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Why Environmentalists Need to Act to Prevent Nuclear War

Joe Wasserman

May 2024

The recent New York Times series entitled AT THE BRINK pointed out that the danger of a nuclear war is growing with more hostile confrontations between the nuclear armed states, the unraveling of arms control agreements, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the planet. The world has already come too close to nuclear war too many times and we must act on this life or death issue now. Back from the Brink is working to alert us all to the danger.

 

A recent study led by Lili Xia and Alan Robock of Rutgers University, examined the consequences of both limited and large scale nuclear war. The study pointed out that even a limited nuclear war, would result in catastrophic climate change impacting agriculture around the world. Global famine and unrest will likely follow. 

 

Our federal government needs to acknowledge that nuclear weapons do not make us safe, but are in fact the greatest threat to our safety and survival. H. Res. 77 addresses this by calling on the US to adopt the policy platform of the Back from the Brink campaign and begin negotiations with the other eight nuclear armed states for a verifiable time-bound plan to eliminate their arsenals and end the threat of nuclear war.

 

H. Res 77 also calls for 

  • Removing the option of using nuclear weapons first

  • Ending the president’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack

  • Taking the nuclear weapons of the United States off hair-trigger alert (Nuclear trigger alert leaves very little time to determine if there is a system error or an attack.)

  • Canceling the plan to replace the nuclear arsenal of the United States with modernized, enhanced weapons (Why are we modernizing our nuclear arsenal?)

 

This resolution also calls on the U.S. to embrace the goals and provisions of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons, a treaty advocating for a nuclear weapons-free world, that so far has been signed by 122 other nations.

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We are currently living in a very perilous time due to the increased tensions. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in January of this year, set their Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been.  Our survival depends on us reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons.  

 

There are too many flash points that can escalate into nuclear war. We should listen to the warnings of Robert Oppenheimer, Pope Frances, and U.N. Secretary General Guterres, that the world must wake up and understand the need to eliminate these doomsday weapons. 

 

Please call your congressperson and ask him or her to cosponsor H. Res. 77.  You can reach their offices through the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. [Find your representative.]  Please let us know that you made the call.

 

For further information or to get involved with Back from the Brink CT please contact Joe Wasserman at 860-561-1897 or joewass64@yahoo.com or go to Back from the Brink: Bringing Communities Together to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (www.preventnuclearwar.org).

Joe Wasserman is a Sierra Club member and community activist.

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