The Maine Peace Walk: Militarization of the Seas -- Pentagon's Impact on the Oceans is underway, accompanied by a van with artist Russel Wray's banner and rooftop sculpture of Maka the dolphin.
Marine animals are harmed by sonar used by the U.S. Navy, and all life in the oceans and on the planet is harmed by the Pentagon's immense carbon footprint.
Day two of the walk ended at Community Radio WERU's office in Blue Hill.
On day three as the walk passed through Belfast, Maine, some young peace walkers joined in for a part of the journey. Anyone can join the walk through Oct. 24 for an hour, a day, or all the way to Portmouth, NH. Full details may be found here on the Maine Veterans For Peace website.
This young peace walker appears to be carrying a koi nobori, a traditional Japanese fish banner flown to honor the energetic spirit of young boys. Japan's oceans have been severely impacted by ongoing U.S. military presence, and we have seen vigorous resistance from its citizens, including residents of the island of Okinawa. Japan's water table, offshore fisheries and the Pacific Ocean entire are being seriously polluted by the ongoing meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Fukushima (built by U.S. corporation General Electric) in the years since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami damaged it. High levels of radiation are still interfering with any clean up efforts, and 20-50 times higher than "normal" levels of thyroid cancer in children around Fukushima are already manifesting.
For all the children of the planet, consider raising up your voice in defense of the oceans. The seas do not belong to the Pentagon or any other country's military -- they belong to the life forms that thrive there! If we fail to recognize this and act soon, the result may be the demise of all life on Earth.
Here is the pot luck supper schedule for the peace walk for the remainder of the journey:
Day 4 (Camden) Monday, October 12 - Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church (7 Union St) Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed. Host: Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen 763-4062
Day 5 (Rockland) Tuesday, October 13 - Potluck supper and program at Unitarian church (345 Broadway) at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Midcoast Citizens for P & J (Steve Burke 691-0322)
Day 6 (Damariscotta) Wednesday, October 14 - Friends Meeting House (77 Belvedere Rd) Potluck Supper and program at 6:00 pm. Sleep at Meeting House. Host: Friends Meeting (Sue Rockwood 570-854-4458)
Day 7 (Bath) Thursday, October 15 - UCC Neighborhood Church (corner of Washington & Centre) Potluck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Bruce Gagnon 904-501-4494 & Karen Wainberg 371-8190
Day 8 (Day off) in Bath Friday, October 16 - Stay at same homestays again this night. Potluck supper at Addams-Melman House (212 Centre St) at 6:00 pm. Host: Bruce Gagnon 904-501-4494 & Karen Wainberg 371-8190
Day 9 (Brunswick) Saturday, October 17 - Pot luck supper at Sternlieb home (21 McKeen St) at 6:00 pm. Walker music program. Home stays needed in Brunswick. Host: Selma Sternlieb 725-7675
Day 10 (Freeport) Sunday, October 18 - Pot luck supper at First Parish Congregation Church (on US 1) at 6:00 pm and program. Sleep at church. Host: Paula O’Brien 865-6022 & Sukie Rice 318-8531 & Cheryl Avery 865-0916
Day 11 ( Portland) Monday, October 19 - State Street Church-UCC (159 State St.) Pot luck supper & program at 6:00 pm. Homestays needed. Host: Grace Braley 774-1995
Day 12 (Saco) Tuesday, October 20 - First Parish Congregation Church on corner of Beech & Maine. Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed. Host: Tom Kircher 282-7530
Day 13 (Kennebunk) Wednesday, Oct 21 - New School (38 York Street). Pot luck supper and program at 6:00 pm. Sleep at school. Host: Olive Hight 207-590-9505
Day 14 (York Beach) Thursday, October 22 - York Beach (52 Freeman St) Supper, music program & sleeping spot at 6:00 pm. Host: Pat Scanlon 978-474-9195 & Smedley Butler Brigade of Boston-area VFP
Day 15 (Portsmouth) Friday, October 23 - Supper and program at St. John’s Episcopal Church (100 Chapel St) at 6:00 pm. Home stays needed, Host: Doug Bogen 603-617-6243 (Meet at Prospect Park at 5:00 pm for rally)
Day 16 (Finale in Portsmouth) Saturday, October 24 - Meet at Market Square 10:00 am. Walk thru downtown and back over bridge to Kittery. Vigil & speakers at shipyard gate (deliver letter). Walk back to Market Square for final closing circle around noon. Host: Doug Bogen 603-617-6243
Call to Walk:
The Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint on our Mother EarthWaging endless war consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels and lays waste to significant environmentally sensitive places on the planet – particularly the oceans.
