This letter to the editor was first published on CTMirror.org
Last week the children of the world put a preponderance of the world’s adults on notice that the elders of this planet cannot continue to rob them of their future. And a 16-year old girl gave voice to their concerns, putting the United Nations (and the U.S.) to shame, predicting that little of value would be done to address the coming climate catastrophe. The tepid applause to her impassioned speech was also predictable. The climate movement is upsetting the status quo.
Those children and young adults came, not just by the thousands, but by the hundreds of thousands. Millions of children and young people took to the streets to tell the mega corporations, the CEO’S, Wall Street and the politicians of the world that their greed for oil, coal and gas is killing the planet on which we all must live.
When crops fail from global warming or flood from excessive rain, we will all be affected by food shortage. As warming seas deplete marine life, a basic component of the food chain will be destroyed. As seas rise, millions will be displaced. As wildfires increase, their carbon debris will pollute the air we all must breathe.
Despite the gravity of climate change, plans for halting and finally reversing this world-wide threat are challenged in the U.S. on the grounds that “we can’t afford it.”
But apparently, we can afford a bloated budget for the Pentagon. Current projected budget for overall military operations in 2020 is projected to be $750 billion, an amount that constitutes over half of the entire disposable federal budget.
Payroll taxes from workers and employers contribute 81% of the funding for the federal budget but that budget is sadly deficient when it comes to the overall well-being of the workers who pay for it.
In the U.S., we have the technical and economic resources to transform the country to a green economy that decreases our carbon footprint while creating more jobs and preserving our children’s future.
Statistically, the U.S. military creates about seven jobs per $1 million of spending, according to a study from the Costs of War Project, while clean energy and infrastructure each support ten jobs for the same amount.
For example: Just 11% of the current annual budget would build enough green infrastructure to supply sustainable clean electricity to almost every household in the country.
A green economy would have a far greater positive effect on climate, health and social well-being per tax dollar than on those currently spent on war-related jobs.
As campaign season intensifies, make sure to ask your legislators and candidates to start connecting climate survival to demilitarization by insisting that they support investment in world construction, not world destruction.
Kathleen Mary Tepper