Nuclear Free Future – 2011-08-06 01:48:55
Call To Action
NUCLEAR-FREE FUTURE MONTH
TIME TO PHASE OUT NUCLEAR POWER AND START NEGOTIATIONS
ON A TREATY TO BAN THE BOMB
August 6th and 9th 2011 will mark the 66th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the wake of the catastrophic events in Fukishima, with over 200,000 people evacuated from their homes and radioactive toxins circling the globe, poisoning our water, soil and air and contaminating the global food supply; with brave workers risking their lives to stop the ongoing devastation at the six nuclear reactors overcome by the chaos of cataclysmic earthquakes and a colossal tsunami, let us use these August days of remembrance to continue our work in this third year of United for Peace and Justice’s Nuclear Free Future Month.
It’s time to end the toxic legacy of the nuclear age and the threats posed by the existence of nuclear weapons and their evil twins, the 442 “peaceful” nuclear reactors desecrating our planet that continue to generate tons of nuclear waste that will last for hundreds of thousands of years and that cannot be safeguarded from unforeseeable acts of Mother Nature.
Each one of these vulnerable reactors is a potential Fukishima waiting to happen, either by force of nature, human error, or deliberate malice.
Similarly, the estimated 23, 000 nuclear bombs on our planet are subject to catastrophic accidental misuse, deliberate sabotage, or intentional use by some misguided government with an insane death wish. Governments possessing nuclear weapons include the United States and Russia — which together hold 95% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, and France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.
Despite its 40-year commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to negotiate “in good faith” the elimination nuclear weapons, their threatened first use remains at the heart of U.S. “national security” foreign military policy. His nuclear disarmament rhetoric not withstanding, a plan submitted to Congress by President Obama projects an investment of “well over” $185 billion by 2020 to maintain and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons systems.
At a time when many Americans are facing dire economic hardships, the level of nuclear weapons spending is unprecedented. The FY 2012 budget includes $7.6 billion for programs related to nuclear warheads — an 8.9% increase over the Presidentâ€™s FY 2011 request. This includes increased funding for three new nuclear weapons production plants and “Life Extension Programs” for three warheads including the B61, a U.S. bomb still deployed at NATO bases in Europe.
In response to the President’s commitment to modernize all three legs of the “strategic triad” of nuclear weapons delivery systems, the FY 2012 budget also includes $197 million for research and development of a new Air Force long-range nuclear bomber, $1.07 billion to develop a new replacement ballistic missile submarine and $2.6 million to study a future Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.
Nuclear weapons foremost act as an existential threat to humanity and life on this planet. As recent studies by climate scientists have shown, a nuclear war involving no more than 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons — about 0.3% of the global nuclear arsenal — could have terrifying, long-lasting effects on the global climate, leading to a drop in average surface temperatures, reduction of the ozone layer, and shortened agricultural growing seasons leading to massive famine.
And, as the terrible earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan have shown us once again, there could be no adequate response to the far larger catastrophe of a nuclear explosion in a city anywhere today. While an earthquake is an act of nature, a nuclear weapon use is a 100% preventable man-made act of hubris.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently declared: “Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in time space and time, in the risks of escalation they create, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity…. In the view of the ICRC, preventing the use of nuclear weapons requires fulfillment of existing obligations to pursue negotiations aimed at prohibiting and completely eliminating such weapons through a legally binding treaty.”
Let us focus on the threats which nuclear technology, whether for war or for “peace,” pose to the very existence of life on earth and work in the coming months to promote a nuclear free future in our lifetime.
As the Abolition 2000 Network noted in its 1995 founding statement: “The inextricable link between the ‘peaceful’ and warlike uses of nuclear technologies and the threat to future generations inherent in creation and use of long-lived radioactive materials must be recognized.
“We must move toward reliance on clean, safe, renewable forms of energy production that do not provide the materials for weapons of mass destruction and do not poison the environment for thousands of centuries. The true ‘inalienable’ right is not to nuclear energy, but to life, liberty and security of person in a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Polls have indicated that 76% of the American public supports the abolition of nuclear weapons, but too many people have little or no knowledge of the lack of progress toward that goal or of steps they can take that will help make abolition a reality.
And only 43 percent of those polled after the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan said they would approve building such new facilities in the United States to generate electricity — a steep decline from the 57 percent who said in 2008 that they approved of new plants.
Let us use the tragic anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the month of August to expand our circles in order to put our planet on the path to sustainability, ending the nuclear scourge once and for all. Let us use this month to reach out and dialogue with people and organizations beyond the peace movement and our usual partners, coalitions and friends; to educate, to inspire courage and creativity, to illustrate the steps we can take toward abolition, and to build a powerful constituency for a Nuclear Free Future….
Our main vehicle for coordinating activities and disseminating information will be the United for Peace and Justice Nuclear Free Future web pages at www.nuclearfreefuture.org where you will find a variety of action ideas and educational resources. We encourage you to post your groupâ€™s planned activities to the calendar you will find there.
Please share your plans for Hiroshima-Nagasaki memorials this August, but please think outside the traditional bounds and plan and share additional educational events, and actions throughout the month. Please help us spread the word!