Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders, The Pope and economic disparity

Cross-posted with permission from Advocacy at St Paul's

Senator Bernie Sanders is a bit of a political institution in the USA where he sits in the Senate. He is an independent but for many practical situations, he counts as a Democrat. 

The speech below begins in relation to the planned visit of Pope Paul to speak from America's seat of government. Please take time to listen to Senator Sanders and the economic statistics he quotes. His statistics relate to the USA but the spirit of them is the same for Australia. The convergence of finance and resources towards the top minuscule per cent away from the bottom majority. 

Bernie Sanders asks:  
What religion condones this type of economic disparity? 

The question we should be asking of ourselves is:
Should we be asking that question of our political leaders who profess to belong to and practice various faiths? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A council votes to become a TPP-free zone. Check what we THINK may be in the secretive TPP. Join the Choice campaign

Post by Flush the TPP.

Trans Pacific Partnership. What's the deal being negotiated in our name?
Areas believed to be covered in the TPP include:
Criminalising the use to technology to include jail time
Establishment of external tribunals to reconsider decisions 
already made by Australian courts.
Extreme extensions in copyright terms as well as criminalisastion.
Food labelling in Australia is in the firing line.

Get in tune with the Choice campaign here.

Keep calm and be an Active Bystander

Is it too much to ask of our leaders honesty and self-reflection --- not to mention an end to cruelty and an extension of fellow feeling

Keep Social Democracy in Australia
Community · 4,618 Likes
 · 23 hrs · Edited · 
‪#‎KoinuntukAustralia‬ (coins for Australia) is a reaction to Abbott's suggestion Indonesia should reciprocate for the $A1 billion in aid Australia sent after the 2004 tsunami.…/bali-nine-koinuntukaustralia-indone…
Look, I know open letters are a bit April of last year, but I’ve been worried about you, Tony. Since the Leigh Sales interview when you were unable to articulate exactly who you are, I’ve been worried.
It’s a question most Australians are asked every now and again – in job interviews, by partners, by caring friends rolling around on the back lawn after one too many G&Ts, sometimes by our therapists. And as the Prime Minister and a man with more than a fleeting interest in spirituality, I’m sure at some point you’ve asked yourself the question, “Who the hell am I? What do I really stand for?”
But at 7.48 or 7.52 that evening, Leigh's question seemed to rattle you. You became evasive. So in case you find yourself fumbling for an answer in the future, here's who I think you are. (Feel free to quote me).
You’re a Christian guy. You’re the Christian guy who, when faced with appalling facts about the ongoing abuse and psychological torment of innocent children in our detention centres, chose to viciously attack the messenger rather than reflect maturely upon the incredibly sad and sensitive contents of the message. You’re that guy.
You're the guy who condones shoving terrified women and children fleeing rape, persecution and death, (much of which we helped fuel), into little orange boats in the dead of night, sending them back into the darkness and uncertainty they’ve somehow managed to flee, hopeful of our shelter. That's you with your whole "Australia isn't for everyone" Jesus thing.
You're the guy who's been trash talking the economy for so long, most Australians are afraid to buy a pine-lime Splice let alone a car or a house. And it was you who in opposition said the so called ‘Carbon Tax’ would wipe towns off the map – something about a python squeeze not a cobra strike – when you knew that simply wasn't ever going to happen. Is it all coming back to you, Tony? You’re that Henny Penny guy.
You're the guy with the gay sister who stubbornly refuses to change his views on same sex marriage, despite her personal pleadings and the firm belief of most Australians that equality is long overdue. Represent, Tony! Step up! They mean you no harm. And if it's about saying one thing before an election and doing another after... honestly, let’s not imagine anyone’s going to be too upset or surprised.
While we’re on that, you're the guy who hounded the previous government TO DEATH over one supposed lie, promising an all adult, no surprises government of your own. I swear it was you boldly proclaiming you can't say one thing in opposition then do another in office, before making brutal cuts in literally every single area you said you wouldn't. Ringing bells, Tony?
You're the guy who says he's intimidated by the burqa then gets around in a bright red banana sling.
And forgive me for delving into personal irritations, but you're the Rhode scholar guy who has to repeat everything twice, sometimes thrice, buying yourself time to formulate your next sentence. It's an old orator's trick Tony, but every frickin' sentence?
While I could go on, I'm sure the electronic graffiti artists will be happy to continue this letter for me. And hopefully, next time Leigh asks for a little personal reflection, you'll have a better idea of who you are. You're that guy
With - ABC 23

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In or near #Bendigo? Please support the #LoveMakesAWay protesters in the cause of refugees next week.

