As Vandana Shiva has said, "if we get rid of the pollution in the human mind they will get rid of the pollution of the environment." That "pollution" is the idea that we are separate, material beings locked in competition for scarce and ever scarcer resources. This quest for resources in fact constitutes a feedback loop in which the pursuit of material goods at all costs merely renders those materials more elusive, thus requiring even more relentless pursuit.
Gandhi once wrote that "we are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of non-violence."
It is precisely to make these discoveries and apply them to apparently diverse fields like human rights, militarism, poverty, and the environment that we take as our work. The eternal human desire for peace can only succeed if it strives to attain this transcendent telos both "on earth" and "with earth" as inherently interconnected aims. Today we are faced with paradigmatic crises including perpetual warfare and runaway climate change, yet in this crucial moment may we likewise rise to meet the unique challenge of understanding these as related phenomena whose mutual resolution promises an opportunity to truly usher in an era of peace and prosperity.
From the article "War and Planet Earth: Toward a Sustainable Peace" by Randall Amster and Michael Nagler for Waging Nonviolence. Randall Amster teaches Peace Studies at Prescott College, and is the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. Michael Nagler is the co-chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Association.