FROM WHERE I STAND: Notes from the desk of peace activist Polly Mann (b. Nov. 19, 1919)

Hope for the Earth, our home
The New York Times of Jan. 7 carried a full half-page ad signed by Michael Kurtyka of the Polish National Foundation and president of the environmental group COP24, describing the most recent U.N. climate policy conference, the Katowice Rulebook. Negotiators from 196 countries and the European Union worked for two weeks on the Rulebook, a milestone on the road toward a sustainable global climate policy. The previous Paris Agreement had covered a wide range of issues in a fair and balanced way, taking into account the national economic, social and environmental conditions of individual countries as well as their development goals. Stopping climate change requires cooperation and planned coordinated actions. The Katowice Rulebook forms the basis for the preparation of reduction plans after 2030, and its successful conference shows that Poland is ready to undertake this mission as Michael Kurtyka’s concluding remarks indicate: “We were conscious of our responsibility to people and commitment for the fate of Earth, which is our home and the home of future generations.”

In these days of what might be despair over national politics, this sign of thoughtful and determined action to do the “right thing” on scientifically defined climate change provides a little cheer.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and NATO
April 4, 2019, will mark the date of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and there will be local as well as state and national demonstrations honoring him and his work. Also meeting in April will be the North American Treaty Organization, which Dr. King strongly opposed. And why? Because it has been a pervasive and deadly military alliance causing suffering and devastation throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands have died in US/NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Dr. King linked the three evils of American society: militarism, racism and poverty. He warned that every bomb that falls on other countries is a bomb dropped on our inner cities. He claimed that there was a deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic and environmental injustices that impoverish whole cities and rural communities, which have plagued our society and the world for far too long. Millions of refugees have and are risking their lives to escape the carnage that exists throughout the world and that too often are a result of U.S. intervention. In Dr. King’s speech opposing the Vietnam War he said that the U.S. government (Note: not the people) is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and that “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

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