My cause is peace and the organizations I’m supporting with my ride across Canada are the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The Friends have a long tradition of peacemaking. Should you be inspired by my ride to support the cause I’ve selected, I’d be honored by your donation to CFSC or AFSC.
My choice for this cause is personal. In 1970, I lost my beloved older brother in the useless conflict we call the Vietnam War. In 2015, on my first transcontinental bicycle trip, I visited the National Museum of the Pacific War. I exited the museum building into what appeared to be an outdoor tranquil place, until I realized it was a memorial “garden” — wall after wall of memorials to individuals and groups. Then I came to a blank wall and its meaning caught me in the gut. It was a space for memorials to other lives lost to war and families disrupted. If I can do something to prevent one more name going on a memorial wall and another family being turned upside down, then it’s worth it.
In May 2017, I visited the United Nations building in New York City. There was a wall with circles on it, one immense with a rapidly spinning counter on it, the others tiny. The counter and the large circle represented war and defense spending. The small circles represented spending on peace. You get what you pay for.
Here’s the web version of the same wall: https://www.un.org/disarmament/over-armed/
Lester Brown, in Plan B 4.0 (2009), wrote: “We can calculate roughly the costs of the changes needed to move our twenty-first century civilization off the decline-and-collapse path and onto a path that will sustain civilization. … [It is] roughly one third of the current U.S. military budget or 13 percent of the global military budget.”
In a moment of serendipity, after choosing peace as my cause, I discovered that my birthday, September 21, is the International Day of Peace.