Making the links between climate breakdown, arms sales and the need to make space for peace

Published by Brent Patterson on

The environmental direct-action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) has an Extinction Rebellion Peace component.

As noted at the top of their Twitter social media feed, “XR Peace is a coalition of peace & justice groups, part of Extinction Rebellion making explicit the links between militarism & the climate emergency.”

In a series of tweets, an XR spokesperson says:

“The fossil fuel and arms industries feed off each other creating massive wealth for a very small number at the cost of millions of lives and urban and ecological destruction…”

“The existing geopolitical tensions – that climate breakdown will only increase – are lucrative opportunities for the arms trade, ones that it seeks to capitalise on…”

“The arms lobby is a serious & powerful entity & it will use this power to influence political circles to see its interests met. Not just an active participant in climate change through its massive carbon footprint but a direct barrier towards a transition to a fairer world.”

“The bombs fall elsewhere but they are built here and so, too, must be our resistance.”

The XR Peace website further quotes Jane Tallents who says, “Climate change causes war and war causes climate change.”

She highlights, “About 6% of global carbon emissions are from military activity.”

And Tallents notes, “As the climate crisis gains pace there will be increasing tension. If countries continue to resort to war as a means of attempting to solve conflict, we will not be able to avert catastrophic climate breakdown. Instead we must find new ways of thinking and work together to save our shared home.”

Referencing climate change, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in September, “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

This past June, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston cautioned, “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”

And John Knox, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, stated last year, “If we can’t protect [environmental defenders], then how can we protect the environment we all depend on?”

For those of us concerned about defending human rights, the interrelationship of climate breakdown, militarism and arms sales is a critical consideration.

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