Building Sustainable Peace this Earth Day
This Earth Day, the world is bearing witness to yet another devastating war that is entwined with our global dependency on fossil fuels. Petrochemical-powered wars are destroying communities and accelerating climate change. The future of our societies and our planet demands that we not only work to resolve and prevent conflict in its many socio-political and climate-related dimensions, but that we break our dependence on fossil fuels.
The need to build peace and restore the planet’s health have never been so clearly connected as they are now, in a world facing multiple humanitarian crises and an escalating climate crisis.
Karuna’s work in the intersection of peacebuilding + climate is guided by two key questions:
🔸 How can we support communities facing climate-related stress and conflict?
🔸 How can we support collaboration to reduce dependence on fossil fuels?
These are our active programs on peacebuilding + climate this Spring:
🔸 Protecting Our Communities Initiative:
Supporting people on the front lines of climate-related stress in Nigeria
Communities in rural Nigeria are at the center of land and resource conflicts resulting from global climate change. In the country’s north, over 350,000 hectares of land succumb to desertification each year. At times, clashes around the use of arable land are deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency.
We work in partnership with the Nigeria-based Neem Foundation and three local community-based organizations to co-develop local peacebuilding systems, such as dialogue and Early Warning-Early Response committees. Through these local peacebuilding systems, communities have resolved more than 100 local incidents that could have led to broader conflict—and built alliances between state farmer and herder associations to advocate jointly for land and resource needs.
🔸 Transforming the Conversation on Carbon Pricing:
Building alliances to reduce U.S. carbon emissions
As a nation, the U.S. remains the second-largest producer of greenhouse gases worldwide. Both nationally and globally, the impacts of these emissions are not equal. In the U.S, pollution sources are disproportionately sited in communities of color, causing diseases including cancer, asthma, and severe COVID-19.
However, efforts to address environmental harms at the national level have typically not included leadership from the most impacted communities. This means that efforts to address overall carbon emissions could inadvertently allow deadly racial disparities to continue. In response to this tension between advocacy for carbon pricing mechanisms and environmental justice, we co-lead the Transforming the Conversation on Carbon Pricing (TCCP) project, housed at the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.
Through confidential national dialogues, advocates of carbon pricing and environmental justice activists have been learning from each other—working through a lens of equity and justice. TCCP participants have recently been working together to include environmental justice concerns in national climate change legislation.
Even though the the scale of the world’s problems can be overwhelming, we know that a more peaceful, sustainable world is possible because we witness change happening through our programs and partnerships each day. We hope you will support our work for sustainable peace this Earth Day!