Humans, biologically speaking, are just like any other mammal: animals with basic needs and instincts that occasionally use their brain to govern the present world. Similar to most animals, humans have often solved conflicts with aggression and force. However, humans have evolved now for thousands of years and are supposed to be the smartest and most developed creature in the animal kingdom. Therefore, humans should know how to control themselves, be civilized, and move on beyond the violence and aggressive tactics when solving a problem. If humans should know better, why is something as easy as fixing world hunger still an issue we are facing today? World hunger has been a problem since the end of time, due to endless violence and greed. Would the opposite of violence and greed, peace and human generosity, be the answer to world hunger and all other problems in the world? I believe that teaching peace can not only fix world hunger and save many lives, but also change the world we live in.
Many believe that world hunger is still a concerning topic today that is caused by food shortage. In reality, it is caused by violence and human greed. Countries that have or are experiencing world hunger are developing counties that were/are in poverty and do not have resources to make their own food (Wonderopolis, 2021). These countries are in poverty as a result of war, terrorism, and being taken advantage for being naïve, trusting a supposed ally that said that they knew best (Wonderopolis, 2021). Henceforth, these allies do not freely help anyone, they are greedy and are always doing something for themselves, using violent acts and aggression to get what they want. Thus, leading these developing countries to poverty, which leads to world hunger, and ends in suffering nations. This cycle of violence and greed is what is causing the world problems. The reason why I use world hunger as an example to promote peace is because it seems like an easy problem to fix with a simple answer but is instead a very complex due to the conflict resolution methods we use today.
Switching from violence to peaceful approaches can be as easy as switching your diet from omnivore to herbivore. When we make the choice to change to vegetarian/vegan diets, we do it for various reasons. These reasons could be for health, or for religious, ethical, or budgetary rationales. It all starts with changing our viewpoints and actions. If this was the case, world hunger can be solved in these two parallels ways of becoming a vegetarian or a pacifist. As you can see, both want animal cruelty to stop. They mutually advocate for a peaceful life, whether it be in the world for humans or for animals. They equally want the cruelty of violent methods and treatment to stop being applied to humans or animals and promote humane ways of living. Furthermore, these two solutions emphases the practice of empathy and understanding, bringing back the rights to animals and humans. Lifestyles are easy to change, it all depends on when you start and how much commitment is given to the cause. So, why not start by teaching and applying peaceful methods as a lifestyle choice just like vegetarian/ veganism.
The definition of peace is described as a time frame that is tranquil and calm, where everything seems harmonious in the world making perfect sense. Some people may say that these periods of times do not last for long, due to there always being conflict. Nevertheless, conflict is a natural thing that is always occurring. I do not see conflict as a bad thing; I see it as a necessary obstacle since sometimes it reflects problems that are in need of addressing: “conflict is needed to turn the world upside down to turn it right” (David LaMotte, 2018). Usually, short term violent solutions do not solve the problem and instead break-up the peace for longer than it was established. Conflict is necessary for there to be justice in the world, with the keyword “justice” being fair and reasonable toward an action. Many people want a peaceful and just world, what this means is that peace can come out of justice and justice can be made by being fair when applying punishments (David LaMotte, 2018). A peaceful approach to solving problems lead to a fair and ethical world and conflict resolutions leads to more peace instead of disturbing it. The focus is on the way to solve conflict, which determines whether it gets resolved or prolonged into something worse. And the way to resolve it is through peaceful means. That is why teaching peace is important to maintain these long peaceful periods while resolving conflict for the long term and fairly.
Peace in action starts off by teaching ideas, values, and principles of peaceful conflict resolution in schools and the homes and other social institutions. Authority figures like teachers and parents are the first to teach the new generation how to act in the world; that’s why they should be the first to educate the youth on peace. There are family values that teach sons and daughters on how to solve conflicts in peaceful and reasonable ways, like developing healthy nonviolent communication skills and developing empathetic emotions to understand other’s feelings. In schools, teachers should teach about equality and respect, while the school should offer courses on peace studies, conflict resolution classes, reading literature on famous peacemakers, and peaceful movement that occurred throughout history. Teaching peace on an individual level leads to systemic changes globally.
Teaching peace not only effects people in an individual manner but also a societal way, based on how we see ourselves and how we see society. If a person is taught to peacefully communicate, pay attention and actively listen to someone when they are talking, that makes the other person be heard and understood, and show them that they matter and are not alone. Moreover, a person learns to respect others’ opinion, not be offended but try to understand, nor to use foul language when disagreeing. An individual who is learning peaceful methods knows that words have power and words can hurt, so choosing to talk in a logical and acknowledging tone can lead to clarity, understanding, and long-lasting solutions. Learning about peace makes the individual be empathetic and compassionate towards the other. Learning about peace affects yourself as an individual by becoming compassionate on how you treat and see others, as well as your emotions that then shape your actions. Once you learn about peace, you change, and you have a different perspective about life on an individual level of self, which is reflected on the way you handle problems in society, making it change too.
Society is affected by teaching peace due to representation; we are reflections of society and society reflects our actions. Acting in peaceful and nonviolent ways first starts with practicing peace in all aspects of your life, that’s why “working on a skill when it doesn’t matter so when it does later, it comes naturally” (David LaMotte, 2018). Peace should be used and applied in everyday life as a lifestyle, so when it comes to a conflict, in can be resolved in the most natural and honest way possible. If everyone is actively applying peacemaking skills and attitudes, then active listening is making people be heard and understood. No longer would there be ignorance and loneliness in the world due to peace practices. More people are going to feel connected and welcomed to form more supportive communities together. The learning of peace brings about changes by making communities feel unity and solidarity and no longer feeling disconnected, lonely, and isolated from the world and left to fend by themselves in a forgotten void. Peace in the society is not when everything is quiet and calm, but it’s when everyone needs are being meant, producing a well-functioning society.
In the end, teaching peace is more than teaching a subject, just like being vegetarian is more than healthy eating. Our choices in life reflects our standing on matters and the process of how we go about it symbolizes evolutionary growth. Looking within ourselves, at our actions and what type of effect our actions’ consequences have reveal many aspects of ourselves and society. For instance, world hunger tells us that our violent ways are not working and it’s time to change our ways to peaceful one for a more successful alternative. Changing systemic aspects in society and within ourselves is hard at first but once you start and see the progress it can display more clearly the big picture that for a world to fair and justice, teaching peace and acting in peaceful methods should be the first options when it comes to solving a conflict or problem. This essay was inspired by two peace advocates, Colman McCarthy and David LaMotte, that taught me what peace was. They claimed that peace is love and harmony and that is exactly what the world needs right now.
I’d rather teach peace, Colman McCarthy, TEDxGeorgetown, 2016
Music Can Help Us Understand Peace and Conflict, David LaMotte, TEDxAsheville, 2018
“Why Is World Hunger Still a Problem?” Wonderopolis, https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-is-world-hunger-still-a-problem.