Cross-posted from Advocacy @ St Paul's

Advocacy has posted previously on the protest actions of the #LoveMakesAWay movement.

Next week the #Bendigo protesters who did a sit-in in the office of Senator Bridget McKenzie will appear in court in Bendigo.  Please come and show your support for #LoveMakesAWay and the protesters.  Details are below.  You will find Dave's Facebook site here. Advocacy @ St Paul's will be there.

Below: Dave Fagg of the Seeds community is arrested. More pictures here.

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar - 2015-02-11

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar
February 11, 2015
Public meeting: The Greek elections, Syriza and the fight against austerity in Europe
Thursday, February 19, 6:30pm (meal from 6pm). Speakers: Dick Nichols (Green Left Weekly European correspondent, covered Greek elections); Afrodity Giannakis (resident in Greece, active in social movements and Syriza until mid-2014).  Multicultural Hub (Old Drill Hall), 506 Elizabeth St (opposite Victoria Markets). $10/$5. Presented by Socialist Alliance & Green Left Weekly. For more info ph 9639 8622. Facebook event
ACTU day of action: Fight for our rights
Wednesday, March 4, 10am. Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South.
This is the regular Melbourne activist calendar compiled by Green Left Weekly. Emailed to subscribers each Wednesday fortnight, it is a one-stop listing of the main left and progressive events in Melbourne and Geelong.
Since it began in early 1991, Green Left Weekly has offered an indispensable alternative to the lies of the big-business media and has helped build the various movements for social change. To subscribe toGreen Left Weekly, visit our secure online website for rates and payment or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206.
You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong we are at the Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
New email address? Not already receiving this calendar regularly? Want to subscribe someone else? Let us know at Greenleft Melbourne.
Until Sunday, March 1
Sustainable Living Festival. Raises awareness and provides tools for change by showcasing leading solutions to the ecological and social challenges we face. It will again present a rich program of home and lifestyle solutions including talks, workshops, art, film, performance and markets to educate and inform the audience about their state of sustainability. For agenda visit SLF.
Thursday, February 12
Forum: Preventing crimes against nature? How can the legal system be changed to better protect nature and sustain life? Speakers: Nicola Rivers (Environmental Justice Australia); Alessandro Pelizzon (Southern Cross University); Kate Auty (former Victorian Government Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability); Ellen Sandell (State Greens MP). 6pm. Entry Free. The Deakin Edge, Federation Square, City.
Public meeting: A report-back on the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. Speakers: Robert Tickner(CEO, Red Cross), Phoebe Wynn-Pope (Red Cross), Tilman Ruff, Vanessa Macedo and  Michael Hamel-Green (Victoria University). 6pm. Australian Red Cross, 155 Pelham St, Carlton.
Friday, February 13 - Friday, March 6
Transitions Film Festival. Australia’s largest sustainability film festival is dedicated to showcasing inspirational documentaries about the social and technological innovations, revolutionary ideas and trailblazing change-makers that are leading the way to a better world. For more info visit Transitions Film Festival.
Friday, February 13 
Sustainable Living Festival Great Debate: To collapse or not to collapse? Pushing for economic ruin or building a 'great transition'. As the climate crisis continues to unfold so too does the polarisation of core strategy within the environment movement. At one end of the spectrum, there are those who remain firmly dedicated to building a mass global movement to achieve a full-scale emergency, wartime -like transition of our economy. Counter to this position, some environmentalists are fueled by a strong belief that speeding up an implosion of the global financial system is the only thing that can prevent catastrophic climate change. Speakers: George Monbiot (video link); George Marshall; Jess Moore; David Holmgren & Nicole Foss. 6.30pm. $25. The Deakin Edge, Federation Square, City.
Concert: Apology day celebration. In celebration of the anniversary of the apology to Australia's Stolen Generations. Featuring: Christine Anu, Archie Roach, Frank Yamma, Jimblah, Thelma Plum, Kurcha Edwards, Tim Rogers, Clare Bowditch, Horror Show and Blue King Brown. Singer/songwriter Eddie Perfect and actress Miranda Tapsell will take on hosting duties. Entry free. Sidney Myer Music Bowl. More information is available from Healing Foundation.
Saturday, February 14
