Thursday, August 3, 2017

Close All U.S. Bases Abroad To Slow Climate Change & Promote Environmental Justice

Popular Resistance "Close All US Military Bases on Foreign Soil"
Recently I signed on to a new campaign with the goal of closing U.S. military bases abroad.

U.S. troops stationed abroad

There are many reasons why closing military bases abroad would be a major step toward restoring both environmental justice and human rights.

As is typical of U.S. imperial ambition, environmental considerations are tossed aside when expansion is seen as serving the empire. Just this week the Department of Homeland "Security" announced that it has the power to skip environmental impact studies in building a wall on our border with Mexico. Thankfully, the Center for Biological Diversity has challenged this in a lawsuit, arguing that sidestepping the EPA is unconstitutional.

What about the harm caused by military bases outside the U.S.? The story of how life fares in the vicinity of a U.S. military base is a sad one.

Let's start with one of the most egregious examples: Okinawa. Can you find it on this map?

Okinawa is an island that was colonized by imperial Japan, became a major battleground in WWII, and then has been forced into serving as a U.S. military outpost ever since.

Native Okinawan MoĆ© Yonamine wrote in "Fighting for Okinawa -- My Home, Not a Military Base":
“They are burying our beautiful ocean,” read the recent message from my mother in Okinawa, as though she was grieving the loss of a loved one. 
After decades of protest by Okinawan people to completely get rid of all U.S. military bases that occupy a fifth of the Ryukyu Island chain, the United States and Japan signed a treaty to evacuate one of the most contested bases located in the center of the main island, Futenma Marine Corps (MCAS) base. In exchange for the removal, both governments announced that they would construct a floating military base off the northeast coast of Henoko. Okinawans expressed vehement opposition, with a majority voting in a referendum for the complete removal of all bases.
Photo by Tomaz Vajngerl / Creative Commons
Futenma Marine Corps Air Station is notorious for human rights abuses in its vicinity. Rape and murder by military personnel victimizing Okinawan girls and Japanese tourists have fueled local resistance to the base for years.

Al-Jazeera "Ex-Marine charged with rape, murder of  Okinawa woman"

The base is also a source of air pollution and noise pollution, and a stressor on sea life in the vicinity.

And, it is just one of many bases on the small island of Okinawa.

Globally, activists who work to reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere must stop ignoring the Pentagon's role in this global security threat. The Pentagon is the organization with the largest carbon bootprint on the planet.

We of the Maine Natural Guard will bring this often ignored, inconvenient truth to a climate change conference this fall. Tabling at the Sierra Club Maine's third annual Climate Action Conference September 16 in Lewiston, we will provide information and invite others to sign on to our pledge to connec the dots between militarism and environmental harm.

You can take the Natural Guard pledge, too, by clicking here

And you can click here to endorse the campaign to close all U.S. military bases abroad.

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