Friday, 1 July 2016

The Pursuit of Peace

In the course of my research over a wide range of subjects, I have come across many who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of peace. I think that this goal is one we should all contribute too, in our own ways. This is my way.

What constitutes a state of peace ?

I am not sure that all people seek peace. i think people are more inclined to seek a measure of comfort, in both spiritual and material ways. The support of a world view, a political party, and perhaps even a vocation or pastime, can all involve challenges to world peace that are not obvious. My own comfort, may impact negatively on a precursor to peace.

Example One: Purchasing dates or olives from a Syrian orchard 50 years ago may have imperceptibly impacted on the availability of ground water, which when magnified at a global level, may have contributed to the desertification of already marginal land and subsequent population pressure.

Surprisingly, peace is most commonly defined in negative terms, namely the absence of violence. I have been looking for positive terms, and have stumbled over some older Scandinavian work, that argues that in the pursuit of peace it is the duty of a State to act to minimise violence (in circumstances where this is within the capacity of the State). This might be objected to on the basis that it is a needs-based methodology (but provides an appealing breadth of analysis).

Example Two: The failure of a state to deal with small pox in the modern era where it is possible to deal with the condition in every circumstance constitutes a breach of the state's responsibility to deal with violence.

Ambit of research

(I thank +Monique Helfrich for providing the inspiration to set out the following.)

My focus here is based on the work i have completed over the past few years into global risk management (particularly around the ebola crisis), and the importance of addressing vulnerabilities rather than downstream risks.

As i quietly catalogue each major vector of war, increasingly i discount political or religious opportunism as a primary cause and instead see in the patterns underlying more fundamental and widespread difficulties.

Surprisingly most vectors resolve themselves into what i see as widespread population displacement (because of the exhaustion of ground water, salinization, widespread changes in agricultural practice or population health).

Through a series of lectures and academic papers, i will attempt to do three things:
i. through the concept of peace research, based on risk policy, re-emphasise the importance of population wide impacts and subsequent population movement. But beyond that, provide a methodology for dealing with the concept of peace that focuses on vulnerabilities, peace precursors (eg, the emerging digital or health divide).
ii. through a discussion of continental cooling , examine macro policies that might bring achievable immediate world wide cooling outcomes and dramatically increase accessibility to revitalised agricultural land..
iii, through a discussion of micro policies, reseat debate about localised or opportunistic solutions into a productive realm.
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