Peace & Justice Centre Joins XR Peace coalition

The Peace & Justice Centre has joined Extinction Rebellion Peace, a coalition of peace groups that is taking part in the nonviolent global rebellion to address the urgency of the climate crisis.

We invite our members and supporters to consider joining XR Peace outside the MoD on and after 7 October. 

XR Peace will raise awareness of how transforming militarism will be a key part of averting climate catastrophe and demand the resources currently going to the military be used to address the threat of climate change  If you cannot go to London there are other ways to support.

Extinction Rebellion  (XR) is calling on government to act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

XR Peace will occupy the road outside the Ministry of Defense on 7 October and invite people to take part starting at 10am. Anyone considering attending is encouraged to attend a Nonviolent Direct Action training (click here for training in Edinburgh Sunday 29 Sept ). Visit XR Scotland Facebook page to find out where there are trainings. There are coaches leaving from Edinburgh on Sunday 6 October.

There will be workshops, teach-ins and exhibitions making the links between nuclear weapons, militarism and the climate emergency. This blockade is expected to last up to two weeks 7th October – 18th October. You can come for any part of that time. Come prepared to camp out.

To find out more about XR Peace and how to get involved visit the XR Peace website.

If you can’t get to London in October there are other ways to help. One way is to provide accommodation on the night of Saturday 5 October to rebels on their way to London. If you can provide accomodation please fill in the accommodation form.

Climate Crisis: The Facts

The IPCC report last year that announced that humanity has just 12 years (now 11 years) to act to prevent a climate catastrophe and the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Biodiversity report earlier this year, which concluded that human activity is driving mass extinction, were wake up calls that must not be ignored.

At 1.5C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty. At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires. Forest fires in turn represent one of the dangerous feedback loops, releasing massive amounts of carbon previously trapped in the trees into the atmosphere. Insects, vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached. (Guardian, 8 Oct 2018)

Sea-level rise would affect 10 million more people by 2100 if the half-degree extra warming brought a forecast 10cm additional pressure on coastlines. The number affected would increase substantially in the following centuries due to locked-in ice melt.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson siad: “The overwhelming evidence ..presents an ominous picture.” “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” However, “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

Just this week another IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  finding that the Arctic will be ice free in summer every third year if temperatures rise 2 Degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

While sea level has risen globally by around 15 cm during the 20th century, it is currently rising more than twice as fast – 3.6 mm per year – and accelerating. Sea level will continue to rise for centuries. It could reach around 30-60 cm by 2100 even if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply reduced and global warming is limited to well below 2°C, but around 60-110 cm if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly.

“The ocean and the cryosphere – the frozen parts of the planet – play a critical role for life on Earth. A total of 670 million people in high mountain regions and 680 million people in low-lying coastal zones depend directly on these systems. Four million people live permanently in the Arctic region, and small island developing states are home to 65 million people.” Inevitably millions of people will be forced to leave their homes.

The IPCC report concludes: “We will only be able to keep global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry.”

Climate Change and Militarism

Militarism and the military-industrial-complex are at the heart of the exploitative, carbon-intensive system that’s driving climate change. Military power backs up the political power and corporate self-interests that depend on fossil fuels at the same time that it consumes vast amounts of oil. These forces are resisting the changes needed to address the climate crisis.

Many 21st Century conflicts are about controlling access to dwindling oil supplies. About 6% of the global carbon footprint results from military-related activity. The US military alone is the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Like the climate emergency the ever present danger of nuclear war poses an equal existential threat to the future of  humanity. The use of just 100 of the thousands of nuclear weapons still deployed globally would lead to nuuclear winter and a global famine that scientists say could result in the death of 2 Billion people.

Rising temperatures are already having deleterious effects on the most marginalized communities from sub-Saharan Africa to rural India, to the Pacific Islands, with drought and extreme weather a major factor driving the refugee crisis. According to the World Bank Latin America could see over 10 million climate refugees by 2050. Large numbers of climate refugees are leaving Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador where there is widespread crop failure and the United States is sending armed forces to the border and turning these despearate people back.  This is one example of how industrial nations are increasingly responding with militarized solutions, sending migrants back to no hope situations.

At the same time, climate change is fueling conflict. Many analysts have pointed to the climate induced drought that was a principle cause of the disastrous civil war in Syria. Militarized societies like the US tend to see military solutions to crises and, as the climate crisis deepens, which it certainly will, we can expect more armed conflicts if we do not transform our ways of thinking.

The Need for Nonviolent Direct Action 

With temperature rise already 1.1 Degree about pre-industrial levels, and increasing more rapidly now than ever, urgent action is needed. And, we know that historically nonviolent direct action is effective in getting attention of entrenched powers and bringing about systemic change. Anyone who doubts that might want to visit Swarthmore’s Global Nonviolent Action Database which presents case studies of hundreds of successful nonviolent campaigns. Similarly social scientists Harvard University Professor Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan (Why Civil Resistance Works) found that “between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts.”  Without such action as a key component of any social movement rarely do such radical changes take place.

The Peace & Justice Centre has among its core values nonviolence and ecological sustainability. One of our guiding principles is to embody our values: As Gandhi said:  “Become the change you want to be”.  We have always provided analysis and resources on the methods of nonviolence as a means for achieving just solutions to social and environmental injustices. With marginalized people and future generations, and the earth’s diverse lifeforms most effected, the climate crisis presents a clear requirement to act for ecological sustainability and intergenerational and global justice.

Getting to net zero by 2025 will require radical change, including a shift away from war as a means of resolving conflicts. To avert climate catastrophe we have to transform the war machine that props up the fossil fuel industry. We urge our members and followers to consider joining XR Peace outside the MoD to demand the government use the resources currently going to the military to address the threat of climate change.

Please share the XR Peace event on Facebook:

If you can’t get to London in October there are other ways to help. One way is to provide accommodation on the night of Saturday 5 October to rebels on their way to board coaches heading to London on the following Sunday. If you can provide accomodation Please fill in the accommodation form.


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