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New documentary film ‘Downwind’ explores why testing, using nuclear weapons are deadly mistakes

St George News, by Stephanie DeGraw, January 25, 2023

PARK CITY — The tragedies of nuclear testing are not over, advocates and directors with the world premiere of the film “Downwind” told the audience at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City Monday evening.

“Subsequent generations may suffer more than the original exposed generation,” Dr. Brian Moench, founder and president of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said. “The faces behind the statistics we’ve heard are real human beings, but there will be more who you don’t see because they haven’t been born yet.”

The Slamdance Spotlight documentary film is still relevant today, locally and globally. The film exposes an often-forgotten chapter of U.S. history and the ongoing health consequences for Americans living downwind.

Some 928 nuclear detonations took place from 1951 to 1992 near Las Vegas, Nevada. These included the 100 atmospheric tests residents of Southern Utah could watch. Research shows St. George has above-average rates of radioactivity compared with the nationwide average.

The West Shoshone is also profoundly affected by the government’s testing. Ian Zabarte, principal man of the West Bands of the Shoshone Nation, said their sacred land continues to be cordoned off as a nuclear test site.

For 40 years, large-scale atomic weapons obliterated the landscape. It exposed people, the environment, livestock and agriculture across the country to deadly fallout. Zabarte said despite a moratorium on testing, the Nevada Test Site remains operational with the possibility of resumed testing. 

“The film ‘Downwind’ is important because it provides us with an understanding of the past,” Zabarte said. “Awareness is key. If we’re going to protect future generations, we need to know what happened in the past and not repeat those mistakes.

“Testing, developing and using nuclear weapons is a mistake. America is the only nation that’s ever killed people with nuclear weapons.”

Zabarte said that atomic weapons are illegal under the new international law, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was enacted on Jan. 22, 2021. 

“We can protect our environment, our Mother Earth, by ending our obsession with nuclear weapons of mass destruction,” Zabarte said. “We can join the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,.”………………………………………………………………………….. more


January 25, 2023 - Posted by | health, media, USA, weapons and war

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