What Does Environmentalism have to do with World Peace?

Written by Sam Allen

Bollocks, I say.

But to what you may ask? Here’s the situation: Mister Albert Arnold Gore Jr. and the United Nations won the Nobel Peace Prize. Sounds good enough. But what did they win it for?

Officially, “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.

Now, I will say this: climate change research is nothing to look down upon. The environment and its state is an important issue affecting us today, and it will continue to be an issue so long as we keep driving our America-sized SUVs and leaving our televisions on 24 hours a day.

But I don’t in the least bit think that any of that has to do with world peace. Accordingly, I don’t think that Al Gore and the United Nations should have won a Nobel Peace Prize for climate research and raising awareness of climate change.

As the name implies, the Prize is given to individuals or organizations that are working to resolve an ongoing conflict or promote peace on a larger scale throughout the world. Some past Laureates include Jean Henri Dunant (founder of the Red Cross) and Elie Wiesel (author and Holocaust survivor).

So why are the most recent Laureates any different? Why should I, of all people, be making an argument against a time-honored and century-old award?

Well, for one, the awareness of climate change is certainly not going to stop any other ongoing global crises. I doubt that the overwhelmingly tense political situation in the Middle East will come any closer to a resolution because of the polar ice caps melting.

I doubt the ongoing genocide in Darfur will cease because of New York City reaching the 90’s in mid-October. Environmental activists like Mr. Gore have a hard enough time convincing the average American to give a care about the earth, much less powerful politicians resolved to wipe each other out.

I believe that worldwide war and violence is a bigger issue. The ice caps aren’t at war with each other. The Sunnis and Shiites are. The polar bears have been doing fine for centuries and aren’t trying to kill each other whenever they get the chance, but can the same be said about a thousand different hot spots around the world?

At this point, some of you might be angry. Why sit there at your laptop complaining, you might ask. Why not do something about the violence in the Middle East or donate money to the Save Darfur coalition?

I’m not saying that enough is being done to end these and other crises that are going on right now. I applaud every individual who is working to make this world a better place, including Mr. Gore and the United Nations.

But I don’t agree with a committee and a decision that gives an award reserved for peace to a man and an organization whose efforts will ultimately not have much of an effect on peace.

And that’s my two cents.

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