"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,


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