Winning The Peace

winning the peace

Two thousand years ago a great spiritual teacher declared: “…it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.”  So let’s look at what we can all learn about how to be warriors for peace from some of our planet’s youngest activists.

The first step toward achieving Peace with Justice is to step out of the shadows and speak truth to power.   As Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai learned, such bravery may cost us dearly.  But we must come to realize, as did she, that the cost of silence, with its seeming safety, is even greater.

Malala Yousafzai Nobel Peace Prize Speech (26:44)

Reluctance to face the reality of injustice, and refusal to confront those who perpetrate it, can burden us with immobilizing shame.  But frankly, we are all prone – programmed actually – to shy away from acting on, or even attending to even our own perilous condition, as well as the oppression of others!  Sadly, we are vulnerable to bouts of “ME” Disorder” as well as to Political Apathy Disorder“. So we truly do need each other to help us all stay focused on the “Big Picturewhile we commit ourselves to applying principles of spiritual activism to the practical political tasks at hand.

Some examples of what one person can accomplish

Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist  David Brower.  Every year Earth Island Institute hosts the Brower Youth Awards.  Here are the stories of three remarkable young award winners honored for their service:

Varsha Vijay 22 of Coralville, IA

Varsha VijayIn an effort to help combat oil extraction and deforestation in the Amazon, Varsha started Fortificando el Intercambio (Strengthening the Exchange) to share academic findings about the rainforest with the Waorani tribe in Ecuador. By improving the Waorani tribe’s access to the latest science about Amazonian ecosystems and equipping them with GPS and other mapping technologies, Varsha is helping the tribe and local NGOs to better watchdog the oil and logging industry. Varsha’s work with the Waorani is assisting in  preserving the culture of the tribe and in conserving the plants and animals of this biodiversity hotspot.

Marcus Grignon 21 Keshena, WI

marcus grignonMarcus created a program called “Greening the Schools: Honoring Our Traditions”  in order to boost ecological consciousness in his Native American nation. The program — which is part of Marcus’ larger non-profit, Citizens for a Sustainable Future — is boosting environmental education on the Menominee Reservation and also gives students a chance to graduate from high school with a certificate in environmental stewardship. Additionally, Marcus is working on converting Menominee Tribal buses and vans to fuel cell power and on educating eighth graders about renewable energy and social entrepreneurship.

Freya Chay 15 Kenai, AK

freya chayIn September 2009, Freya learned that the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly had passed a resolution supporting the idea of exempting renewable energy systems from real property tax assessments. But before homeowners could take advantage of such a program a change in the Alaska state tax code was needed. So Freya created and helped to pass legislation, an amendment to Senate Bill 220, to reform state energy policy. Under SB 220, any municipality in Alaska now has the option to exempt residential renewable energy systems from property taxes. Freya’s efforts helped create new incentives for homeowners to install clean energy systems.

These young people demonstrated for all of us that acting for peace and justice individually, yet working as a team, we can facilitate miracles! Young people like Varsha, Marcus and Freya – and countless others  who carry a vision of love and service for our planet – see the “Big Picture”.  They are opening hearts and transforming our world by focusing on healing our planet rather than investing endlessly in the falsely labeled “War on Terror”.

I am confident that you too stand for Peace and Justice.  But before you leave this site to tackle all the tasks and choices to which the pursuit of peace with justice calls you, take a moment to relax by linking here to “the pause that refreshes”.  In that pause, know you are connected with a vast community of allies that grows stronger every day!  Right this minute, all over the world, individuals just like you are working hard to correct mistakes, advocate for justice and set things right.

From time to time we will report on the activities of Peace Workers around the world.  And when you are engaged in a peace and justice project please send Imagine Peace and Plenty your story for publication consideration.  Meanwhile right from our computers we can take action to strengthen our democracy here at home through groups like Wellstone Action, Black Box, and Verified

Additionally, we can educate ourselves about efforts of our allies all over the rest of the world who are working to promote justice and real democracy. For example, check out The World Traveler, to learn about justice and democracy movements worldwide and the consistently undermining, subversive trajectory of American foreign policy intrusions into the course of these movements.

Worried that you – or your kids – are too young for the peaceful warrior’s life?  Then read on to hear a personal story at this link.