My Turn: Choose life – not nuclear annihilation

  • The stem of a hydrogen bomb, the first such nuclear device dropped from a U.S. aircraft, moves upward through a heavy cloud and comes through the top of the cloud, after the bomb was detonated over Namu Island in the Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands on May 21, 1956.  AP FILE PHOTO

Published: 1/20/2022 2:20:17 PM

It appears that many people in this country are avoiding the realities that threaten survival — their own and all life on this precious Earth. Many scientists and environmentalists warn of climate crisis and of nuclear winter, that either one could wipe out life as we know it.

I went to a conference on that topic about four years ago in Hadley, a double-whammy! The situation is even more threatening now. Yet mainstream media does not broadcast nor publish what should be daily coverage of devastation happening in many places around the world.

Fortunately alternative sources are available, many organizations providing information online and/or broadcast, with webinars, reports, interviews with informed people. But one needs a computer or smartphone and time to access the information, and not waste time on lesser “news.”

Saturdays I join with a few others on the Greenfield Town Common to show our concerns for truth, peace, justice, compassion, democracy … and to alert others to the deadly threats of militarism, racism, inequality, homelessness, and lack of health care.

This Saturday, Jan. 22 I hope you will join us and share your concerns, as we commemorate the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entering into force. Adopted by an overwhelming vote of 89 states/nations at a UN conference in July 2017, the treaty was ratified by 50 nations in late October 2020 (59 nations to date), becoming international law on January 22, 2021. (Forty-nine other nations are “supporters,” potential ratifiers.)

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its role in facilitating the Treaty. ICAN has continued such efforts, mobilizing people in many communities around the world to pressure their local and national government to ratify the treaty and abolish nuclear weapons — before they abolish us.

Nuclearban.US has also been organizing support the the ban in many local communities, as accomplished in Montague and Northampton. The City of Northampton has divested its pension funds and is refusing to award city contracts in any weapons companies. Nuclear weapons have been profitable for a couple dozen large “defense” contractors; they keep getting contracts because they keep financing our politicians in Washington. But investors are divesting from nuclear weapons, and New York City is expected to divest its pension funds in the near future.

While none of the nuclear-armed nations (U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) have ratified the treaty, people in many nations are organizing for their nation to ratify the TPNW. With the U.S. and Russia having 90% of the world’s 13,080 nuclear weapons (over 5,500 each), and with the US committing more billions for the military and for “upgrading” our nuclear weapons arsenal and delivery systems (over 30 years), it most urgent for us, “we the people of the U.S.,” to organize together to end nuclear weapons.

It is insane to spend our wealth on weapons of mass-destruction, 800 military bases in 100 countries (polluting there too), and subsidies for fossil-fuel corporations. We must demand funding for life-support projects: health care, housing, infrastructure, renewable energy, education, restoration and rehabilitation.

Choose life — not nuclear annihilation!

Suzanne R. Carlson, a Greenfield resident, is a board member of Traprock Center for Peace & Justice and other organizations.


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