Global Divestment Day rally: Break up with fossil fuels. 11am. Star Lawns, Alexandra Gardens, behind the boat-shedsFacebook event
Forum: UK climate change communications specialist, George Marshall. Given everything we know about climate change why do many still ignore it? Climate communications specialist George Marshall helps us understand the psychological and social mechanisms behind our failure to engage with the urgency and seriousness of the issue. 2pm. RMIT, Building 80, Lecture theatre, Swanston St, City. Entry free but register here. Presented by Psychologists for a Safe Climate & Sustainable Living Festival.
Sunday, February 15
Anatolian Peace & Friendship Festival. Special guest performer: Ilkay Akkaya. Live bands; dances, food, art & craft stalls. 11am-7pm. Coburg Lake Reserve.
Tuesday, February 17
Rally: Commemorate one year since Reza Berati was murdered in Australian detention on Manus Island. One year ago, PNG mobile squad, detention staff and locals launched an attack on the refugees held in the Manus Island detention centre, and killed Reza Barati. The attack left others with slit throats, lost eyes, and countless injuries and trauma. To date, no one has yet been convicted for his murder. Reza Barati was the first victim of Australia's offshore detention hell. Speakers: Reza Yarahmadi (Iranian refugee); Arnold Zable (writer and human rights activist). 5:30pm. State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City. Organised by Refugee Action Collective.
Thursday, February 19
Public meeting: The Greek elections, Syriza and the fight against austerity in Europe. Speakers: Dick Nichols (Green Left Weekly European correspondent, covered Greek elections); Afrodity Giannakis (resident in Greece, active in social movements and Syriza until mid-2014). 6:30pm (meal from 6pm).Multicultural Hub (Old Drill Hall), 506 Elizabeth St (opposite Victoria Markets). $10/$5. Presented by Socialist Alliance & Green Left Weekly. For more info ph 9639 8622. Facebook event
Monday, February 23
Public meeting: The plight of Tamil refugees. Come find out more about the plight of Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka, at a special Refugee Action Collective forum. 6:30pm. Australian Nurses Federation, 540 Elizabeth St, City (just north of Victoria St).
Tuesday, February 24
Public meeting: Just transitions: Moving Australia beyond fossil fuels. Keynote speaker: Bob Massie (US economist). Entry free; register hereNew Council Chambers, Trades Hall, cnr Victoria & Lygon Sts, Carlton South. 6pm. Presented by Facebook event
Wednesday, February 25
Public meeting: Roundup: miracle weedkiller or cause of disease? Guest speaker: Don Huber (Professor Emeritus in Plant Pathology at Purdue University, Indiana, USA). He is an award-winning, world-renowned scientist. He opposes the use of Roundup weedkiller and genetically manipulated (GM) crops and foods, after seeing the negative impacts of farm chemicals on the control of soil plant pathogens. 7pm. Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier St, Fitzroy. Tickets: book your seat online Roundup or $10 at the door. Presented by MADGE, GM-Free Australia Alliance & Friends of the Earth. 
Saturday, February 28
Film premiere: Chile's Student Uprising. Director Pablo Navarrete will talk after the screening. 6:30pm. $8/$5. RMIT, Building 80, Level 9, Room 12, 445 Swanston St, City. Presented by LASNET. Facebook event
Wednesday, March 4
ACTU day of action: Fight for our rights10am, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South.
Sunday, March 8
Rally & march: International Women's Day. 1pm. State Library, Swanston St, City.
Saturday, March 14
Feminism & socialism discussion afternoon. 1:30pm (lunch from 1pm). Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Presented by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622.
Wednesday, March 25
Protest: Student national day of action. We proved last year that protesting works when the Senate rejected Pyne's 'reforms'. But Pyne hasn't gotten the message yet. Let's redeliver it on March 25. 2pm.State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, City.
Saturday, March 28
Rally: Stop terrorism in Australia by bringing Aussie troops home from Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan. 1pm. Federation Square. City. Facebook event 
Sunday, March 29
Palm Sunday rally: Walk for justice for refugees. 1:30pm (speeches start 2pm). State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, City. We will then proceed down to Queen Victoria Gardens (opposite the NGV on St Kilda Road).
Thursday, February 19
