Archive for the ‘Get Involved’ Category


Ending War is Achievable. Five Reasons Why.

July 25, 2016

by Judith Hand, Ph.D.


A meme can be an idea or belief that spreads throughout a culture by non-genetic means. This essay is about an idea powerful enough to radically transform human history. If this meme spreads across the globe by word of mouth and social media and captures the minds of a critical mass of global citizens and powerful movers-and-shakers, it can usher in a social paradigm shift every bit as profound as the Agricultural, Industrial, and Digital Revolutions.

Have you ever wondered what the future will look like? For you? Or maybe for the future’s children or grandchildren? Specifically, do you fear it will be forever blighted by war?

Let’s start with a little survey, asking two questions. First, do you think it’s possible humans can build a permanent base on the Moon? Here’s question two: Based on your life experience, do you think it’s possible that we could end war? This isn’t “would you like us to end war?” Rather it’s “Do you believe it is, in fact possible?” Not a lot of rational thought, please…just, what is your first, gut response?

Most people believe that putting a base on the moon is a possibility. In contrast, the vast majority of people asked these questions say they don’t believe ending war is possible. So, if you’re a skeptic about ending war, you absolutely aren’t alone.


This skepticism, that we can’t end war, is the single biggest barrier to doing it. We can’t accomplish any great feat, including putting a permanent colony on the Moon, if we start out “knowing” that it’s not possible. Great feats are accomplishd when at least one person has the vision of something and the belief that it can be done, one way or the other.

Keep an open mind, and  hopefully what follows will convince you that the answer to whether or not we can abolish war is “yes. It IS possible.”


I’ll mention later how I was drawn into the study of war, but my background prepared me for it in several ways. I’m an evolutionary biologist, with a Ph.D. from UCLA. What’s relevant to the study of war is that my areas of specialization are in communication, conflict resolution, gender differences, and primate behavior (including human behavior). The fancy name for the study of animal behavior is “ethology.” Since I’ve been studying war and peace from this perspective for the last 15 or so years, I’m am now also officially a Peace Ethologist. Additionally, as an undergraduate major in cultural anthropology, I studied non-patriarchal and nonviolent cultures.

Hand_Shift The Beginning

I put the results of my work on war and peace into this book. Also relevant is that I’m a published novelist, which I mention briefly later.

Lest we wander astray into other aspects of human lethal behavior, WAR needs to be defined as I use it. Murder is not war. Revenge killings of specific individuals, if you will, feuding over particular grievances, is not war.  War is when people (overwhelmingly men) band together to indiscriminately kill people in another group and the community’s noncombatants and religious leaders sanction their actions. It’s the sanctioned banding together to kill indiscriminately that distinguishes war from other forms of killing. We’re NOT going to erase murder and revenge anytime soon…these go way way back into human experience, maybe even before we became humans. We’re only considering the potential to abolish war.


Now imagine a Star Trek Future. In the TV show’s first year or so we were never on Earth. But what we knew about the Starship Enterprise’s crew was that on their home world there was no money, no poverty, and no war. They were clearly using their resources to invent and do fabulous things, like mounting starships to explore the galaxy. What we’re considering is whether that kind of Gene Roddenberry vision of an amazing and positive Homo sapiens future is completely out of the question?

Although we’ll be exploring the potential for a positive future, what is presented here is presented against the backdrop of the belief of many that it’s entirely possible onrushing violent movements like ISIS, or a mistaken triggering of a nuclear war, or some totally unpredictable event like a global pandemic could plunge us into a new “dark age” or “Mad Max” future of perpetual war. We are arguably in a race against time and possible misfortune. To stop what we don’t want and build what we do, realism, not wishful thinking, is required. So we’ll be seeking enlightenment and examining positive potential, with the understanding that nothing is guaranteed.

Six kinds of evidence are presented to support the view that we can end war:

  • First we tackle immediately the idea that war is “part of human nature,” a genetically determined, inescapable trait. Something we could only eliminate, for example, if we performed generations of selective breeding for less violent males. To put that idea to rest we look first at cultures that tell us about our deep evolutionary past, namely those of nomadic foragers…often referred to as hunter-gatherers.
  • Then we look at internally peaceful, more complex state-level cultures, ancient and modern.
  • We then review six key historical shifts that set us up to end war.
  • We consider the existence of and facilitating conditions for peace systems.
  • Some examples of rapid cultural change serve to counteract the notion that ending war would take hundreds of years.
  • Finally, we’ll look at a few of an impressive number of recent historical changes that are already moving us in the direction of a global peace system.

So we begin with the nomadic foragers to tackle the issue of genetic inevitability. This is because these people are our best window into our deep human past; they reflect how Homo sapiens likely lived for hundreds of thousands of years of behavioral evolution, before we started living in settlements or villages. These were the eons during which we evolved to be what we are today.

