United States (Mainland)

PEACE in the Country

The United States has a population of about 314 million people and is viewed as a global superpower.  Although, there are several peace initiatives happening in the United States.  Here I will focus on my thesis topic, which also stems off of the theories presented in two seminars: sustainable development.

When Nantisara and Arie presented sustainable development, it was a bit more of the negative side of it.  Can development be sustainable if it ruins the livelihoods of people?  No, it cannot.  They gave an example in Indonesia of the Lamalera community, when the government and the international community came in and decided that whaling was wrong, yet this is what the Lamalera community had lived off of for generations.  Yes, they were killing whales, but they were doing it sustainably and using every part of the whale.  Without whaling, they had to resort to small tourism.  In essence, they became marginalized.

In a world away, and in a very different community the same thing has happened.  Detroit, was made dependent o

n the big auto companies, and it was not sustainable.  To be dependent on large multinational corporations rarely works out well for a community.  When the auto industry began moving jobs overseas, going bust and mechanizing their processes, the people of Detroit and the surrounding areas suffered the most.  There is hope in the area though.  Organizations like Green Garage, available at: http://greengaragedetroit.com/  are beginning to shift away looking for industrial development and are focusing instead on community and sustainable development.  Green Garage is a sustainable business incubator, breathing life into businesses that are trying to be sustainable.  For example, Detroit has become somewhat of a wasteland in many areas, with trash and old used tires strewn about the landscape.  One business at Green Garage takes these old tires and recycles them into rubber floor mats for cars.  They are essentially cleaning up the community while using free materials already there to make new businesses.

Check out this interesting video about one of Green Garage’s projects, the “Green Alley”:

There is also the group Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) at: http://dwej.org/dwejonline/

This group is working on making Detroit a more green economy and they focus on three core aspects to create sustainability:


Learning in seminars, as well as in our classes, in particular Alberto Gomes’ class; social equity, sustainability and peaceability go hand in hand.  Each one helps to “cause” the next.  This group offers green job training and promotes small growth.  Below is a video that provides a good introduction to what DWEJ does:

Now onto the food!!!

PEACE with a Piece of Food

This meal is special to me, being that I am from the United States and my host tonight is my boyfriend, Matt.  Chili is wildly popular in the United States and there are even chili festivals and competitions.  Tonight we’ll be making a vegetarian chili, but it is traditionally made with ground beef in place of tofu burgers.


Fire Breathing Dragon Chili recipe:

(this is my host’s name for it)

½ cup quinoa (rinse and pre-cook/ set aside)

one large onion

one red bell pepper

one green pepper

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

3-4 cloves garlic

1 can (15oz/400g) black beans

1 can (15oz/400g) kidney beans

1 can (15oz/400g) garbanzo beans

1 can (15oz/400g) canned corn

1 can (15oz/400g) tomato paste/sauce

3 cans (15oz/400g) chopped/diced tomatoes

350grams of ground beef or vegetable tofu burger patties

¼ cup chili powder

I Tablespoon cumin

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 jalapeno peppers chopped

2 Tablespoon oregano

1 Tablespoon salt and pepper


On medium heat: heat olive oil, stir in onion and season with cumin, oregano and salt.

Cook and stir until onion is tender/clear. Then mix in celery, green peppers, jalapeno’s, garlic, red pepper, and carrots.

When veggies are almost cooked through mix in the ground beef or tofu burger patties. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5mins. Stirring occasionally.


And of course tasting occasionally, to make sure it is “fire breathing” enough for you!


Then mix tomatoes and tomato paste into the pot, season with chili powder and pepper. Stir in all the beans and corn. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45mins, stirring occasionally. At the 30 minute mark mix in the quinoa. Add one extra 15oz can of tomato’s in if needed, or water.

P1030236 P1030239

The peace created during this meal?  Well, I got to make it with the man I love, can’t get more peaceful than that!


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