Love makes a way Bendigo court case.   On October 21 nine Christian leaders were arrested at the Bendigo office of Senator Bridget McKenzie after a peaceful prayer vigil. They were speaking out against the detention of refugee children. They will be facing court on February 19. If you would like to stand in solidarity with the group, please join us for prayer at 8:30am on the lawn of the Military Museum. From there we will head to Bendigo Magistrates Court at 9:30am. You are also welcome to join us in court to witness the hearing. After the group's case is heard we'll head back to the Military Museum for speeches. 8:30am. Bendigo Military Museum, 37–39 Pall Mall, Bendigo.
Friday, February 20
Red Cinema: Ningla A-Na (Hungry for Our Land). The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. Proudly screening on Wathaurong country. 7pm (meal 6:30pm). Entry by donation. Downstairs, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St, Geelong. For more info ph 5222 6900. Presented by Socialist Alliance.
Australia Kurdistan Solidarity. Meets regularly to build solidarity with the Kurdish freedom struggle in Rojava (liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and elsewhere. For information ph Gulay 0412 926 706 or Aran 0410 197 814.
Australian West Papua Association (AWPA). Struggles against the Indonesian occupation of West Papua and against environmental destruction and resource theft. For info 9510 2193 or email AWPA.
Climate Action Moreland. Meets regularly to develop action on climate change in the Moreland area. For information ph Andrea on 0424 508 535 or email CAM.
Friends of the Earth's Anti-Nuclear & Clean Energy (ACE) collective. Meets every second Tuesday. FoE office, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For meeting times & more info email Zin.
Indigenous Social Justice Association. The Indigenous Social Justice Association was established in January 2005 campaigns to permanently stop Aboriginal deaths in custody. During 2013, ISJA will meet the first Thursday of every month. For more info visit ISJA.
Quit Coal: No New Coal Power for Victoria. A Melbourne-based collective which campaigns against expansion of the coal industry in Victoria. We believe this is important because building new coal infrastructure locks in decades of dirty, old technology, when we should be moving towards clean, renewable energy. Quit Coal meets each Wednesday at 6pm, at FOE, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For more info visit Quit Coal or email us.
Refugee Action Collective. Established in 2000, RAC is a democratic, grassroots activist collective, representing a broad cross section of the community. It aims to mobilise opposition to Australia's inhuman refugee policies. For more info ph 0413 377 978 or visit RAC.
Timor Sea Justice Campaign. For info visit TSJC, email Tom Clarke or ph 0422 545 763.
Recent articles from Green Left Weekly
To subscribe to Green Left Weekly visit our secure online website for rates and payment or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206. Join us on Facebook. You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4.30pm, Fri 10am-4.30pm); ph 5222 6900.
Links: 'Socialism for the 21st century'
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is a journal for the post-Cold War left; a journal that rejects the Stalinist distortion of the socialist project; a journal that takes into account ecological questions; a journal that is taking steps to bring together the forces for socialism in the world today; a journal that aspires to unite Marxists from different political traditions because it discusses openly and constructively. Links seeks to promote the international exchange of information, experiences of struggle, theoretical analysis and views on strategies and tactics within the international left.
Socialist Alliance: Broad, non-sectarian, activist
Socialist Alliance is a proud supporter of the Green Left Weekly project and contributes a regular column. Socialist Alliance is a broad, non-sectarian socialist party, dedicated to bringing together all those who want to resist the capitalist assault on our planet and its people and fight for a socialist society that puts people's needs before business profits. Anyone who agrees with the general approach of our policies is welcome to join and organisations are invited to affiliate. For more information visit Socialist Alliance or join us on Facebook.
See our recent statements:
Contact Socialist Alliance. Join with other socialists in the struggle.
Melbourne: Visit us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Melbourne, Socialist Alliance meets on the first Tuesday of each month, 6:30pm, at the Resistance Centre.
Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4:30pm, Fri 10am-4:30pm); ph 5222 6900.
Moreland Socialists
Moreland Socialists is open to anyone (even if you live outside the area) who wants to work constructively to support Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton and use her position to build up a stronger activist left presence in Moreland. In general, we meet monthly and alternate between Coburg and Fawkner.
Resistance Bookshop

