Earth2 1

There is an increasing realization that the mobilization of people on environmental issues will be increasingly important in the days and years to come. Left to themselves the world leadership will be unable to make some of the most important changes in time. So a considerable strengthening of environmental movement all over the world with a clearer vision and proper priorities is an essential condition for the accomplishment of the most urgent steps that need to be taken for life-saving environment protection on our once  beautiful, bountiful  but now badly endangered planet.

How can the environmental movement be strengthened? Apart from self-introspection and improvement, there is a very clear need for making closer and stronger linkages with other movements particularly the peace movement. There are very strong reasons for this. War and all preparations for war, growing militarization and arms race, proliferation of weapons , emergence of more dangerous weapons/weapon systems,  potential risks of space warfare,  ever-present threat of nuclear weapons  taken together constitute perhaps the biggest polluter, if direct and indirect aspects are added up. As long as the world lives under the shadow of power rivalries and the urge of dominating others, the close cooperation needed, with continuity and without disruptions, for resolving the most urgent environmental problems cannot be achieved. On the other hand, accentuating environmental problems, for example water crisis, can themselves become the cause for serious conflicts and war.

Clearly this understanding provides very strong reasons for environmental and peace movements to work in close cooperation with each other. The strength of both movements needs to increase greatly and in addition they should work in close cooperation, increasing the impact and success of each other.

In addition, however, there is a definite need for both movements to have a clearer understanding of various justice and equality related movements and to work in cooperation with them. This includes the movements of workers and peasants, movements of justice at international level , gender issues, movements of oppressed communities and the movements for more equality at various levels. There is need for removing misunderstandings and false sense of conflicts as in reality all these movements can work together and there are no real conflicts once proper understanding of issues is established.

The worldwide need for very important issues relating to environment protection and peace is becoming  more and more urgent and it is a really a survival issue now. While increasing this understanding at world level, the peace and environmental movements can succeed in mobilizing a large number of people only if they understand justice issues and have close links with justice movements. When they are isolated from justice concerns , several environmentalists , despite good intentions, tend to adopt  narrow and distorted approaches which cannot go very far. Peace without justice in many contexts is an empty concept which cannot go very far in achieving more durable peace.

Hence clearly the environmental movement can succeed best by increasing its closeness and understanding with movements for peace and justice, and it is very important to move in this direction.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth for Children.


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