Vote for Peace

February 21, 2010

Click here to register your vote to establish a U.S. Department of Peace, and send your message to Congress here. The bill to establish a Department of Peace is now before the House of Representatives, and, among other things, would provide funding to establish a U.S. Peace Academy which would act as a counterpart to the U.S. Military Academy, teach violence prevention and mediation to America’s school children, and provide complimentary support to our military by engaging in parallel peace-building activities.

The Woodstock Council for World Peace has already sent a letter of support for the Department of Peace to Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who first introduced this bill in July 2001, shortly before the attacks of 9/11. Unfortunately, our country’s reaction to those attacks, and George W. Bush’s mistaken policy of GWOT (Global War on Terror) has allowed this bill to languish. Make your voices heard, and tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and your representatives that you want the United States Department of Peace to become a reality.

We are living in a world that is witnessing the threats of habitat and biodiversity loss, fisheries depletion, global economic stress and world hunger; in such a world, war is unsustainable.

The above views are my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of The Woodstock Council for World Peace.


Council Meeting Postponed

December 13, 2009

Due to the extreme inclement weather, tonight’s Council meeting has been postponed; we expect to be meeting next Sunday at the Community Center instead. We will post the time as soon as we have the details.

Woodstock Council Meeting

December 13, 2009

Tomorrow, December 13, 2009, the Woodstock Council for World Peace is meeting at the Woodstock Community Center, 56 Rock City Road in Woodstock, NY, from 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. All are invited; among the subjects for discussion are website development, fund raising, and projects to be taken on/promoted by the Council. We must choose the work we will do that will best sustain the Council and most effectively promote the cause of peace. Please come; we invite and need your input on these important matters.

Obama speeches

December 12, 2009

On December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama gave this historic speech at West Point. While we disagree with the concept of “just war”; we do live in a troubled world, and we understand that we cannot simply withdraw all troops from Afghanistan; to do so would bring more chaos and death to this troubled region of the world.

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, President Obama made his position clear; while we desire peace and brotherhood with all, we cannot shrink from our responsibilities. The following three paragraphs from this historic speech bring us great sadness, yet the inherent truth in these words cannot be denied:

“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations—acting individually or in concert—will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.

“I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago—”Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak—nothing passive—nothing naïve—in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.

“But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism—it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”

Let these words remind us that we must continue and strengthen our efforts to do all we can to bring peace to this troubled world; we must work harder to bring economic justice, education, housing, clean water, sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy, and medical care to all the people of the world. If each one of us does all that we are capable of towards meeting these goals, we can bring peace to the world.

Waterboarding, “War on Terror” to be retired

August 7, 2009

John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism policy advisor yesterday announced that Washington will no longer use the term “war on terror”, nor harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, saying the time has come to use diplomacy and dialogue. He also stated that the United States would not be defined in terms of what it is against, but rather what it is for.

He further stated that “soft diplomacy”, with a stress on problem-solving and dialogue will be the focus of the Obama administration, and that the U.S. will use economic development and political aid to further our goals.

Vertical Farms for the developing world

August 4, 2009

We wonder if the vertical farming methods devised by Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University can be adapted for use to help alleviate suffering in nations such as Haiti, Nigeria, Sudan, and Pakistan; all these countries, and many others in the developing world, suffer from high rates of deforestation and soil depletion. I believe these methods are adaptable, but I am neither an architect nor a biologist.

Dr. Despommier has claimed that his vertical farming methods can dramatically increase yields (30 times for strawberries, for example), and it seems to me that these technologies might be more beneficially applied in an environment such as Haiti’s, with their depleted soils, than to provide frisée to gourmet diners in Paris and New York. Despite the demographic evidence that suggests the majority of the world’s population will be living in urban centers within the next 50 years, we cannot escape the fact that many of the world’s most impoverished peoples still live in rural areas where environmental damage has been great. It would also seem that investment in these methods would have more bang for the buck than traditional methods of aid.

Perhaps low-rise structures using this technology are more suited to places like Nigeria in its dry season, so that solar energy production can be maximized. Could this be combined with other projects, such as WatAir, for use in desert regions (Sudan)?

It would also seem that introducing these sorts of sustainable projects will be better for humanity as a whole, in the long run, than the continuing mass migrations of people from the undeveloped world to Europe, Canada, and the United States, and the concomitant social unrest those migrations will cause (or indeed are already causing, most notably in Spain, France, and Italy).

We have spoken to Pierre Leroy, director of the Haitian People’s Support Project, and Mr. Leroy has expressed interest in seeing how this technology might be adapted for use on land that the Haitian People’s Support Project already owns.