The Pentagon Versus Penguins — and the Planet

September 1st, 2023 - by Shahed Ghoreishi / Win Without War

The Pentagon-shaped Hole in
Any Plan to Address the Climate Crisis
Shahed Ghoreishi / Win Without War

(August 31, 2023) — Yesterday, the strongest storm in 125 years slammed into Tallahassee, FL. Hurricane Idalia is set to blow through the Carolinas next, and will leave billions of dollars in damage in its wake.

Wildfires, tornadoes, heatwaves, and hurricanes are only becoming MORE catastrophic in the face of rising global temperatures. Yet, while people across the Southeast prepared for the worst in the face of 2023’s 16th billion-dollar US climate disaster, Congress was finalizing an $886 BILLION weapons and war budget that will only turn up the heat on an already boiling world.

You can’t bomb away a hurricane (despite claims from a former president). It’s unconscionable that instead of addressing this threat head-on, Congress could deepen the climate crisis by funneling billions more toward greenhouse gas emitting planes, ships, tanks, and bases.

Win Without War isn’t about to let that happen without a fight, and luckily we’re not the only ones. This summer, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Jamal Bowman have been sprinting across the aisle to build bipartisan support for new legislation that would rein in the reckless Pentagon spending that fuels climate change. All this momentum points to a trend that an era of unaccountable Pentagon budgets is ENDING — and that means THIS is when we need to go harder than ever.

Penguins or the Pentagon?
It’s not just devastation from weather disasters in the United States we’re worried about. A US addiction to war is fueling a crisis that wreaks havoc across the globe. Last year, tens of thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned in Antarctica’s Bellingshausen Sea after sea ice broke up early.

As waters continue to warm across the globe and sea ice melts, penguins aren’t the only species at risk. This story is just another troubling example that the climate crisis is escalating beyond our control — and it’s a crucial reminder that our work to CUT the Pentagon budget matters now more than ever.

Emissions are a key driver of global warming, and when the temperatures increase, it means more flooding, longer droughts, scorching heat waves, and extreme hurricanes across the globe. As the largest institutional consumer of petroleum worldwide, the Pentagon is a HUGE source of greenhouse gas emissions — and a HUGE opportunity to make a crucial difference in the fight against global warming.

From here on out, every single fraction of a degree of planetary warming we avoid matters. Cutting even a percentage of the Pentagon’s proposed $886 BILLION budget can reduce emissions — and that means we can save lives and protect ecosystems.

This can be the moment we turn the tide. There is much we have already lost, but there is much we can save, and it’s why we keep fighting. The thing is, our team can’t keep up the pressure without resources.

We know it’s a tough moment, and many deserving causes are reaching out too. But if you’re tired of a violence-first approach that hurts people and the planet, you know this isn’t the moment to give up the fight.

Thank you for working for peace,
Shahed, Sam, Faith, and the Win Without War team