Our Worst Enemies Aren't Terrorists: Rethinking National Security on a Sinking Planet
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The citizens engaged in relocalization projects have largely given up on federal aid and are going it alone. Still, think how much farther they could go if only a fraction of the $27 billion directed at state and local governments to enhance "emergency preparedness" in the 2009 Department of Homeland Security budget were given in grants to their projects. If we can afford to hand rural Craighead County in Arkansas $600,000 for hazmat suits and other anti-terror paraphernalia to defend cotton and soybean farmers from attack, surely we could provide grants for urban homesteaders in Detroit.
Food security, of course, is just one aspect of a green vision of homegrown (instead of homeland) security. Other obvious elements like energy and water security could also be re-imagined, if only official Washington weren't so stuck in the obvious. No doubt, somewhere out there on the Titanic this planet is becoming, the go-it-aloners, with no Department of Homegrown Security to back them, are already doing so -- and helping prepare us all as best they can for the realization that, right now, there are not enough lifeboats to carry us to safety.
Perhaps it's not so unrealistic to expect that someday, as a homegrown security movement builds and matures, it can capture a share of the federal funds that now go to such dubious measures as closed-circuit TVs and crash-proof barriers at sports stadiums, including $345,000 for Razorback Stadium in Arkansas.
In the meanwhile, let's encourage projects that are building resilience in communities as small as Moab and as large as New York City, while revitalizing local culture with a dose of grassroots engagement. Seed it, and feed it, and it will bloom. Along the way we will learn that when it comes to home, or land, or security, living in an open, inclusive, and robust democracy is not an impediment to defense but a deep advantage. Democracy, if only we nurture it, is the very soil of our resilience.
Chip Ward is a former grassroots organizer/activist who has led several successful campaigns to hold polluters accountable. He described his political adventures in "Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West" and "Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land." Today he works to protect the spectacular redrock wildlands of Utah.