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World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural

 https://worldbeyondwar.org/world-beyond-war-volunteers-to-reproduce-offensive-peace-mural/By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The cost of Ukraine’s de-Russification

 the burgeoning de-Russification in Ukraine is one of the issues that needs a cool-headed examination. The process of removing Russian cultural and linguistic influence from the country is not an easy — or necessarily equitable — thing to do, when around a quarter of Ukrainians still identify as Russian speakers.

The country’s insistence on its right to exist as separate from Russia is understandable, but expunging Russian cultural and linguistic influence risks future trouble.

Politico. BY JAMIE DETTMER, AUGUST 29, 2022

Wars transform nations and people — leaving them, whether victorious or vanquished, “all changed, changed utterly,” as Irish writer W.B. Yeats noted.

Yeats was writing about the armed insurrection against British rule in Ireland during April 1916. The uprising had lasted just six days, but Ireland would never be the same.

Ukraine’s ongoing epic defense of its national identity, territorial integrity and sovereignty has already lasted six months, and there is no end in sight. It has left widespread devastation, with towns and buildings wrecked, families traumatized and uprooted, livelihoods upended and lives lost and mourned.

But there’s another transformation underway — and it’s in Ukrainian hearts.

Being told endlessly that they don’t exist has led to the understandable Ukrainian reaction of insisting on their existence, and their right to exist as separate from Russia. This is leading them to try and expunge Russian cultural and linguistic influence on their country. But how they do so, and to what degree, is fraught with future danger.

In a March 2014 speech marking the annexation of Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared that Russians and Ukrainians “are one people. Kiev is the mother of Russian cities. Ancient Rus’ is our common source and we cannot live without each other.”

But, although the two nations are ensnared by history, the full-scale war he launched in February has only demonstrated the opposite, and has made it much more difficult for them to live with each other.

Indeed, for a nation that Putin has argued doesn’t exist, Ukraine has been kicking up a storm, and is now taking the fight well behind military frontlines, brazenly crossing the border into Russia and occupied Crimea, disrupting Russian supply lines and logistics, leaving the Kremlin to fall back on preposterous lies to explain explosions witnessed by vacationing Russians…………………

Ukrainians’ firmer sense of nationhood and identity, fueled by fury at what is befalling them, risks becoming less inclusive and more Russian-hating. How could it be otherwise?

…………….  the burgeoning de-Russification in Ukraine is one of the issues that needs a cool-headed examination. The process of removing Russian cultural and linguistic influence from the country is not an easy — or necessarily equitable — thing to do, when around a quarter of Ukrainians still identify as Russian speakers.

……………………………… In January, Human Rights Watch also raised concerns about the lack of protections for Russian speakers in a new state language law that entered into force this year. The law requires print media outlets registered in Ukraine to publish only in the Ukrainian language, or to provide an accompanying Ukrainian version, or equivalent in content, volume and method of print, when publishing in another language. But while exceptions were made for other minority languages, such as English and official European Union languages, there were none provided for Russian.

………………….. in June, the Ukrainian parliament passed a set of new laws banning the distribution of Russian books printed overseas, and the playing or performance of Russian music by post-Soviet era artists, further seeking to distance the country from Russian culture.

But through the often tragic twists and turns of Ukraine’s tangled history, and the cultural imperialism of Russian czars and communist autocrats, Ukrainian and Russian culture are inextricably linked and have contributed to each other’s shaping — for good or ill.

…………………. there are risks in rejecting all things Russian……………..

In his independence day speech this week, Zelenskyy vowed Kyiv’s forces will retake Russian-occupied Crimea. But if that day comes, how will Kyiv approach de-Russification? Will it still insist on the use of the Ukrainian language in most aspects of public life on a peninsula where 65 percent of the population are ethnic Russian?

As Ukraine goes about trying to win this war, it also needs to think about how it will win the peace.  https://www.politico.eu/article/the-cost-of-ukraines-de-russification/

August 28, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, politics, social effects, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Hiroshima man’s anime sheds light on Fukushima nuclear project

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN 27 May 22, Hiroshima resident Hidenobu Fukumoto was astonished when he learned there was once a plan to build a nuclear power plant in his hometown, the first city devastated by a nuclear bomb.

He discovered the shocking news by chance while visiting Fukushima Prefecture, which suffered its own nuclear disaster in 2011, as a “kamishibai” picture card show artist.

“I was stunned,” said Fukumoto, who has produced about 170 kamishibai titles based on the accounts of residents affected by the disaster. “I decided to face up to the new fact about Hiroshima I discovered during my visits to Fukushima.”Hiroshima resident Hidenobu Fukumoto was astonished when he learned there was once a plan to build a nuclear power plant in his hometown, the first city devastated by a nuclear bomb.

He discovered the shocking news by chance while visiting Fukushima Prefecture, which suffered its own nuclear disaster in 2011, as a “kamishibai” picture card show artist.

“I was stunned,” said Fukumoto, who has produced about 170 kamishibai titles based on the accounts of residents affected by the disaster. “I decided to face up to the new fact about Hiroshima I discovered during my visits to Fukushima.”

The anime, titled “Fukushima Genpatsu Hajimari Monogatari: Toge” (The prologue to the Fukushima nuclear power plant: Mountain pass), portrays a man in his 60s who was born in 1949 in Okuma, a town in Fukushima Prefecture that co-hosts the now-stricken plant.

When Japan’s economy begins booming following the period of postwar poverty, the protagonist enters a university in Tokyo and enjoys his college life.

The story illustrates the major events leading up to the construction of the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture at a time when people in Japan were suddenly blessed with material wealth.

The anime, titled “Fukushima Genpatsu Hajimari Monogatari: Toge” (The prologue to the Fukushima nuclear power plant: Mountain pass), portrays a man in his 60s who was born in 1949 in Okuma, a town in Fukushima Prefecture that co-hosts the now-stricken plant.

