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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


A violent culture is not the only one conceivable
Is our way of life invisibly violent?

Violence is this cultureís way. We have to face that, despite the cultureís humane aspects. We share a culture with the U.S.ís foes and their ways, even if armed-suicide is not our style. They have challenged every President since Reagan.

A jet crashing into a building on purpose loaded with petroleum is out of the ordinary and horrible, but we need to identify and reject the dominant cultureís and governmentsí institutionalized violence.

Since Reaganís inauguration, almost two million U.S. citizens were needlessly killed by the car-oriented transportation system in crashes and from toxic exhaust. Is this terrorist government-policy? Road builders, car companies, airline/military corporations, and oil companies usually get their way in our "democratic government," although AMTRAK has lost less than a hundred people in accidents in its whole three-decade history.

We are in a trance as we deny daily death on the highway. In both cases of hijacked jet or tumbling motor car, innocent people are killed. Drivers of the U.S. and everywhere else speed by a bloody crushed animal without knowing what kind it was. One million animals per day are slaughtered on U.S. roads. Do we really abhor violence? Most people in this country deny our violence in most forms, whether in cancers assisted by industryís lobbying muscle, capital punishment, or in our governmentís export of violence from its School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Petroleum-derived food cutoff = holocaust

Future violence against us all is being sowed on an unprecedented scale: When petroleum runs out, in our lifetimes, the food production/supply system will collapse, especially in the U.S.

The violence to come, as people eat even each other due to starvation, is avoidable to the extent we can quickly wean ourselves off petroleum-oriented agriculture and long-distance food shipping dependency. Local food is the only sustainable answer. Too bad the governments and multinational corporations donít agree or care.

As long as people use or justify violence, more violence is inevitable. The hijacked jetsí destruction wreaked upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 is part of a cycle the U.S. generates, not only in its foreign policy but in domestic cultural behavior.

The U.S. suffered its biggest attack ever on its financial establishment and government. The enemy would say civilians killed were "collateral damage," as we refer to over 1.5 million civilians killed by U.S. and allied bombs and sanctions in Iraq in the past eleven years. The Sept. 11 attack guaranteed an uncreative response led by our monumental military establishment, and there is more to come because of the myopic view that so many U.S. citizens have over state-sponsored violence. Political violence is this cultureís trap, but some of us are trying to help us out of it.

Cultural bias of the blind

"We are the good guys." But who are we? Are we still a nation, or do multinational corporations run the industrialized world? The nation state may be obsolete, but politically the U.S. government has enemies abroad as nations. Within a nation, other nations are commonly referred to as dictatorial, violent, or corrupt. Within every nation, however, the same standard of critical observation is never employed about itself. This is accomplished through overt censorship or a slick Madison Avenue-style avoidance of issues that thwarts any admission of ongoing fault or failure.

U.S. citizens, who call themselves Americans despite over a dozen other nationsí usage of the same name, have little idea of how their nation is perceived by the rest of the world. Many educated Americans of the U.S. do know the foreign policy history of their country, but the truth is suppressed or glossed over:

The USA is the worldís top arms trafficker. U.S. military spending dwarfs the next biggest countriesí expenditures combined. As world travelers know, this is the most dangerous country to walk around in public, and gun ownership is the highest in the world. Most nations now hate our government for an additional reason, that of flaunting global climate standards as we emit the most greenhouse gasesóa form of violence pushed on the world.

Record of atrocity

Since the Vietnam War, most nationsí peoples have hated the U.S. government and sometimes even innocent U.S. citizens. Most of these nations have also noted bias toward Israel in its conflict with its native Palestinians and with Arab neighbors.

The U.S. is almost universally seen as supremely violent, starting with atomic bombs used on civilian targets in Japan. Our genocide began centuries ago, against native Americansóour cultureís inherent rip-off foundation. (Property was originally theft.) It was never adequately addressed.

Perhaps five million Indochinese died as a result of U.S. policies between the early 1960s and mid í70s. Days after the Sept. 11th attacks the internet was circulating estimates of U.S.-caused fatalities in Nicaragua in the 1980s: between 13,000 and 30,000.

Despite global perception of the U.S. as the most violent nation in the world, the mainstream U.S. media and our government make no reference to the idea of violence begetting the kind of violence we have just suffered Sept. 11th. Nor have the mainstream mediaís reactions to the attack included questioning violence as a response.

The hijackers of the four aircraft hitting New York, Alexandria, VA and Pennsylvania could well have been relatives or friends of people killed by U.S. made weapons or puppet regimes. Violent governments all over the world are backed by the U.S., and they kill their own people or neighboring peoples. People become desperate, but religious fervor, whether for Islam or holy Dollar, makes people do risky and insane things. Mahatma Gandhi would say of the Sept. 11th attack that it was an example of violence that should have been avoided and should not be mimicked by the injured nation.

Rats in a cage?

Gandhiís nonviolence may be a lot to ask for now, in an environment of human overpopulation globally and in the U.S. If violence is caused by overcrowding, as any scientist in the relevant fields knows, then why do we augment our numbers endlessly? The reproductive act feels good, but thatís only part of the mystery: corporate and religious interests promote more people whether in birth rate or Congressional quotas for cheap-wage workers flooding the U.S.

A culture that assures its own sustainability and that of other nations and of the natural environment must renounce violence and aggression as any kind of policy for foreign relations or administration of justice. But the sources of violence must also be addressed, such as petroleum addiction. When someone is attacked, defense is justified, by any means necessary, but the line between that and imperialism (or other form of oppression or violence) is not to be crossed if we are to have a future in common.

The attacked World Trade Centerís twin towers were called "Great monuments to American capitalism and our way of life" by the Talk America (radio show) president, Mr. Lyle, on Sept. 11. Maybe he speaks for most mainstream U.S. citizens, but not people globally. Peace and justice activists in the U.S. probably find his attitude revealing and intolerantónot consistent with cultural change toward sustainability. And, as we have seen, skyscrapers are not necessarily sustainable. Violence is not sustainable either, but it may be sustained until humanity destroys itself and the biosphere. This concern has prompted creation of Culture Change magazine.

Consumers at the top of the worldís pyramid of humanity need to get with a program of sharing, as individuals, neighbors, as a nation, and as one of Earthís countless species. It canít be put off, as we are already seeing the dire consequences as angry people strike back at aggressive symbols of our materialist culture that may have blindly offended their values. And then countless innocents pay.

The call today must be for peace and freedom. Spread the word.


Articles of interest:
Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit torganization.