Fire Drill Fridays: We can’t address climate change without taking on US militarism
WASHINGTON, DC (October 11, 2019) — Inspired by the Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, the student strikers and Naomi Klein’s new book. On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal, I have decided to upend my life, leave my comfort zone and move to Washington, DC for four months to focus on climate change. As Greta said, “This is a crisis. We have to act like our house is on fire, because it is.”
So, every Friday I will host an action called — Fire Drill Friday — at 11am on the East Lawn of the Capitol Building, followed by a direct action. Each Friday we will focus on a different aspect of the climate crisis and what needs to be done moving forward.
Here’s the Deal
We are living at the last possible moment in human history when we can do something about climate change or fail to do so, thereby denying hundreds of millions of people a livable future. What’s often left out of this conversation is the fact that the Pentagon pollutes the atmosphere with greenhouse gases more than 140 countries combined. We can’t address climate change without taking on US militarism — join CODEPINK in Washington DC starting with the kickoff on Friday October 11 with special emphasis on November 8th, where war and militarism will be our focus.
As you may know, last year, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its regular report which stated in no uncertain terms that given the worsening disasters we’re already seeing and the additional warming that is already baked in because we didn’t act 30 years ago, we do not stand a chance at changing course in time without profound, systemic economic and social change in the next 11 years.
ACTION: If you can’t make it to Washington DC will you sign here to ask all presidential candidates to commit to cutting $350 billion from the Pentagon Budget and invest that money in a Green New Deal?
Yes, we’re facing a climate crisis, but we’re also facing an empathy crisis. It isn’t only earth’s life-support systems that are unraveling — so too is our social fabric.
Funding endless war is an existential threat to human life and one of the leading causes of climate change, which is why it’s urgent that we come together in Washington DC and make the connection between US militarism and climate change.
This is a once-in-a-century opportunity to address the greatest threat to the future of our planet. I will be on the east lawn of the Capitol every single Friday, rain or shine, and would be honored to have you join me.
Yours in Loving Action,
P.S. Medea Benjamin would like to personally invite you to travel with her to Cuba this December. Find more details or email Teri@codepink.org with any questions.
P.P.S. If you’re joining us in DC or you’re interested in learning more about why War is Not Green, make sure you visit our website to study up and learn how you can get involved locally!
Fire Drill Friday Logistics
Thank you for being part of Fire Drill Fridays! Below is the weekly schedule and logistical information.
If you have any questions, please contact:
- Teach-In: Thursday evenings (beginning October 17th, ending January 9th)
- Watch live and share on CODEPINK Facebook and Twitter.
- Action: Fridays (beginning October 11th, ending January 10th)
Speakers and action participants will gather at 9:30am each Friday at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, just across from the US Capitol Building, 100 Maryland Ave NE. We will go over the specific rally and action plan for the day as well as a legal briefing, and share some coffee and breakfast. At 10:45am we will walk over to the Capitol for the rally to begin at 11am.
The rally will take place on the southeast lawn of the Capitol Building, across from the Library of Congress and near the intersection of 1st St & Independence Ave SE
The rally will go from 11am–12pm, followed most weeks by a civil disobedience action. See the Legal FAQ for info on risking arrest on US Capitol grounds. The civil disobedience action will shift to different locations around Capitol Hill based on the specific targeting for the week’s action.
We expect that anyone arrested will be released within a few hours and have the option to pay a small fine, usually $50, rather than have to come back for a court date.
What to bring:
- Wear something red (we will also have red buttons available)
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that are suitable for walking in grass
- Wear layers, weather is often unpredictable in DC and can change throughout the day
- If you are planning on risking arrest, please bring a valid, state-issued photo ID along with $50 cash (we will have cash available if you cannot cover this on your own)
- Protest signs — we will have signs available and want to keep these actions generally free from organization branding
What not to bring:
- No drugs, weapons, or alcohol
- If you are planning on risking arrest, please do not wear jewelry or anything delicate or irreplaceable
Weekly Focus Topics
- Oct 11
Fire Drill Fridays: Join Medea Benjamin
- Oct 17/18
Green New Deal: Join Medea Benjamin
- Oct 24/25
Oceans: Join Clara Trippe
- Oct 31/Nov 1
Women: Join Jodie Evans
- Nov 7/8
War/Military: Join Jodie Evans, we’ll need all hands on deck to connect the military and climate change!
