“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the Great Powers of the World signed the armistice laying down arms after four years of the bloodiest war in history. That was 1918.
Now, we call it Veteran’s Day.
What caused the armistice was the refusal of soldiers to fight. They refused ‘to go over the top’ anymore. In Russia, France, England, Italy they refused to participate in the slaughter which had begun in 1914.
What we learn from Armistice Day is that the soldier is the front line of the peace movement.”
Where would you shelve George W. Bush’s memoir?
“The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported. In spite of the evidence, the environmental impact of the US military goes largely unaddressed by environmental organizations and was not the focus of any discussions or proposed restrictions at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This impact includes uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil.
The extensive global operations of the US military (wars, interventions, and secret operations on over one thousand bases around the world and six thousand facilities in the United States) are not counted against US greenhouse gas limits.…
As it stands, the Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined. Depleted uranium, petroleum, oil, pesticides, defoliant agents such as Agent Orange, and lead, along with vast amounts of radiation from weaponry produced, tested, and used, are just some of the pollutants with which the US military is contaminating the environment.”
And it makes me think a lot of sustainable designers may be fighting the wrong war.
While the conflict in Israel and Palestine is a war for dominance, territory, hearts and minds, it is also a war on, and of, the built environment: bulldozing and bombing homes, laying and rerouting roads, checkpoints, the separation wall, and, of course, the settlements.
After the Israeli assault on Gaza that began in December 2008, the Israeli army banned the import of cement. This is particularly pressing since homes, hospitals, schools, water networks cannot be rebuilt.
While some are designing around the ban, developing mud brick architecture and off-grid lighting systems, other activists have flouted the ban sending Gaza cement themselves. And though Israel eased a total ban on construction materials in late July, only 41 truckloads of construction materials were allowed to enter Gaza in 2009. Thousands more are needed.
Last week, on the anniversary of the assault, a group of sixteen human rights and humanitarian organizations accused the international community of betraying the people of Gaza by failing to end the Israeli blockade. Meanwhile, the Western media has not only ignored demonstrations within Israel and without, but even softened the impact of the blockade.
Update 1/6/10: Al Jazeera has another angle on design, the blockade, and the built environment: a write-up of graffiti culture in Gaza. Without access to uncensored news, some activists have turned to graffiti — and were even occasionally sponsored, supplied, and trained by Hamas or Fatah. (via)