Read the rest of this entry ?


TWITTER – An Excellent Tool for Getting Connected and Networking

October 14, 2009


To get connected will take only a few minutes:
    • go to,
    • get your own FREE account and page (you only need a screen name), and
    • use “Find People” to find  AFutureWOWar and click on the “Follow” button.

You’re done! You will see our latest posts immediately on your page.


The raison d’être of A Future Without War is to explain, using evolutionary biology, why we make war and what will be required to abolish it. 

AFWW Logo - 9 Cornerstones

AFWW Logo - 9 Cornerstones

Such a massive paradigm shift, arguably as huge as the Agricultural Revolution, will require what is best described as massively distributed collaboration by millions of people and organizations.

Even if everyone were to agree that the cause of ending war is worthy, long overdue, and the only sane way for us to proceed into the future, how can we possibly unite so many?

This is the greatest challenge for AFWW: to convince masses of us that abolishing war is possible, that it’s worth the effort it will take, and then unite us into concerted and focused action.

As part of our efforts at connectivity and unity, AFWW is now on Twitter in two places.  We invite you to “follow” us at AFutureWOWar.

twitter-logoThe more people we can attract to follow us, the more connected we can be. And if we can ultimately attract a great many followers, we may also attract media attention to the concept that ending war is possible.

By following AFWW, something that will take you only moments to set up, you help us reach out to the greater community with our message. There is power in numbers. By joining us you will encourage others to believe that this vision is possible.


One of Twitter’s great virtues, from our perspective, is that posts are limited to 140 characters. CHARACTERS, not words. This means:
     1. When you receive the latest input from people or organizations you’ve chosen to “follow,” they will have digested it down into a short summary/bite. You learn what they are doing that they consider important right now. Also, frequently they provide an info bite and then link to further information….information that you can pursue further if interested or simply ignore. In other words, Twitter posts are a great source of information input in efficiently digested form.
     2. When you (or AFWW) make a post, and you may indeed wish to start posting yourself, you need only come up with 140 characters and perhaps a link to keep all who choose to “follow” you current. 140 characters is a very small burden of time and thought, much less than an essay or blog or newsletter. And yet it allows you (and us) to let many people, as many as choose to follow, know what’s important or worthwhile at the moment.

When you get a Twitter account, which is FREE and quite easy to do, you will have your own page. You can do nothing further if you choose, and simply check in now and then to see what’s new with us.
You may choose to make your own posts, and see who will choose to “follow” you. You can follow other organizations and individuals besides AFWW. You might, for example, also follow Peace X Peace, or Veterans for Peace, Al Gore, Joan Baez, or Harrison Ford. Any favorite personality who is Twittering.

We live in busy times, we have busy lives. You may not want to check your Twitter page every day, or even every week or month….maybe never….but then again, you may find that it’s a wonderful source of quick information and fun.


You Count

July 15, 2009

Your voice, your actions, your participation counts. How do we make a change from cultures deeply entangled financially in the behavior of war to societies committed to ending war? What can you do?

  • Use Word-Of-Mouth (and the pie charts showing U.S. spending, which are explained and discussed in a previous post entitled “Budgeting and War”) to let others know how crazily out of balance budgeting priorities of a well-meaning country can be.
  • Commit yourself to the vision of a future without war, because in that commitment lies the seeds of your thoughts and actions.
  • Join and support a group—like Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) or Earth Institute or Center for Global Development (CGD) or Global Marshal Plan, or some of the other 19 groups listed on the AFWW website—groups focused on making our spending priorities match the goal we want to reach – a just, warless and less violent, and ecologically sustainable future. Begin your search for a group to support here:

Who Profits?

July 15, 2009

To abolish war, we must prevail over its causes. We can lay a solid foundation of good works: for example, attacking poverty, empowering women, establish and actually using internationally recognized bodies to resolve disputes based on laws, fostering a global sense of family and oneness.  Ultimately, though, it will come down to money.  Want to know who the top fifteen weapons sellers are?

The top fifteen biggest sellers of weapons in the world in 2008, in descending order *
• Russia
• Germany
• France
• UK
• Spain
• Netherlands
• Italy
• China
• Israel
• Belgium
• Sweden
• Switzerland
• Ukraine
• Canada

* List taken from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2009:

Let us not be naïve. When the world’s people begin to seriously choke off the money flow at the highest level by ceasing to support wars with their taxes or their bodies, the struggle will grow seriously dangerous. Courage will be required and tested.