Just out!

184 pp, $20. Available from Resistance Bookshop, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City & New International Bookshop, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

#Keephopealive by attending Amnesty International's vigil to-night in #Ballarat - the information is below

The information below is cross-posted with permission from Advocacy @ St Paul's

Dear Networkers,
Apologies for the short notice of to-nights's event.
Have only received notification this morning.
Details are in the re-published email below.
Please do your best to support this event.
Remember the mercy you give is the mercy you get! 

 The Ballarat group is part of the worldwide Amnesty International movement that opposes the death penalty in any circumstance, for any person.  Residents are invited to the

Spiritual Centre, 
Ballarat Base Hospital
Sunday 8th.February 
(entry from Sturt Street) 

to light the flame of justice, and send a public message that Australians oppose state-sanctioned executions.

The event is a response to comments by Indonesian President Joko Widodo that he would not grant clemency to at least 64 individuals who have been sentenced to death for drug-related crimes and that there were plans to execute all of them.

These include Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in the next batch of 11 whose claims for clemency have been rejected.

Amnesty International is asking Australians 
to use the hashtag #KeepHopeAlive
 and sign
Amnesty International’s petition
calling for the executions to be stopped. 

The death penalty has been proven not to work in deterring crime. It is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and it has no place in today’s justice system.

Amnesty International has been campaigning against the death penalty for the last 30 years, and most countries in the world have recognised the justice in this stance. When Amnesty International first pledged to abolish executions in the ‘70s, only a handful of countries had stopped killing people as a form of punishment; now 140 countries have abolished the practice.

Vigil for Hope ("Stop the Executions") 
Sunday 8th. February 
 Spiritual Centre, Ballarat Base Hospital. 
 Media Contact: Max White 5331 2502

Monday, December 22, 2014

The future based on Tony Abbott's cabinet reshuffle? It's not going to be pretty or nice.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christian Civil Disobedience in Geelong comes to court to-day

Advocacy @ St Paul's

Picture taken from The Age - originally from Facebook

Sunday, December 7, 2014

When the water is about to run out.....

....this isn't a story about Sao Paulo; it's a report that dares to point out that human societies are incredibly shortsighted and nearly incapable of sustainably populating planet Earth. In numerous regions around the world -- including California, India, Oklahoma, Brazil, China and many more -- human populations are rapidly out-growing the capacity of their local water systems. Even though keeping populations alive requires food... and growing food requires water... almost no nation or government in the world seems to be able to limit water consumption of local populations to levels which are sustainable in the long term. Learn more:

... and more

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Water scarcity, water wars, and the ecology of peace

The article below is cross-posted from Advocacy @ St Paul's
Published on Monday, November 10, 2014

Peace Ecology: Deep Solutions in an Age of Water Scarcity and War

A key concept of what we term "peace ecology" is grounded in the notion that conflicts and crises driven by scarcity of natural resources—such as water—can also be opportunities for us to reimagine what is possible and ultimately foster mutually beneficial solutions and longer-term sustainability. (Photo: Louis Vest/flickr/cc)
The following is an excerpt of the Randall Amster's latest book, Peace Ecology, and appears on Common Dreams with the kind permission of the author and publisher. All rights reserved. Please note, book citations have been removed for online reading but a fully cited version (pdf) can be accessed here.

