War is always a choice and it is always a bad choice. It is a choice that always leads to more war. It is not mandated in our genes or our human nature. It is not the only possible response to conflicts. Nonviolent action and resistance is a better choice because it defuses and helps resolve conflict. But the choice for nonviolence must not wait until conflict erupts. It must be built into society: built into institutions for conflict forecasting, mediation, adjudication, and peacekeeping. It must be built into education in the form of knowledge, perceptions, beliefs and values—in short, a culture of peace. Societies consciously prepare far in advance for the war response and so perpetuate insecurity.
Some powerful groups benefit from war and violence. The vast majority of humans, however, will gain a lot from a world without war. The movement will work on strategies for outreach to a wide variety of constituencies globally. Such constituencies might include people in many parts of the world, key organizers, well-known leaders, peace groups, peace and justice groups, environmental groups, human rights groups, activist coalitions, lawyers, philosophers/ moralists/ethicists, doctors, psychologists, religious groups, economists, labor unions, diplomats, towns and cities and states or provinces or regions, nations, international organizations, the United Nations, civil liberties groups, media reform groups, business groups and leaders, billionaires, teachers groups, student groups, education reform groups, government reform groups, journalists, historians, women’s groups, senior citizens, immigrant and refugee rights groups, libertarians, socialists, liberals, Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, veterans, student- and cultural-exchange groups, sister-cities groups, sports enthusiasts, and advocates for investment in children and health care and in human needs of every sort, as well as those working to oppose contributors to militarism in their societies, such as xenophobia, racism, machismo, extreme materialism, all forms of violence, lack of community, and war profiteering.
For peace to prevail, we must prepare equally far in advance for the better choice. If you want peace, prepare for peace.
Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
Paul Hawken (Environmentalist, Author)
• In less than two years, thousands of people from 135 countries have signed World Beyond War’s pledge for peace.
• Demilitarization is underway. Costa Rica and 24 other countries have disbanded their militaries altogether.
• European nations, which had fought each other for over a thousand years, including the horrendous world wars of the twentieth century, now work collaboratively in the European Union.
• Former advocates of nuclear weapons, including former U.S. Senators and Secretaries of State and numerous retired, high-ranking military officers, have publicly rejected nuclear weapons and called for their abolition.
• There is a massive, worldwide movement to end the carbon economy and hence the wars over oil.
• Many thoughtful people and organizations around the world are calling for an end to the counter-productive “war on terror.”
• At least one million organizations in the world are actively working toward peace, social justice, and environmental protection.
• Thirty-one Latin American and Caribbean nations created a zone of peace on January 29, 2014.
• In the last 100 years, we humans have created for the first time in history institutions and movements to control international violence: the UN, the World Court, the International Criminal Court; and treaties such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Treaty to Ban Landmines, the Treaty to Ban Child Soldiers, and many others.
• A peace revolution is already underway.