This Teach-In focused on war, militarism, and climate change.

Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, joined host Jane Fonda, Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen, and About Face: Veterans Against the War member Krystal Two Bulls, to discuss the interconnectedness of climate change and militarism.


As global temperatures rise, there will be more ecological disasters, more mass migrations and more wars. There will also be more domestic armed clashes—including civil wars—that can spill beyond borders and destabilize entire regions.

The areas most at risk are sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South, Central and Southeast Asia. And the exorbitant spending on maintaining our bloated military – often used to protect big oil’s interests and keep oil supplies in the hands of US-friendly regimes – locks up those dollars which could be used to advance climate solutions and promote peace.

We are now spending over half of the federal government’s annual discretionary budget on the military when the biggest threat to US national security is not Iran or China, but the climate crisis. We could cut the Pentagon’s current budget in half and still be left with a bigger military budget than China, Russia, Iran and North Korea combined.

The $350 billion savings could then be funneled into the Green New Deal and ensuring a Just Transition for fossil fuel workers and communities. Just one percent of the 2019 military budget of $716 billion would be enough to fund 128,879 green infrastructure jobs instead, and it would take just 11 percent — or $80 billion — to produce enough wind and solar energy to power every household in the United States.

To free up billions of Pentagon dollars for investing in critical environmental projects and to eliminate the environmental havoc of war, climate and peace movements must work together to create a world with real security and resilience for all.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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