and humiliating adjective that can be flung at a person, let alone a nation-state. What’s the usual response to being called stupid? Nothing positive. We just go into reaction and resistance. I’m sorry, but there is no other word to describe the obstinate refusal of the nuclear powers to cooperate to dismantle their nuclear arsenals even as the climate emergency sweeps across the world.

Is Curiosity the New Form of Patriotism?

MELINDA BURRELL – In our dynamic world, we need to get comfortable with complexity. Good solutions to our myriad problems require it. Is that the 21st century version of patriotism? If we love our country and want to help it succeed, is our best tool our choice to be inquisitive about people and issues?

Despite the Cultural Differences, There’s Common Ground Between Boomers and Zoomers

DR. JOSEPH PRESTON BARATTA – Dr. Baratta identifies himself as a member of the Love Generation―those Americans who reached adulthood in the Sixties―and he is sometimes asked what he would tell the young people in Generation Z (born since 1996), who feel that their concerns about climate change and other pressing global challenges are not being heard by their government or the United Nations. He reaches out to Gen Zer’s, and his analysis provides some answers.