By DR. KEVIN DONAHER
We could help unify the peace movement and the green economy movement by working together on a visionary campaign that would transform U.S. military bases into Eco-Universities/Eco-Industrial Parks. The 865 U.S. military bases around the world represent institutional inertia rather than any real national security interest of the American people. Quite the contrary: by inserting thousands of young, poorly educated yet well-armed American males into foreign cultures they know little about, we are generating resentment that fuels the passions of those who would do us harm.
The force structure and strategic doctrine of the U.S. military was forged over 60 years of preparing for a land war with Soviet tank armies on the steppes of Eastern Europe. Now the threat is a suicidal individual with a suitcase bomb containing radioactive material. The struggle against this type of zealotry cannot be won with tanks and bombs, it is a war for hearts and minds, and that war can be won with green job creation on a grand scale.
This campaign would call for handing U.S. bases back to their respective national governments, with the U.S. government and civil society institutions undertaking a clean-up campaign during the transition in ownership. Through grassroots networks and donations from local citizens, the local governments would be encouraged to transform these bases into educational and experimental clean-tech centers promoting green practices that will help us address the environmental crisis while generating good green jobs and eco-entrepreneurship.
The conversion of these bases into models of eco-development would be beneficial to the United States in many ways:
it would help transform the U.S. from a dominating empire into a global partner, thereby making us more appreciated and less of a target for terrorist attacks;
it would save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars now being wasted on maintaining this global network of bases;
it will have a positive impact on the planet we all share by helping countries develop more sustainable practices and cutting-edge green technology.
Military bases are large enough space for permaculture “Eco-Universities” to train the trainers who will then go out and instruct communities on green economy issues such as green building, energy conservation, renewable energy technology, urban agriculture, water conservation, natural purification of grey water and black water, clean-tech incubation, alternative transportation, neighborhood empowerment policies, and much more.
The Green Festivals can bring together the relevant experts and host sessions focused on how to transform U.S. military bases into Eco-Universities/Eco-Industrial Parks.
Dr. Kevin Danaher is a co-founder of Global Exchange (1988), co-founder of TransFairUSA (1997), founder and Executive Co-Producer of the Green Festivals (2001) and Executive Director of the Global Citizen Center (2004). He was also the co-founder and designer of ESLI, the Environmental Service Learning Initiative, and he created GreenGuardians.ning.com featuring 200 green career training videos and other green job resources.
Dr. Danaher has spoken at universities and at community organizations throughout the U.S. He conducts workshops on issues ranging from the dynamics of the global economy to how we can accelerate the transition to the green economy. His presentation, “Getting Your Green Career Together” is Saturday Oct. 24th on the Center Stage at Green Festival Washington D.C. He is also presenting “Accelerating the Transition into a Unified Green Economy” Saturday November 6th on the Green Lifestyle Stage at Green Festival San Francisco.