"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Facing an Even More Inconvenient Truth on Earth Day

Dear Friends (of the Earth),

Today, on Earth Day, people around the world are recognizing the planet that supports us. More than ever before, there is a recognition that the Earth and its life-giving systems are at (or very close to) a tipping point. There is a louder voice speaking for change... before it is too late to turn back.

And yet, there is an even more inconvenient truth that humanity ignores at its peril - the risk of nuclear war, either accidental or intentional. The question of turning back from the nuclear brink is barely uttered.

Even the most limited use of nuclear weapons in war - as has been documented in studies of limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan - would cause extraordinary environmental devastation and residual effects far beyond anything we would see from any other cause, and the probable collapse of civilization as we know it.

And yet, for all the talk of nuclear terrorism, the greatest risk posed by nuclear weapons is the continued deployment of nuclear weapons by the the United States and Russia on alert status, ready to launch on warning on the command of the president of either nation.

The world still bristles with nuclear weapons. Although we tend to focus on the reductions of global nuclear weapons from their peak (approximately 70,000 during the Cold War) to their current numbers (a little over 17,000), those that remain have extraordinary destructive potential.

For perspective, the warheads carried on Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles deployed on one U.S. OHIO Class (Trident) ballistic missile submarine (currently approximately half the full payload) are enough to destroy an entire continent and leave nothing but a radioactive wasteland.

These horrific weapons, which the U.S., Russia, and other nuclear-armed nations continue to hold up as tools of foreign policy, and for which these countries spend billions of dollars annually, can never be used. The results are unspeakable. Humanity and the Earth that sustains us are held hostage by this nuclear Sword of Damocles.

It is time for people everywhere, and particularly those who work so hard to protect the environment that sustains the balance of life, to call for concrete efforts by the governments of all nations to abolish nuclear weapons.

We have seen all too clearly that our governments, if left to their own devices, do not have the will to tackle these most pressing of problems facing humanity. 

It is up to us as citizens of this small planet to work together using every creative nonviolent method possible to convince our nations' leaders to begin the serious task of disarming and channeling the money wasted on nuclear weapons, and war making in general, to the challenges of building a sustainable world for future generations.

And that is my pledge this Earth Day. Join me.

Toward a sustainable world for all,


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Los Alamos Study Group Announces Summer Intensive Action and Training Program

Please read the following important announcement from the Los Alamos Study Group!!!

Study Group summer intensive action and training program announced: “Humanity at the Crossroads: Disarmament, Human Security, and Environmental Sustainability”

Dear friends and colleagues –

In response to multiple and mounting threats to our civilization and the world’s ecosystems, the Study Group is announcing a summer intensive action and training program, which will run from May 26 through August 9 of 2014, our 25th year.

Our primary focus will be on nuclear disarmament, but this summer we will approach this struggle in the wider context of humanity’s converging crises rather than the usual nuclear security, arms control, and narrow “national security” context. While nuclear weapons discourse has largely stalled in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, it is nonetheless clear to us that progress in nuclear disarmament is an essential part of the transformation in national security urgently needed for survival. The “survival” part of the equation is poorly understood.

Over an 11-week period, participants will receive group training and individual mentoring while conducting specific projects for the Los Alamos Study Group and allied organizations in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Each project will make a significant difference and advance prospects for success in nuclear disarmament, climate protection, energy transition, and closely-related issues.

Some projects will have a research and communication focus; others an outreach, networking, and capacity-building focus. We have a suite of projects in mind but will not describe them here. Which projects we tackle will depend on the skills, interests, and experience of the participants. Most but not all projects will have a New Mexico component or emphasis.

This will be a total immersion experience, addressing serious issues. While it won’t be a holiday, there will be an emphasis on teamwork, camaraderie, and on building and deepening connections with allied organizations and the Los Alamos Study Group community. There will be plenty of time to discuss and reflect individually on the issues we are addressing, and our personal responses to them. Evenings, and an average of one weekend day each week, will be free. Work time, not including the mutual work we will do to support the summer’s community of activist-scholars, will average about 50 hours per week.

After the program, most participants will no doubt return to academic studies or to their careers and other responsibilities, enriched we hope by their experience with us. Some may remain, with us or with allied organizations.

The program is open to all adult ages (18 or older). We are aiming for a diversity of ages, skills, and backgrounds. Prior detailed issue knowledge is helpful but not required.

Participants will receive room, board, and (for U.S. citizens or work visa holders) a $500 stipend. Most work will take place at the offices of the Study Group. Housing will be at Greg and Trish’s home as well as at the homes of Study Group members in Albuquerque. You will need a laptop or tablet computer.

To apply, the first step is to send your resume or curriculum vitae to Trish.

If we don’t get enough qualified applicants in April we will cancel this program and try another approach! To proceed, we need a minimum of at least four (preferably six) participants with a workable mix of skills. Our upper limit is about ten.

Long-time members in New Mexico may enjoy joining with the group on social occasions and could make a significant volunteer contribution on specific projects, especially those involving outreach.

Participants can expect a very interesting, engaging, educational, challenging, and fruitful experience. This program is not a chance at that long-awaited vacation, but is a chance to enhance your knowledge, work with others in a cross-disciplinary, community-based setting, and make a real contribution.

Background on the Study Group is available on our website.


Greg Mello and Trish Williams-Mello, for the Study Group