Leah Bolger, a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, believes that all wars should be abolished.
“War is immoral, it’s illegal, it’s ineffective, and it costs too much.” Bolger says.
As a leader of Veterans for Peace, Bolger is working to promote the efforts of World Beyond War — a global network of organizations committed to ending all wars. Through education, lobbying, and nonviolent direct action, World Beyond War aims to raise the public awareness of the facts and myths of war, and to grow the opposition to war.
Event though it’s a worldwide movement, World Beyond War recognizes that the U.S. plays a disproportionate role. On its website, the organization says, “The United States builds, sells, buys, stockpiles, and uses the most weapons, engages in the most conflicts, stations the most troops in the most countries, and carries out the most deadly and destructive wars. By these and other measures, the U.S. government is the world’s leading war-maker, and — in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. — the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
Maintaining such a large and powerful military comes not only with an enormous price tag ($618 billion in 2013), but a hefty carbon footprint as well.
“The United States military is the biggest consumer of fossil fuels of any other entity on Earth,” Bolger says.
With some military vehicles averaging less than one mpg in fuel economy, the Department of Defense uses approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day. This link between military operations and climate change adds new weight to discussions on the global impacts of war.
Dependence on fossil fuels is both a cause and an effect of war. “Not only are we responsible for the consumption of all this fuel which is leading to climate change, we actually invade other countries and fight and kill their citizens for geographic positioning so we can control the fuel,” Bolger adds. “It’s no coincidence that the recent wars in the Middle East have been in countries that are either neighboring oil rich countries or contain oil themselves.”
World Beyond War welcomes signatures on it Pledge to End War.
In February 2014, the First Alternative Co-op participated in Transformation Without Apocalypse at Oregon State University.