Mark Twain once purportedly said that “whiskey’s for drinking—water’s for fighting.” While the evidence for attributing this to Twain is shaky at best, the quote is nonetheless frequently invoked as a foregone conclusion: people will fight over water because it is scarce, essential, and invaluable for the growth and development of human societies. In reality, “water wars” are exceedingly rare, with the overwhelming majority of the world’s 263 shared river basins being subject to treaties, agreements, and other mechanisms for allocating their flow. Still, there is a deeper concern reflected in Twain’s apocryphal quote, namely that while water wars between nations may be rare, modern water utilization on the whole often reflects a collective war that humankind is waging on the environment. All too often, what are coded as “shared waters” and “peaceful resolutions” to human-human conflicts still involve deep incursions against the natural flow of surface waters, including channelizing rivers to fix national boundaries, altering the saline and sediment levels, and damming rivers for hydroelectric plants. Such outcomes are part of a larger orientation that comes to equate peace with control—especially control of nature.

"We must recognize water as boundless... as life."
As human cultures expand, water is emerging as the central resource in local and global politics alike. Pressures to privatize and commodify water are continually being brought to bear, often under the guise of development schemes that are portrayed as linking growth with security. To ensure that water flows even in places where it is highly problematic—from Abu Dhabi to Phoenix—massive delivery infrastructures are contemplated, including energy-intensive desalination plants and circuitous concrete canals transporting water hundreds of miles across deserts. Science fiction scenarios abound, as plans are conceived to capture clouds, drag icebergs, and create mountains and lakes for delivering water supplies to thirsty nations. One of the first high-tech regional water projects, which would serve as a template for similar projects worldwide, was the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) developed in the 1930s, comprised of a series of elaborate dams and hydropower generating stations. When World War II broke out, the project was reoriented toward wartime production, doubling its power generation and producing a majority of the phosphorous used by the U.S. military for bullets, bombs, and chemical weapons, as well as aluminum for aircraft. The “most significant contribution to the war” was created at a TVA-powered laboratory: the fissionable uranium-235 that was used to fuel the Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first nuclear weapon.

The TVA example is stark for its specific militarism, yet it reveals something deeper about how we tend to view water. Oftentimes the choice for transnational actors appears to be one of engaging in either water wars or joint development projects—in essence, either militarism or capitalism; a World War and/or the World Bank. If we are inclined to associate the latter with peace, then it obviously becomes preferable to the alternative, and yet deeper questions about the meaning of water remain unresolved. Water is inherently fluid, unpredictable, prone to extremes of either floods or droughts, both transient and in situ, primeval in its simplicity and purity. Water reshapes images beneath its surface and accurately reflects those above it; it is "an active agent, changing all it touches … creating new courses and possibilities yet to be appreciated by humans." As we co-evolve with all of the essential resources in our midst, we must also apprehend "the limitations of instrumental rationality in capturing the meanings of water and shortcomings of modern science in improving our understanding of its treatment in society."

Increasingly, we come to recognize that no peace between nations is possible without reconciling underlying water issues. It has been surmised that the failure to attain peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arabic neighbors has been due in part to the concomitant failure to achieve a mutually cognizable agreement over the Jordan River and underground aquifers in the region, yielding a climate of "mistrust, fears of dependency, and perceived threats to national sovereignty." In the case of India and Pakistan, where border clashes and warlike tensions have persisted for decades, a treaty governing the Indus River basin was signed in 1960, following a World Bank proposal to divide the waters between the two countries. While the agreement may have helped forestall violent interstate conflict, it also led to "an all-out effort to build a monumental array of dams and canals"—leading one of the Pakistani (formerly Indian) engineers on the project to observe: “This was like a war. These were huge works…. Everybody was after us. They said we had sold the rivers, that we were traitors to our country”.

