August Nuclear Free Future MonthPublished on August, 58 2013
By Carol Urner, DISARM/End Wars Issue Committee Co-Chair
August Nuclear Free Future Month is here again. We in WILPF DISARM/Wars Issue Committee are concentrating on our 2013 Campaign for Nuclear Weapons Abolition. We’re working with United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) to develop the Nuclear Free Future website and we hope you will help us get the many WILPF Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day commemorations posted on the calendar there and keep the resources updated for use in August and throughout the year.
We can sign the coalition petition to President Obama NOW. WILPF Reaching Critical Will staff helped develop this petition. Urge US participation in creative United Nations initiatives focusing on nuclear weapons abolition. Let's tell President Obama the time is ripe and the world is ready to negotiate nuclear weapons abolition now!
And we can do much more. We now have two powerful US Conference of Mayors Resolutions calling for global nuclear disarmament by 2020 and transfer of funds to meet the needs of cities.. We also have, for the first time, legislation in Congress that seeks abolition by 2020. We should be able to promote all three together, and use them to inform, educate and help achieve our goal . . .
We can promote the US Conference of Mayors 2013 Resolution which passed unanimously at the United States Conference of Mayors on June 13, 2013. Download the Mayors’ 2013 Resolution Action Kit and take the actions most suitable for your own situation. If you live in or near a town with less than the 30,000 population required to belong to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Town Mayor or Town Council can also endorse the 2013 Resolution. Note the Special offer for Mayors! from the National Priorities Project (NPP), in cooperation with Mayors for Peace. Help your Mayor or City Council take advantage of this important offer!
We can also promote the Mayors’ 2012 Resolution which calls for abolition by 2020. The Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki set this time frame in 2003 and have pressed forward to meet it ever since.. We are pleased that Eleanor Holmes Norton, when she introduced HR 1650, The Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic Conversion Act of 2013, endorsed the same time frame. Yet, though prodigious work has been done, without cooperation and leadership from the United States abolition within this century seems indeed unlikely. Instead our government is now racing in the opposite direction, rebuilding and “modernizing” the whole nuclear weapons complex including remodeling nuclear warheads and developing missiles with new capabilities. We who are U.S. citizens are the ones most responsible for refocusing our national policies on abolition.
And let’s all promote H.R. 1650 introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. And Norton adds, as does WILPF, the phasing out of nuclear power and transfer of saved federal funds to dismantlement and human security. House members should be in their home districts during August and it is an excellent time to seek personal contact with those Representatives most likely to become co-sponsors.
In WILPF we believe abolition is urgent, and the dangers to our own and future generations posed by the whole nuclear chain increases that urgency. The entire nuclear industry—from uranium mining to enrichment to nuclear power to proposed MOX fuel to weapons production to depleted uranium and nuclear waste with nowhere to go—is a devil’s bargain that is already destroying our planet as nurturer of life.
Plutonium and cesium already produced by the nuclear industry during the past seventy years will continue to cause cancers, mutations and destruction of species for many thousands of years – probably long beyond the continued existence of human life on earth. Strontium-90 and tritium have shorter half lives but nonetheless cause great damage while they last with women and their reproductive systems 50% more susceptible than men and with children and unborn fetuses the most vulnerable of all. And the planet itself—the air, soil, rivers and seas—is threatened with radioactive nuclear waste with nowhere to go. WILPF members continue to work tirelessly to end those dangers that most threaten their own nearby environment even while we focus on abolishing the weapons of death which are their cause.
These most powerful, terrifying and destructive weapons of war have been from the beginning a Faustian bargain. Those who have developed and used (or threatened to use) them to gain wealth, power, and dominion threaten us all with extinction and appear to have lost their own souls—their capacity for love and compassion—in the process. For their sakes as well as our own we must help them see the urgent need to abolish these nuclear weapons now.