How the US could lead a global Green New Deal
The world is facing two interrelated crises: politically motivated violence and global environmental degradation. They are obviously related to the fact that global military conflicts and arms spending are among the most egregious wastes of resources on the planet. This project aims to bring together those elements of the military and civil society who want to accelerate the transition to sustainability while improving the security of the United States.
The force structure and strategic doctrine of the US military were forged over 60 years in preparation for land war with Soviet tank armies in the steppes of Eastern Europe. Now a suicidal person threatens with a suitcase bomb containing radioactive material. The fight against this kind of zeal cannot be won with tanks and bombs, it is a war for the hearts and minds, and this war can be won on a grand scale with eco-development.
More than 800 US military bases around the world are a huge cost factor that turns money away for the most urgent needs at home: collapsing infrastructure, a medical system stretched to the limit, widespread environmental pollution and an education system that needs massive upgrading. Most Americans don’t know, but there are large sections of the U.S. military developing solar, wind, biofuels, electric vehicles, and other green technologies that could be used to train locals around the world in these technologies of the future .
Through grassroots networks and donations from progressive foundations, local governments would be encouraged to work together in converting U.S. military bases overseas into educational and experimental cleantech centers that promote green practices that help us manage the environmental crisis while creating good green jobs and green entrepreneurship.
Converting these military bases into models of eco-development would benefit the United States in several ways:
- it would help transform the United States from a dominant empire into a global partner, making us more valued and less a target for terrorist attacks;
- it would save the US billions that are now being wasted maintaining this global network of bases;
- by helping countries develop more sustainable practices and cutting-edge green technology, it will have a positive impact on the planet we all share.
- Unites various global movements now separated by tactical problems. Some groups focus on climate change; some focus on biodiversity and saving endangered species; some are trying to change negative aspects of US foreign policy; and some focus on promoting green economy policies. Converting US military bases into eco-development platforms could unite these and many other organizations.
- Channel the peace movement energy from a negative framework (we are againstWar, and against Military spending) in a positive framework and switches from protest to proposal.
- Get forward-thinking members of Congress to endorse laws that aim to use resources from Status quoMilitary expenditure for investments in ecological development.
- Create cross-sectoral collaboration between NGOs, governments and green companies to transform the overseas bases.
- Learn important lessons for creating eco-industrial centers here in the US.
- Regain respect for America after the damage done by aggressive foreign policy in the past.
- Grow organic food that can be given to local service organizations to help the most vulnerable parts of the local population.
- Innovation of new technologies in the remediation of toxic waste through natural methods.
- Create collaborative spaces where international youth brigades can come together to learn nonviolence and sustainable development practices.
- Provide ample space for permaculture “eco-universities” to train the trainers who then go out and guide the communities on green economy issues such as green building, energy saving, renewable energy technology, urban agriculture, water saving, mycology, natural gray cleaning and black water, clean tech incubation, alternative transportation, neighborhood empowerment policies, and much more. There are already plenty of green curricula in place to train people in the key skills of the next economy: the green economy.
Dr. Kevin Danaher is the author or editor of 13 books on the world economy.