The Navy’s Blue Angels are major polluters who generate around 800,000 tons of CO2 when they put on an airshow.
Sixty people from ages 94 to 1 turned out to protest yesterday in Brunswick, Maine, lining the streets as hundred of cars bumper to bumper crept by.
Luke Sekera-Flanders of Community Water Justice was our MC and spoke forcefully on the mandatory patriotism he has experienced growing up and attending public schools in Maine.
The recent high school graduate also shared the costs to climate of the U.S.’s vast military empire.
Bruce Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space spoke about the menacing presence of US military aircraft in countries around the world, and shared that Brunswick resident Jean Parker’s sliding glass door shattered on Friday as the Blue Angels did their practice runs prior to the air show.
I spoke on behalf of the Maine Natural Guard urging people to take the pledge to help their neighbors connect the dots between climate crisis and Pentagon greenhouse gas emissions.
Information on this has been controlled because military emissions are usually omitted from national reporting by the US. Urged people to sign on to demands that COP26 in Glasgow this fall include military emissions in the agreement that nations negotiate there.
Meredith Bruskin of Swanville spoke from a public health nurse perspective on the effects of climate crisis on our physical, mental, and spiritual health. And of militarism’s damage to our spiritual well-being.
VFP national Executive Director Garret Reppenhagen who has recently moved to Lincolnville, Maine spoke about enlisting to go to Iraq for economic reasons after his veteran father passed away. He decried the glorification of war via air shows that lure unsuspecting youth into signing away years of their life and possibly experiencing trauma they never recover from.
Tarak Kauff from New York spoke about the Pentagon’s environmental harms and the militarized culture we live in.
The IDEAL Maine Social Aid & Sanctuary Band showed up and energized the crowd with several rousing numbers including a singalong of classic antiwar anthem “Down by the Riverside.”
Flyers on climate & militarism were handed through many car windows by Veteran for Peace members including Doug Rawlings, co-founder of VFP which originated in Maine.
Banners created by the Artists’ Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) of the Union of Maine Visual Artists were highly visible to passing motorists.
My husband Mark Roman was spotted in his Maine Natural Guard t-shirt in downtown Brunswick later in the day by a woman who noted that there was a big protest at the air show today. She shared that her mother had made a sign for the occasion: Polluting Isn’t Patriotic.
Our protest was also included in the local newspaper Times Record’s reporting on the air show by C. Thacher Carter:
The Blue Angel performances also drew a crowd of roughly 60 protestors, who spoke out against the environmental impact of the Blue Angel performance. Protestors stood near the main gate at the corner of Bath Road and Admiral Fitch Avenue late Saturday morning.
Lisa Savage, founding member of Maine Natural Guard and 2020 U.S. Senate Independent Green candidate, was one of the protestors present. The Maine Natural Guard is an organization that examines the Pentagon’s use of fossil fuels and its impact on climate change.
“This protest was to point out that the carbon footprint of an airshow like this, the Blue Angels, is huge and putting a lot, a lot of carbon in the air,” Savage said. “To be burning jet fuel for entertainment is probably not a great approach to mitigating the effects of the climate change on the ability of this planet to sustain our life.”
Savage said that the group also has the point of view that the airshows are recruiting events to encourage enlistment and that there are 140 nations that consume less fuel than the Pentagon does in a year.
Videographer Martha Spiess was on hand for Peace Action Maine and I will share her documentation of this great event soon.