What we learn from these examples is that water is more than a mere resource, and that both fighting over it and dividing its spoils are equally problematic resolutions to looming global water issues. As we have seen throughout this volume, both the hardware and software of conflict must be addressed, requiring a simultaneous emphasis on peacemaking at both the human-human and human-environment interfaces. As Vandana Shiva documents, efforts to privatize water and dam rivers often result in the displacement of peoples and the despoliation of the environment—as well as an ensuing “centralization of power over water” that conjures a double meaning for the concept of "hydropower." While it may be the case that "the world is more conscious than ever of the unbreakable nexus between water and life," this realization—coupled with depletion of freshwater sources and a rising contingent of global competitors for resources—has led many to speculate that the wars of the 21st century will be fought primarily over water, not oil or other valuable resources. On the other hand, more promisingly, a spate of literature has emerged in recent years suggesting that water can be a powerful basis for transborder cooperation, collaboration, conservation—and peace.

*          *           *

There are myriad lessons to be gleaned from the field of hydro-politics, which we may take as the "systematic study of conflict and cooperation between states over water resources that transcend international borders." Chief among these lessons are that water highlights our innate interdependence with one another and the environment alike, and likewise that water directly connects the economic and ecological spheres of human life. As with other environmental components, "water bodies respect no political borders," thus engendering a wider perspective that is particularly useful in light of global scarcity and the essential nature of the resource. While studies of water in relation to violent conflict have reached varied conclusions…, there is an emerging consensus that scarcity in the context of renewability coupled with the “critical need" for water can provide the impetus for cooperation—yielding "peaceful and successful conflict management schemes" even among "states with recent militarized conflicts."

If we take to heart the premise that scarcity and essentiality can promote cooperation, then the prospects for water to spur transborder peace initiatives are indeed promising. Nearly half of the earth’s land mass abuts river basins shared by more than one nation, and more than three-quarters of the available fresh water flows through an international river basin—reminding us in stark geographical terms that "a river is without a nationality." It is becoming increasingly clear that lasting peace is possible, from the Middle East to the American Southwest, "only if water is taken into account." Highlighting these themes, the United Nations declared 2013 as the "International Year of Water Cooperation" and the years from 2005-2015 as the "Water for Life Decade"—optimistically citing the operative notion that "history has often shown that the vital nature of freshwater is a powerful incentive for cooperation and dialogue, compelling stakeholders to reconcile even the most divergent views. Water more often unites than divides people and societies." In order to reach this ambitious horizon, we must strive to "build bridges between various meanings and understandings" and to enhance "the legitimacy of noninstrumental uses of water." In short, we must recognize water as boundless—as life.

If we are thus seeking the robust peace contemplated by the peace ecology perspective, then we will need to do more than sign treaties that allocate every drop of water among competing users. Control and peace are often dichotomous, at least in the context of transnational security issues and a complex geopolitical landscape where looming resource wars and ongoing processes of economic colonization continue to dominate the discourse. Physical borders between nations are increasingly militarized in the post-9/11 era, even as the barriers to so-called "free trade" and footloose capital are simultaneously relaxed. This has the effect of diminishing the potential for genuine exchange among peoples and communities on opposite sides of national borders, interrupting the natural processes of ecosystems that do not abide the largely artificial lines on maps. It also serves to exacerbate tensions among nations, leading to the creation of permanent war economies whose explicit "national security" focus is the procurement and control of dwindling resources—down to even the essentials of food, water, and energy. The zero-sum logic of scarcity and competition is palpable, and has become a central norm of international relations, even as its workings are becoming little more than a self-fulfilling downward spiral in which vast resources are expended in the attempt to secure more of them.

[A]ny exploration of processes confronting these eventualities is potentially revolutionary in its full dimensions. The set of interrelated themes brought together under the rubric of peace ecology remain grounded in the notion that the crises of scarcity and conflict are also opportunities for mutually beneficial engagement born of necessity yet aimed at longer-term sustainability. The cultivation of a sense of shared destiny and mutual necessity can bring even ardent transnational adversaries to the negotiating table, since, as Alexander Carius reminds us, "environmental problems ignore political borders." This emerging holistic perspective suggests that peoples and nations have the potential to find ways of managing ecological concerns that not only work to avoid conflicts but that can also serve to promote peaceful relations among human communities and with the environment itself.
Randall Amster, JD, PhD, is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, and serves as Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. His recent books include Peace Ecology (Paradigm Publishers, 2014), Anarchism Today(Praeger, 2012), Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness; and the co-edited volumes  Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013) and Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action.