In his Sept. 25, 1961, address to the U.N. General Assembly, John F. Kennedy said, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” He was deeply concerned with international relations, nuclear weapons and the Cold War. While we have avoided nuclear war, nuclear weapons may still exterminate mankind and remain an enormous problem.
What wasn’t understood in 1961 were the effects of war and militarism on the climate. Only the rarest of individuals was concerned with climate change then. Now nearly 60 years later, catastrophic climate is rapidly approaching.
Clearly there can be no meaningful program to mitigate against climate change unless we end war and war preparations. The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest institutionalized consumer of fossil fuels in the world, using well over 100 million barrels of oil every year. The carbon footprint is huge.
Radioactive waste, chemically contaminated military and civilian sites, and poisoned water supplies are also a legacy of the U.S. military. The U.S. military produces more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. Our planet is being destroyed by war and war preparations.
The war industry will put an end to us if we don’t address its vast impact on catastrophic climate change. Fortunately, the choice is still ours, if we act immediately. Together we must end war and insist our government adopts environmentally concerned, life-affirming policies for our children’s future.