We envision a world transformed by an awareness of the true potential of every human being, where all of life is sacred and where all our social systems work in harmony with the earth. We see a world in which conflict rarely occurs, and when it does, can always be addressed by the creative energy of nonviolence. In this world, unarmed peacekeeping has replaced military intervention, restorative justice has replaced retribution, and needs-based economies have replaced consumerism, among other essential changes.
Recently I have been browsing the words of peace activists. It’s as if I’ve been awakened from a slumber. I care about many issues, but like most people cannot possibly absorb and read about everything. In the last five years I’ve chosen the environment as my main area of focus, simply because I see our planet as a home base, needing to be protected from the effects of human pollution.
I have always been in favour of World Peace. Who isn’t? The question though is: ‘How do we achieve it—through weapons and force, or through more subtle means?’ A non-violent approach would be to consider reasons underlying human conflict. Hungry, sick, abused people don’t get along, and they are vulnerable to those with weapons, seeking power. Poverty, lack of clean water, unemployment, social injustices, illiteracy, and so on undermine a peaceful world.
Climate change researchers have been saying for years that climate stressors, such as drought, flooding, high temperatures, torrential storms, etc. will promote social and political instability. This is exactly what happened in Syria. It is difficult for historians to pinpoint precise causes, but they do identify factors, and a factor that clearly contributed to the conflict in Syria today is the severe drought that region suffered from 2006 to 2010. There were major crop failures, sky-rocketing food prices, and massive migration from rural to urban areas.
The international climate talks known as ‘COP 21’, will be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, despite heightened security concerns. The ‘show’ must go on and world leaders know this. Recent acts of terror and the Syrian refugee crisis only emphasize the urgency of promoting global peace and stability.
The climate talks are about binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Action is needed to prevent an irreversible tipping point, when devastating climate changes will render some locations uninhabitable. The talks are also about providing assistance to developing nations: for sustainable development with clean renewable technologies; and for climate change adaptation. All of these issues must be attended to—to gain and preserve peace.