- Nov 14/15
Environmental Justice: Join Medea Benjamin
- Nov 21/22
Water: Join Medea Benjamin
- Nov 28/29
Food Justice & Agriculture: Join Clara Trippe
- Dec 5/6
Migration & Human Rights: Join Jodie Evans
- Dec 12/13
Join Jodie Evans to discuss the Peace Economy and Jobs & Just Transitions
- Dec 19/20
Climate & Health with Jodie Evans (Jane’s Birthday Party)
- Dec 26/27 (Christmas)
Forests: Join Ariel Gold
- Jan 2/3 (New Year)
Who’s to blame? Who should pay? Fossil Fuel companies: Join Ariel Gold
- Jan 9/10
Jane’s last Friday action: Join Ariel Gold
War Is Not Green
Addressing the climate crisis is one of the most important challenges of our time. The US military is the world’s largest consumer of oil and causes more greenhouse gas pollution than 140 nations combined. Yet 64% of our discretionary spending is siphoned off to the Pentagon every year and the private weapons companies that the Pentagon contracts with continue to place their short term profit above the future of our planet. Funding endless war is an existential threat to human life and one of the leading causes of climate change.
When our public institutions invest public money in weapons corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman, they are underpinning the war machine that draws public dollars away from projects that benefit our communities and puts them instead into an already bloated defense budget. Moreover, those same weapons are a major factor in conflicts that lead to migration by asylum seekers.
A movement to divest from the war machine will remove the social licenses that allow weapons corporations to literally make a killing on killing, and the Pentagon budget to increase annually even when our military budget far-outpaces the military budgets of all other nations.
The opportunities for divestment from the war machine abound. Cities, public pension funds, and university endowments invest public dollars in private corporations that often include weapons corporations, and elected public servants often accept campaign contributions from weapons makers.
Together we can demand that they divest, that it is morally unacceptable to build our communities on top of global conflicts, and at the same time we must demand that we instead invest our public resources in projects that positively impact our communities, starting first with a rapid response to the climate crisis that is exacerbated by endless wars.
If we’re going to avert a climate disaster, we have to hold companies like BlackRock, which invests billions of dollars in weapons manufacturers and millions in companies fueling the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, accountable. And if we want to drastically reduce our carbon emissions, we have to demand that our universities divest their endowments from weapons manufacturers, that our cities divest public dollars from weapons corporations, and that our elected officials refuse campaign contributions from weapons makers.
Take action locally to divest from the war machine! Addressing climate change and US militarism starts with people organizing for change in their local communities.
We love and wholeheartedly support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal AND we suggest some additions to address the environmental impact of militarism and the bloated Pentagon budget as a source of revenue. Sign your name to our letter below!
Dear Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,
We are thrilled with your draft of a Green New Deal and support it wholeheartedly. We would, however, like to suggest some additions to acknowledge the existence of the US military as an environmentally destructive force, and the enormous US military budget (over 60% of discretionary spending) as a potential source of revenue for the green initiatives this nation so desperately needs.
1. We suggest changing this:
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft
legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing
structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and
guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based
justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in
paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B).
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that much of the 60% of discretionary spending now going into the environmentally destructive project of militarism can be moved to environmental protection, and that innovative public and other financing structures. . . .
2. We suggest adding this:
- a major transition away from the environmental destruction of war and war-preparations, including the closure of most of the US military bases abroad and within the United States and the thorough cleanup of the land and water in those locations.
To the following list:
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed in order to achieve the following goals, in each case in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:
- 100% of national power generation from renewable sources;
- building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
- upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
- decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
- decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
- funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
- making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.
Thank you again for your fantastic initiative and we hope you are able to incorporate our suggestions.
The US is spending billions in wars that never end and only increase the world’s hatred of the US. If we close the bases in our global empire we can use the money saved to transform the military into a Green Force that truly works to “defend the country” — by fighting climate-fed wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts.
Imagine an EcoPentagon that rebuilds burned and flooded cities at home in the US instead of destroying towns and villages in other countries around the world. In order to save life on Earth, we have to act rapidly — within the next decade — to transform our economies and societies to operate sustainably. Perpetual growth is a dangerous myth that we must abandon if the planet is to survive.
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