Those who profit most will fight with every possible legal, and illegal, means. Manufacturers, sellers, buyers, middlemen bankers, heads of government. To see the face of war’s most determined supporters and peace’s most deadly opponents, follow the money. Money undergirds the urge to power and domination that is the very heartbeat of all war mongers.

The hope of the world is that there is a thing more powerful than the forces of greed and power-lust—the world’s people when united.


The People of Bhutan Practice Their First Democratic Vote—With Apprehension

May 4, 2007


Next year, guided by the enlightened vision of the King of Bhutan, the people in this faraway, Switzerland-sized kingdom of 700,000 will cast their first real votes in a momentous shift to democracy, and during the weekend of 25 April 2007 they held a practice—but according to correspondent Barbara Crossette, with much anxiety. Many Bhutanese think democracy may be a big mistake. The good news is that they will move into the 21st century and be granted the ideal of equality under law with all the hope and promise that entails. The bad news they fear, however, arises from examples of the countries around them: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka – all are “democracies” and all are wracked by violence. Simply giving people the right to vote isn’t the kind of democracy that will end violence and war; to end war we need liberal democracies, which includes sexual equality, something not true of any of Bhutan’s violence-plagued neighbors. According to Crossette, however, Bhutan’s “women have considerable equality.” Maybe in this sheltered world a true liberal democracy will flourish and the Bhutanese, who already have a fine record for environmental protection and where living standards are rising rapidly, will achieve even further enlightenment and a nonviolent future. (EW, SD)
Los Angeles Times, 25 April 2007, Barbara Crossette, “Bhutan’s democratic doubts.”


Muslims in Southern California Unite to Foster Unity

May 4, 2007

Leading Southern California Muslims, including prominent Shiite and Sunni clerics, recently signed of “code of honor” offering strategies for overcoming and preventing disharmony in the Muslim community. Important provisions are: 1) no one should use, spread, or tolerate takfir (judging others Muslims as nonbelievers), 2) all should respect the people, places, and events that other Muslims recognize, even if they disagree, 3) scholarly groups should examine Muslim history, creed, and laws to further better understanding and reconciliation, and 4) U.S. Muslims should work to stress their commonalities (see full text at This reconciliation effort began at the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, and it is hoped that adoption of the code and the efforts a harmony will spread. AFWW hopes it will spread globally. (FC)
Los Angeles Times, 23 April 2007, Rebecca Trounson, “Area Muslims Promote New Code of Unity.”


The Threat of Global Warming – A Cause that Can Unite Us

May 4, 2007

In the classic movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a spaceman comes to earth accompanied by a fearsome robot, Gort. By the end of the film we learn that the spaceman is a messenger from all spacefaring worlds and he brings the earth’s people a message. These worlds have resolved and agreed to ensure that no planet is allowed to exist that will not renounce war. They will not tolerate war to be brought off-world. And Gort is a kind of galactic policeman they have created to enforce this edict. Unless humans stop making war, the spaceman tells the world’s best minds just before he leaves and leaves Gort behind, Gort will destroy earth. The message of the movie is that it may take a dire threat from without to unite humanity at last. As we now concede, unless we unite to shift our economies in ways the decrease the production of greenhouse gasses, our civilizations as we know them will collapse. Millions of people will be displaced and in urgent need for basic necessities, diseases will spread, the oceans will wither. Perhaps by uniting to prevent such a catastrophe, we will find better things to do with our resources than fight enormously expensive and destructive wars. Maybe Global Warming will be our Gort, that threat that unites us. If you would like to add your concerned voice to the signatures of politicians, business leaders, and ordinary citizens around the globe, visit and sign at (PSO, SOE).
Time Magazine, 19 March 2007, Jeffry D. Sachs, “A Climate for Change”


Democracy in Action – An “Immediate-Action Alert” and a Long-term Goal

April 10, 2007

<P>If you live in California, here’s something extraordinarily easy you can do to advance the campaign to end war: lend your support to the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. For maximum effect, you need to act within the next few days. If you live outside California, don’t feel left out. You can contact your own Congressperson and Senators, now and frequently.</P>Danielle Gram

<P>The Goal is to urge California Senator Barbara Boxer to sponsor or co-sponsor a bill in the Senate to authorize the establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence by having at least 1000 postcards and hundreds of phone calls reach the Senator immediately.</P>

<P>This movement is well under way. In San Diego and across the country there are growing numbers of local chapters of the DOP movement. And perhaps most exciting, young people are getting involved. Danielle Gram, a San Diego high school student recently took postcards for Senator Boxer with her to school. If you want to read something exciting and encouraging, read Danielle’s e-mail to her fellow DoP supporters describing her experience with sharing her enthusiasm with her fellow students. Feel free to forward her letter to friends who could use encouragement.</P>