The True Cost of War

War is terrible. I am heartbroken at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And also, of course, for the victims of war and violence in many other countries, including Syria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Yemen, and Myanmar. Wars kill and injure people. It also kills animals, wreaks havoc on nature, and destroys agriculture, trees, bridges, roads, and food and water sources. 

War is so horrific for many reasons, but one other reason that many don’t consider is that war causes us to be distracted from doing all the things we need to be doing to avert the global climate crisis and take care of the poor. How can we work on lowering our collective carbon footprints and feeding the hungry when bombs are exploding, buildings are being destroyed, and people are running for their lives? Furthermore, when ruthless dictators like Putin are terrorizing the world (funded, incidentally, by Russia’s extraction and burning of fossil fuels), many countries will react by spending more money on defense and the tools of war. Germany has already decided to boost its defense spending and soon other countries will siphon off money from their national budgets that should instead be spent on climate action and social justice.

Last week on Twitter, Pope Francis said:

I invite everyone to make this coming 2nd March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace: let believers dedicate themselves intensively to prayer and fasting. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.

If you are reading this article and perhaps missed the Pope’s call to fast for Peace, it’s not too late. I suggest you pick another day, perhaps tomorrow, to make your anti-war fast. Let us pray for and work for peace around the world, stand with the people of Ukraine, and hope the war there ends quickly. 

Lastly, if you are looking for something special to do this Lent and improve your understanding of the Laudato Si Action Platform, please consider signing up for Laudato Si Lent at the Ignatian Solidarity Network. 

Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 
Paul Litwin

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