Legacies of War: How the Commercialization of Plastics in the United States Contribute to Cycles of Violence
MA in Conflict Transformation
Dr. Tatsushi Arai
Plastic manufacturing practices developed and justified during World War II transitioned into the commercial space, entered our homes, and became part of everyday life. This proliferation was due in large part to the consolidation of manufacturing processes organized and subsidized by government contracts and the plastics industry leaders’ marketing dynamism. Plastics are in the cars we drive, the way we package our food, and are invaluable throughout the medical field. Moreover, the use of plastics has tangible environmental and health ramifications. The plastics industry and consumption patterns in the United States contribute significantly to hydrocarbon emissions, ecological violence, and the perpetuation of global structural violence through production and waste management flows. Methods like recycling, single use plastics bans, United Nations Sustainability Goals, informed consumers, and the nonprofit sector are all working to restore ecological peace. While this is a necessary step for the planet’s wellbeing, we must also transform the underlying notions and cultural methods which perpetuate industry standards and consumption patterns. This study will focus on how the direct violence of WWII, supported the commercialization of the plastics industry through structural and cultural violence, eventually leading to environmental degradation. While post-war reconstruction, reconciliation, and resolution are often reserved for geographies experiencing high levels of direct violence, I propose we integrate environmental justice into peacebuilding by analyzing the industries created during war time, through the “3Rs” (Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Resolution) in efforts to detract from cycles of violence and promote shifts toward positive peace.
Defense and Security Studies | Environmental Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Place and Environment | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Politics and Social Change | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
Johnston, Karis, "Legacies of War: How the Commercialization of Plastics in the United States Contribute to Cycles of Violence" (2018). Capstone Collection. 3107.
Defense and Security Studies Commons, Environmental Studies Commons, Peace and Conflict Studies Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Policy History, Theory, and Methods Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology Commons