Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Peace versus War

Most people would agree that peaceful resolution to conflict is better than war. The problem with peace, is that there is so much less drama and less obvious heroism. For a people addicted to drama, easy video bites, and the obvious in-your-face aspects of war, peace is not seen as a viable solution to problem-solving. War is about power-over, emotional reactivity, and control. It's about bullying and profit-making. War uses the lazy, childish intellectual habit of solving problems that are black-and-white, right and wrong, friend versus enemy. Peaceful conflict transformation is all about the grey areas, the more intellectually adult way of thoughtful processing of information, with less reliance on reactive emotions. It is about sharing power to solve problems peacefully, which doesn't invite quick video coverage, or obvious life-and-death heroism. It is much more subtle and longer-lasting. It requires patience, an intellect that recognizes greys, and a deep, abiding respect for people that requires you talk and work with them, even though you don't like what they have done. It is about teaching each other how to get along and find ways to bridge gaps in culture, belief systems and knowledge. Peace is the only way to truly and lastingly solve problems. The other choice is to remain mired in tribal warfare among peoples and nations, with a select few profiting hugely, while billions of others pay for it financially, and millions suffer and die. War is not inevitable. War is a choice. Peace is a better choice.

The following is an excellent article about taking a path to peace as a way of reducing terrorism.

I Am Part of Elsa's Legacy

I am part of Elsa's legacy. For those who don't know why I feel so strongly about the environment and all living beings, this PBS video (link below) will show you one of the major reasons why I do. The movie "Born Free," Joy Adamson's books, Jacques Cousteau's work and shows (whom I once had the privilege of meeting while working at NASA/GISS, along with his son Jean-Michel), National Geographic Magazine and its television specials, and the television series "Wild Kingdom" all helped make me who I am today. Those who say or believe that television doesn't impact children/people in a huge way are ridiculous and naive.*

I grew up loving and respecting people and animals, in part, because of these influences. My dream to learn to SCUBA dive and explore the underwater world came from Jacques Cousteau. I took to heart National Geographic's advice..."Explore Your World." It has taken me to 4 continents, while the pursuit of learning has taken me through post-graduate studies. When I was an 8-year-old child, my very specific dream of growing up to be a photojournalist for National Geographic
driving a Land Rover in Kenya and Tanzania came directly from the works of the Adamson's and National Geographic. I have only fulfilled small pieces and versions of that dream - I am an avid photographer and writer, and am a National Geographic Teacher Consultant. I would still love to work for National Geographic, someday.
As for the wild lions I grew up treasuring - there are now only approximately 2,000 left in the wild in Kenya. They are becoming endangered as human population growth expands into the wild places and negatively impacts wildlife. There must be a better solution to expansion that doesn't include the complete destruction of habitats and the killing of other living beings to the point of endangerment or extinction. When they are gone, so will we be. So, we must control our growth, where we live, the energy sources we use, and stop putting so much pressure on the wild. We need to maintain and expand wildlife corridors, and help other living beings adapt to the multiple impacts of global warming.

*This impact is why I turned off my television almost 3 years ago...there are so many awful things on it these days. I choose to control what impacts my brain, and gather my knowledge and enjoyment thoughtfully and with purpose, rather than be constantly bombarded with the violence, disrespect, disregard, and lack of kindness shown to people and other living beings on most programs, as well as the incessant advertising that is like being attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.