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Nuclear disarmament is critical for the future of the planet

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It is undeniable now that the planet is entering very dangerous waters. More and more political and social observers are saying that their research is pointing to the beginning of a cycle of civil unrest, civil war, revolution and international war – even thermonuclear war.

Combine with that the environmental perils that the planet is facing, particularly with the poisoning of the oceans from oil and other spills and the spread of radioactive contamination from sources like the leaky Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan to the ongoing crisis at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

But back to the issue of war – thermonuclear war. It’s a very alarming prospect. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, led by atmospheric scientist Michael Mills, notes that a “small” nuclear war could “trigger global cooling, damage the ozone layer and cause droughts for more than a decade.” Sounds like the “nuclear winter” of my childhood.

And as I write this, I see an unsettling headline: “Koreas trade fire; island residents in shelters.” Seems that both North and South Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters today.

“Monday’s exchange was relatively mild in the history of animosity and violence between the Koreas, but there is worry in Seoul that an increasingly dissatisfied North Korea could repeat the near-daily barrage of war rhetoric it carried out last spring, when tensions soared as Pyongyang threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul in response to condemnation of its third nuclear test.”

The story goes on to say that the North may “conduct a fourth nuclear test and launch other provocations.”

Peter Weiss, with Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, wrote earlier this month a piece headlined “Nuclear disarmament, the state of play.”

“If psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, the current status of nuclear disarmament can best be described as psychotic,” Weiss writes in The Huffington Post. “On the one hand, the nuclear issue is beginning to creep out from under the rug where it has lain dormant for several decades. On the other hand, the commitment of the nuclear weapons-free world is honored more in the breach than in the observance.”

There seem to be renewed efforts to work towards nuclear disarmament. The New Zealand Herald reported on March 10, 2014 that “Australia’s newly-elected Abbott government applied secret diplomatic pressure to undermine a New Zealand push towards nuclear disarmament last year,” according to declassified documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The New Zealand campaign, which failed due to Australia’s interference, sought to “apply a similar international prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons as already exists for chemical and biological weapons.”

The primary reason for Australia’s position was that they didn’t want to threaten their relationship with the U.S. So, as long as nuclear weapons exist, Australia relies on “U.S. nuclear forces to deter attack on Australia.”

I say all this in order to highlight something – the need for a movement, a political party, something, where the people demand full, wide scale disarmament of nuclear weapons and the shuttering of nuclear power plants. I wrote about this recently in my piece "The growing call for a global ban on nuclear weapons."  

After all, nuclear stuff ends up in nuclear weapons. It's dangerous, deadly, toxic, carcinogenic and hard to get rid of. It's prone to being accidentally released into the environment, via the nuclear waste it produces, as we have seen at the damaged WIPP plant in New Mexico. Or simply from nuclear accidents. It happens more often than we realize. And we know no one wants it in their backyard and it's not right for us to leave it for future generations to deal with.

Because as you can all see, the planet is heading towards the precipice - rapidly. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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