Listen to other voices

Standing with Veterans for Peace and other activists at the gates of Bath Iron Works on Saturday, to protest another $7 billion warship with nuclear capability being "christened," I felt both a sense of solidarity with everyone worldwide standing up for climate justice, and sad. The skilled workers at BIW would undoubtedly be happier and prouder building ships to remove the acres of plastic from our poisoned seas, or converting to building sustainable energy systems that would help stem further climate disruption. Their children would be happier, too.

But the voices of the corporate weapons dealers like General Dynamics (the owner of BIW) are the voices our representatives hear. Voices that profit from endless war, while working people build the ships, and serve in the forces. That "endless war" strategy is now risking the very life of our planet and all her species, and the future of our children.

The Pentagon has the biggest carbon footprint on the planet. Our "defense" budget is bigger than the next seven biggest-spending countries, the U.S. already outmatches the next 20 largest navies in firepower. General Dynamics pays its CEO $21 million a year. And here in Maine, 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry. We don't have enough money for our education system. And climate change is now climate crisis.

It is time to listen to other voices. Indigenous people around the world have been leading the way, warning us our lifestyle must change, if any creature, including humans, is to survive. Young people are speaking and walking out, like the 400 Maine kids who gathered outside the State House last week demanding action on a Green New Deal for Maine, action they understand is essential for them to have a future.

Climate crisis demands conversion at BIW, and an end to supporting the profits of weapons dealers like General Dynamics. Let the workers build for life, not for death. Please call, write, email our representatives to redirect funds from building warships at BIW to building sustainable energy systems and our infrastructure. The real threat to all of us is climate change. Maine and BIW could be leaders in providing solutions.

Meredith Bruskin