Today is International Day of Peace -- Friday, Sept. 21. It's a day, designated by the United Nations, when all warring factions are asked to lay down arms and consider peace. Unfortunately, the day rarely fails to achieve that humble goal, and this year appears no different. It's a powerful reminder of the toll of war, however, that not even a day can pass without violence. The environmental and peace movements grew up together in the 1960s, alongside the civil rights movement. They shared many common causes and leaders.
Each has been vilified, at times, as an agent of left-wing political thinkers, and each has achieved measures of success. Today, the green movement -- if it is to be considered as a new branch, or renewed or newly evolved amalgamation of the environmental movement -- is still allied with the peace movement in looser, if still fundamental ways. War takes at toll not just on human life, but all life. Concern over the health effects of insidious chemicals, or even the slow-motion global catastrophe of global warming, don't register when faced with a daily struggle for existence.
The green movement today is larger -- encompassing evangelicals and conservatives, just as it does scientists and liberals, the self-interested just as it does the selfless. It isn't a unified political base, but a unifying vision of a sustainable future that underscores this green movement. Understanding the complex intersection of global warming, national security and energy supply is a critical piece of the green movement. Terrorism and war are inextricably tied in with that tangle, making war -- and peace -- sister concerns. The International Peace Day recognizes this intersection, in different terms, in its definition of peace:
PEACE is more than the absence of war. It is about transforming our societies and uniting our global community to work together for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world for ALL.
Truly, if sustainability is an ideal the green movement strives for, peace and justice must be seen as goals on equal footing with environmental protection.
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