'This changes everything', Naomi Klein famously says of climate change.
Has it yet changed us? How have antimilitarist movements responded to the challenge of current and future climate change? It's a challenge that, yet again, uncovers enormous global power inequalities, with the activities of industrialised nations actively destroying communities all around the world, and especially in the global South, who have barely contributed to this problem. Industrialised nations in the north are turning to their militaries maintain the status quo (see our recent edition of The Broken Rifle on border militarisation).
And how do we weigh this enormous consideration – not one our antimilitarist predecessors have previously had to consider – against the other urgent world-changing work we are called to do? How do we work towards a 'climate lens', in which environmental activism does not overtake the liberation struggles of feminists, people of colour, queer groups, indigenous people and others, or the system-change work of antimilitarists, but is understood and incorporated within all of them?
After all, the disrespect The Machine has for the earth is mirrored in the disregard it's had for all of those humans and other species who lose out in this militarised, capitalist system.
We hope you get some food for thought in this edition of The Broken Rifle.
We chose the theme of climate change and antimilitarism for this edition during the Paris climate conference last December - a meeting that, on the surface, seemed to mark a shift in how governments are dealing with environmental crisis. This is the first edition of The Broken Rifle on this topic, though other editions have looked at different intersections between militarism and the environment, such as militarised and colonising extractive industries, land-grabbing and militarism, and how climate change and energy security relate to the arms trade.
This edition is in three parts. Firstly, we explore military and state approaches – seeing how militaries are a driver of climate change, and are embracing militarised solutions to it. Suad Badri looks at the flourishing 'activism academia' in Sudan, and their take on the links between conflict and climate change across the Horn of Africa. Shin Soo Yeon from Green Korea United and Cristóbal Orellana González from Red Antimilitarista y Noviolenta de Andalucía describe the adverse environmental impacts of military activity in Korea and Spain respectively. To end the section, Nick Buxton asks whose future it is that is being secured by militarised responses to climate insecurity, and cautions against the drift towards hawkish responses to climate change.
Secondly, we look at the connections between climate change and antimilitarism, with Quincy Saul's 'Towards an ecosocialist horizon', Milan Rai on Just Transition, and an author focusing on the anthropocentric roots of both environmental disaster and militarism, in Animal agriculture: the concealed cause of climate change.
Finally, we look at movement and activist responses to climate change. Ron Ridenour calls for greater connection between peace and environmentalist struggles, and Adi Winter describes the need for understanding the connection between different types of violence – for example against humans, non-human creatures, and the earth itself - in 'Blood is Blood'. We then finish with some inspiring examples of activism that has connected environmental and antimilitarist concern: Jo Ram explores the use of the tactic of calling for divestment from fossil fuels companies, especially in the UK; Arni describes the work of EcoMe, an 'intercultural living experiment' in the West Bank, and we end with an inspiring interview with Samantha Hargreaves from WoMin, a network of African women working on extractive industries and gender across the continent.