Tag Archive | nuclear weapons

NUCLEAR SECURITY?

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit is taking place this week in Washington, D.C. More than 200 heads of state and security officials from about 56 countries are participating. I fear the closing date — April Fool’s Day — is ominous.

imagesPast summits (2010, 2012, 2014) have achieved tangible improvements in the security of nuclear materials and stronger international institutions that support nuclear security, but threats remain  high and far too many nuclear weapons exist. Discussing ways to prevent an act of nuclear terrorism rather than what the world really needs –nuclear disarmament – seems the height (or depth) of foolishness.

Strengthening the global system is important but surely not the solution to preventing nuclear and radiological terrorism and misuse — not to mention stopping the hemorrhage of funds spent on unnecessary weapons that cause health problems to all life throughout the process of making and storing them. This is a prime ecospirituality issue!

There is no such thing as nuclear security when 15,000 nuclear weapons still exist in the world. In the United States, nuclear weapons spending is at an all-time high, and includes a 30-year program to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal and production facilities.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, September 25, 2015, Pope Francis said:  “There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.” Amen to that!

At the beginning of his administration, President Obama pledged “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Experts from the Arms Control Association say the summits have been “one of the administration’s most important achievement on foreign policy,” and I credit Obama that. However, we are a long way from the security that can only come from abolishing nuclear weapons. Must we wait for an accident or worse?

images-1Citizen action is essential to pressure President Obama and other leaders to completely prohibit these weapons. Voting for candidates who espouse this goal and will work to fulfill it is something everyone can do. People in this photo are demonstrating, a personal call to which they responded. Others contact legislators. To what picture of action are you called?

Paths to Peace

Someone kindly alerted me that the link to my Advent reflection, “Paths to Peace,” advent_grwas not working. In case others have had the misfortune of clicking it only to find nothing, I assure readers that you can now click Advent.2015. Paths to Peace and connect with this four-session resource.

Although the Scripture readings come from Advent liturgies, and the sessions refer to Advent, reflecting on peace is always current. Adapt these pages for use at any time, for we always need to deepen our sense of shalom within and in relation to others, to creation, and to divinity. “Paths to Peace” includes additional information for U.S. participants that relates to today’s weapons, especially nuclear ones.

Hiroshima atomic bomb damageU.S. taxpayers, according to the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 25-October 8, 2015), will have to pay “nearly $1 trillion over the next quarter century” for weapons like those on a Trident submarine, each with destructive force some 30 times greater than the destructive force of either of the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Do imagine that!

Rather than repeat the full description of “Paths to Peace” here, I suggest you click on my Advent page: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/advent.

Peace be with you — now, during Advent, and always!

August Commemoration

During August, 2015, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the only country ever hit by nuclear bombs. Megan Rice, SHCJ, (more information below) who has devoted her life to educating people about the dangers of nuclear weapons and uranium production, is the author of the following guest blog:

Reason for Anniversary

Nuclear bombs were dropped three days apart, August 6 and 9, 1945. The real mortality of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan will never be known. The destruction and overwhelming chaos made orderly counting impossible. It is not unlikely that the estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and Nagasaki (75,000) are overly conservative. Nor has anyone accurately counted the suffering, not just to people but to all species as well as to soil, air, and water.

Lasting damage, however, is implied in this note typed on a small, folded peace crane, 670px-Fold-a-Paper-Crane-Step-29-Version-7a gift of the Japanese people to U.S. citizens for this 70th anniversary:  “There is no excuse for nuclear weapons. Weapons of mass destruction can’t be necessary for world peace.”

Lasting Effects

As long as there is one remaining, un-dismantled thermonuclear weapon, none of us can be considered free: free from the need to “secure” it,  free to prevent any of us ever from considering its possible use; free from the need to test and the need to threaten life.

Nuclear weapons production demands a climate of secrecy, of profiteering for some, while ignoring and denying the truth about its consequences upon everyone: uncontrollable pollution, disease for the workers at every stage from mining to manufacture, storage, testing, to say nothing of the possibility of ever using one. Nuclear weapons threaten the moral psyche of all of humanity that is so intimately linked to each other in the grand Story of Sacred Creation and in the mind and heart of the Creating One.

Uranium and Indigenous Peoples

attourIn 2009 the European Commission found that approximately 70%  of uranium used in nuclear reactors is sourced from the homelands of indigenous minorities worldwide.  The Mirarr people of Australia believe that this constitutes an unfair impact  on indigenous people now and into the future. They suffer the dangers and long term impacts of the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle; many live without the awareness of the impacts that uranium mining has on the lives of others.

Those of us privileged to hear Corbin Harney (the late Spiritual Leader of the Western Shoshone Nation First People of the Land), speak at the Nuclear Test Site in the Nevada Desert heard a similar message. Their sacred lands were desecrated by detonating more than 1000 nuclear bombs during the 5 decades following 1945.  More than 30,000 more nuclear weapons continued to be produced, tested and stored or gradually dismantled (following the various nonproliferation treaties since 1970).

The damage of the ‘fall out’ of these tests in terms of pollution of the sacred resources nts2of air, land, and water cannot be measured.  Impacts have caused incalculable kinds of fatal diseases  among humans (such as cancers), plants, and animals residing in the thousands of square acres which surround the Nuclear Test Site. Damage extends beyond this area and can last for generations.

Financial Cost

A Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ analysis estimates that the financial cost over the last seventy years for the nuclear industrial complex alone is approximately 10 trillion dollars.

Future

Question:  How can we transform this industry into truly life-enhancing alternative projects that sustain the fullness of life for all? Please add your suggestions to Comments.

imagesMegan Rice, anti-nuclear activist, is my SHCJ sister. She focused global attention on the multiple evils of uranium production (and the lax security of the U.S. facilities) when in July, 2012 she, Michael R. Walli, and Gregory I. Boertje-Obed conducted a peaceful protest at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, TN, facility. She was released from prison in May, 2015.