The oceans are inhabited by a multitude of different life forms, from microorganisms to whales, many of whom are able to sense sound and use it to find food, navigate, communicate, and avoid predators. Navy sonar blasts wreak havoc on these creatures, disrupting their lives, leaving animals more susceptible to disease and lowered reproductive success, and sometimes injuring and killing them.
Because Navy sonars are extremely loud, depending on ocean conditions, that noise can travel at harmful levels for tens or even hundreds of miles, impacting huge numbers of animals. By the Navy’s own estimates, sonar noise can still be as high as 140 decibels 300 miles from the source, a level that is a hundred times more intense than the level known to result in behavioral changes in large whales.
Some of these exercises will even take place inside designated critical habitat for the already endangered right whale, frequenter of Maine waters. In fact, the Navy is now constructing a 500 square mile instrumented range off the coast of Georgia where it intends to conduct 470 sonar exercises annually - the Navy chose this site just offshore of the only known calving grounds of the right whale! In March 2015 Navy sonar testing near Guam led to the stranding of three beaked whales.
Shipyard Impacts in MainePier-side testing of sonar occurs at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery which results in significant fish kills. Navy off-shore weapons testing exercises puts toxic chemicals and hazardous materials and waste into Maine’s marine environment.
The Kennebec River that BIW fronts is often dredged in order to allow the deep hulled destroyers built there to get into the ocean. Dredging takes a heavy toll on aquatic life.
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has caused serious pollution of the local environment. The shipyard is on an island that the Pentagon considers as one of their facilities most vulnerable to climate change, particularly their dry-dock facilities. Rising sea levels could affect shipyard toxic waste sites which are now mostly right on the shoreline and would seriously impact water quality and sea life.
Ocean AcidificationSince the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s, fossil fuel-powered machines have driven an unprecedented burst of human industry and society. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in ocean pH caused by human fossil fuel emissions. Oceans currently absorb approximately half of the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuel. An estimated 30–40% of the carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into oceans, rivers and lakes.
Arctic Militarization Due to Climate ChangeIn early 2014 Maine’s Sen. Angus King went on a nuclear submarine ride under the Arctic Sea ice which is now melting due to climate change. Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations was on the sub and said, “In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean… We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.”
When Sen. King returned from the trip he told his constituents that there has been "a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming." He reported that "previously inaccessible" gas and oil reserves were now going to create "new opportunities". King concluded, "I am convinced we need to increase our capacity in the region, something I intend to press upon my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee as we work on our military priorities for the coming years."
Rather than drill for more fossil fuels in the Arctic, and create a new arms race in that environmentally sensitive region, the US should be working to convert our military industries to build offshore wind turbines, rail, solar and tidal power. According to studies done by theUMASS-Amherst Economics Department shipyards in Bath and Portsmouth could nearly double their number of jobs by building rail or wind turbines. The Gulf of Maine has more wind power generating potential than any other place in the US.
Help Save Our SeasIf the seas die so do humans on Earth and much of the wildlife. Now is the time to speak out for ending the massive military impacts on the world’s oceans and for conversion of our fossil fuel dependent military industrial complex to sustainable technologies. We will walk to bring attention to these crucial issues. Please help us carry this message to the public by joining with us.
Maine Walk for Peace is sponsored by: Maine Veterans for Peace; PeaceWorks; CodePink Maine; Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST); Peace Action Maine; Veterans for Peace Smedley Butler Brigade (Greater Boston); Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Contact: 207-443-9502 or 207-422-8273