Climate of Peace: The answer, my friend, is blowing in the pines

Sep 30 • FEATURE SIDEBAR, NEWS & VIEWS, Op-Ed, ViewsNo Comments on Climate of Peace: The answer, my friend, is blowing in the pines

T he weather on September 21 was clear, sunny, threat-of-nuclear-holocaust stable, with enough polar ice caps to keep the sea level low. In short, it was boring.
September 21 also kicked off of the UN Week of Action for Climate Change and marked the International Day of Peace. Climate is different from weather, and Earth’s climate is changing rapidly. If the climate around our conversations about war and conflict would change as quickly, we might survive ourselves.
Partly because we like linking little local events with big-picture actions, my wife took the Amtrak Palmetto to visit my son and attend the rally for climate action in Manhattan. My daughter and I went to the International Day of Peace celebration at Hugh MacRae Park. The Grandmother’s for Peace event drew nearly 200 people. The Manhattan rally for climate action attracted 400,000. That’s four Wilmington’s walking to demand action to slow anthropogenic climate change (ACC).
Climate and conflict are inextricably interwoven. Some people skewered the selection committee a decade ago when they awarded Wangari Maathai the Nobel Peace Prize for planting trees. People blasted them again when Al Gore and the IPCC shared the Peace Prize in 2007 for their work on raising awareness about ACC.
If you can’t grasp the connection between climate and global conflict yet, consider yourself strong on defense. Ask yourself why the Pentagon is preparing for wars triggered by climate change, and why the commander of the Pacific fleet considers climate change our biggest national security threat. I don’t know Admiral Locklear, but I suspect he didn’t rise through the ranks because he’s a lunatic liberal intent on sinking the ship of state.
Maybe the connection is hard to grasp because watching ice melt isn’t nearly as exciting as watching our Nobel Peace Prize-winning POTUS bomb ISIS. Bombs get the adrenaline pumping, and adrenaline hijacks all those boring thinking centers in the brain. Who needs them anyway? Did you see that truck get obliterated? That’ll teach ISIS not to post acts of horror on social media! Go team!
Maybe we don’t connect the dots because climate change doesn’t sound as sexy as Axis of Evil, al-Qaeda, or ISIS—or because global warming became linked too tightly to Al Gore’s “liberal agenda.” Well, ACC works for me. It sounds like an NCAA power conference. People know the ACC isn’t a hoax.
At any rate, 400,000 people in Manhattan seems exciting. Not so. My wife was pleased to see different the diversity of participants. She even noted a fair amount of GOP doubters ready to accept evidence that’s been building for decades. (Reasonable doubt keeps you alive when you’re innocent of murder, but unreasonable doubt on this issue is a death sentence.) She characterized the rally as purposeful, stimulating and enjoyable. But strolling around midtown Manhattan with a crowd intent on solving long-term survival problems isn’t titillating.
The Grandmother’s for Peace Celebration at Hugh MacRae was an adrenaline junkie’s dream. Not really. Unless you count the bubbles. Honestly, nothing at the either celebration was designed to hijack the thinking parts of the brain or use shock and awe to send adrenaline through our whole system—our whole society—to keep us in a constant state of fight or flight.
My daughter and I wandered thoughtfully among the long leaf pines listening to calming rhythms, mellow singing and talks about cultivating world peace. I lamented the lack of GOP-type bumper stickers in the park. Peace doesn’t mean absence of conflict. It’s going to remain difficult to cultivate a climate of peace until everyone is on board with it as an achievable and necessary human goal.
Finally, my daughter noted the pines haven’t chosen sides or had a war in a long time. Pines don’t sit home and play simulated battles against virtual Oak Armies either. My daughter caught my eye as if to ask, “Are the pine trees really that much smarter than people?”
I didn’t know how to answer. Heck, pine trees emit oxygen back to the atmosphere, are powered exclusively by solar energy and don’t fight wars. They may bore some people, but on September 21 they looked like a park full of Einsteins compared to humanity.

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