War on Ecocide

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 (Carol Arnold)

I have a sign in my window that once said "No War in Iraq."  When U.S. troops left Iraq, I cut off the bottom. The sign now reads "No War". Unfortunately, no one is getting my message. Wars are raging all over the globe.  

General Sherman once said, "War is Hell". He was right. Millions have been killed in these recent wars. Many more have been displaced, disabled or disfigured.

But still, I'm not against all wars and in fact envision one I could support. In the 1960's President Johnson declared War on Poverty. I supported that war. Now, I'd like to see a War on Ecocide. Ecocide is a term from the 70's; 'eco', meaning environment, 'cide', meaning to kill.

Today, half the world's wildlife is gone and it only took the last 40 years to do it.    Man-made climate change continues wreck havoc. All of this amounts to Ecocide at its worst. Unlike most wars, a War on Ecocide would save the planet rather than destroy it. It would be expensive, like World War II, but with weapons that would help not hurt. Our leaders could inspire us as they did then.  My parents were proud to do Service, grow a victory garden, ration gas, food and other necessities, fix things instead of throw them away, or simply do without.

But who is the enemy in this War on Ecocide? Years ago, a cartoon possum named Pogo declared the enemy is us and he was right. It is us who kills the environment, but only part of us - our greed and thoughtlessness. We can also be generous and thoughtful if we choose.  Not so those other persons, the nameless corporations the Supreme Court granted personhood to several years ago. Those persons concern themselves only with the bottom line. That kind of thinking is the real enemy.


I plan to keep my sign in the window for now.  Maybe I'll replace the words "No War" with "War on Ecocide."  It will be quite a mess, my sign, but isn't war always messy?

With a Perspective, I'm Carol Arnold.

Carol Arnold is an environmental planner and writer in San Francisco.