The Trees and We Breathe Bombs Long Gone by Elisabeth Schilling

bikini atoll bombI wish that in our pursuit of finding cures for illnesses we would do more as a collective species to prevent the causes, sometimes environmental ones. Why do we vote for people to make decisions that represent us but that we would never in a million years agree to? Bombs and the consequences of them raise questions of health and power. In the Yoga Sutras, 2.30, we read that “Yama consists of non-violence, non-lying, non-stealing, appropriate use of vital energy, and non-possessiveness.” The yamas are our social restraints. They are a negation of behaviors we might usually partake in.

Ahimsā, or non-violence, is listed first. It is the first element of the first limb of yoga; it is the basis for every other ethical aspect of our lives. Bombs are an example of a common and frequent behavior of violence that make the land, water, and sky increasingly uninhabitable. According to Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations, in 2016 alone, the U.S. is estimated to have dropped 26,172 bombs. Zenko says that this estimate is “undoubtedly low.” (1) This is one year and the bombs from one nation. (2) What is the environmental impact of all of the bombs dropped from every nation since the beginning of bombing history?

When a bomb is detonated, there is not only harm to the immediate life in that vicinity but life in the future and far away. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Weapons (ICAN) website, “the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War has estimated that roughly 2.4 million people will eventually die as a result of the atmospheric nuclear tests conducted between 1945 and 1980, which were equal in force to 29,000 Hiroshima bombs.” (5)

According to a statistic updated March 2016 on the Ploughshares Fund website, nine countries in the world have a total of 14,900 nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Russia holding 93% of them. (3) They have been used twice, both times by the United States, in war, but additionally they have been used in tests over 2,000 times in more than 60 locations over the globe, according to ICAN. (4) There are already unavoidable consequences to the earth and humans because of this irresponsible behavior that is ongoing.  These tests occur in the atmosphere, under the earth, and under water. (6) Continue reading “The Trees and We Breathe Bombs Long Gone by Elisabeth Schilling”

Violence Begetting Violence by Carol P. Christ

Why is it that some who experience violence as children repeat the pattern while others imagine a world without violence?  I have been pondering this question in recent weeks. 

Yesterday while visiting a neighborhood grandmother who is recovering from surgery, I witnessed a truly horrifying scene.  The grandmother’s son, who knows I ran for office on the Green Party ticket in the recent elections, stormed onto the terrace, pointed his finger at me, and said with a vengeance, “You should know that everyone is going to be voting for the Golden Dawn from now on.”  The Golden Dawn is the fascist neo-Nazi party that won 18 seats in the Greek Parliament and now claims the loyalty of nearly 10% of the Greek people.  Golden Dawn members and supporters have (allegedly) been involved in hundreds of violent attacks on illegal and legal immigrants since the June elections.  The police have done little so far to stop these attacks, perhaps because many of them support the Golden Dawn

“We can’t go on like this,” my neighbor continued, “we must do something.”  Continue reading “Violence Begetting Violence by Carol P. Christ”

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