When Japan’s economy begins booming following the period of postwar poverty, the protagonist enters a university in Tokyo and enjoys his college life.

The story illustrates the major events leading up to the construction of the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture at a time when people in Japan were suddenly blessed with material wealth.

Another scene shows young people in Fukushima leaving their hometown to seek jobs, while long-term residents are split over whether the prefecture should host a nuclear plant.

When the protagonist eventually returns home in Okuma and sees a massive nuclear plant standing in the town, he is left speechless.

The anime then fast-forwards to 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the triple meltdown at the plant.

“The move to promote atomic power prevailed globally under the pretext of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, overshadowing even the destruction of Hiroshima brought on by the atomic bomb,” the protagonist said while living as an evacuee at the end of the story. “Ordinary people like us could do nothing about it.”………………………………………….

STORY HITS HOME

Fukumoto’s kamishibai project has struck a chord with many Fukushima residents who experienced the nuclear disaster…………………………………

Kinue Ishii, 70, who also performs kamishibai with Oka as a member of a storytelling group, said people can think deeply about the nuclear accident by learning why the nuclear plant was built in Fukushima.

“I want people to imagine themselves becoming victims of a nuclear accident by watching this anime,” Ishii said.

Hisai Yashima, 56, another member of the storytelling group, said she hopes the anime will help raise awareness of what led to the construction of the nuclear plant because people from outside Fukushima often ask her why the prefecture approved the plan.

The package of an anime DVD and a 16-page, A4-size picture book costs 2,000 yen ($16). For more details, visit the production committee’s website: https://matimonogatari.iinaa.net) (Japanese only).

(This article was compiled from reports by Miki Morimoto and Yusuke Noda.)  https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14604129

May 28, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, Japan, media | Leave a comment

Forgetting the apocalypse: why our nuclear fears faded – and why that’s dangerous

The horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made the whole world afraid of the atomic bomb – even those who might launch one. Today that fear has mostly passed out of living memory, and with it we may have lost a crucial safeguard, 

Guardian, by Daniel Immerwahr 13 May, 22”………………….   what had happened in Hiroshima, and three days later in Nagasaki, could happen anywhere.

The thought proved impossible to shake, especially as, within the year, on-the-ground accounts emerged. Reports came of flesh bubbling, of melted eyes, of a terrifying sickness afflicting even those who’d avoided the blast. “All the scientists are frightened – frightened for their lives,” a Nobel-winning chemist confessed in 1946. Despite scientists’ hopes that the weapons would be retired, in the coming decades they proliferated, with nuclear states testing ever-more-powerful devices on Pacific atolls, the Algerian desert and the Kazakh steppe.

The fear – the pervasive, enduring fear – that characterised the cold war is hard to appreciate today. It wasn’t only powerless city-dwellers who were terrified (“select and fortify a room in which to shelter”, the UK government grimly advised). Leaders themselves were shaken. It was “insane”, US president John F Kennedy felt, that “two men, sitting on the opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to bring an end to civilisation”. Yet everyone knowingly lived with that insanity for decades…………..

……….  The memory of nuclear war, once vivid, is quietly vanishing. ……..

Except that the threat of nuclear war, as Vladimir Putin is reminding the world, has not gone away. 

……….. Yet many of Putin’s adversaries seem either unconvinced or, worse, unbothered by his threats. Boris Johnson has flatly dismissed the idea that Russia may use a nuclear weapon. Three former Nato supreme allied commanders have proposed a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This would almost certainly entail direct military conflict between Nato and Russia, and possibly trigger the world’s first all-out war between nuclear states. Still, social media boils over with calls to action, and a poll found that more than a third of US respondents wanted their military to intervene “even if it risks a nuclear conflict”.

Nuclear norms are fraying elsewhere, too. Nine countries collectively hold some 10,000 warheads, and six of those countries are increasing their inventories. Current and recent leaders such as Kim Jong-un, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump have, like Putin, spoken brazenly of firing their weapons……………..

Leaders have talked tough before. But now their talk seems less tethered to reality. This is the first decade when not a single head of a nuclear state can remember Hiroshima.

Does that matter? We’ve seen in other contexts what happens when our experience of a risk attenuates. In rich countries, the waning memory of preventable diseases has fed the anti-vaccination movement. “People have become complacent,” notes epidemiologist Peter Salk, whose father, Jonas Salk, invented the polio vaccine. Not having lived through a polio epidemic, parents are rejecting vaccines to the point where measles and whooping cough are coming back and many have needlessly died of Covid-19.

That is the danger with nuclear war. Using declassified documents, historians now understand how close we came, multiple times, to seeing the missiles fired. In those heartstopping moments, a visceral understanding of what nuclear war entailed helped keep the launch keys from turning. It’s precisely that visceral understanding that’s missing today. We’re entering an age with nuclear weapons but no nuclear memory. Without fanfare, without even noticing, we may have lost a guardrail keeping us from catastrophe.

……………….The US occupation authorities in Japan had censored details of the bomb’s aftermath. But, without consulting the censors, the American writer John Hersey published in the New Yorker one of the most important long-form works of journalism ever written, a graphic account of the bombing. Born to missionaries in China, Hersey was unusually sympathetic to Asian perspectives. His Hiroshima article rejected the bomber’s-eye view and instead told the stories of six survivors.

For many readers, this was the first time they registered that Hiroshima wasn’t a “Japanese army base”, as US president Harry Truman had described it when announcing the bombing, but a city of civilians – doctors, seamstresses, factory workers – who had watched loved ones die. Nor did they die cleanly, vaporised in the puff of a mushroom cloud. Hersey profiled a Methodist pastor, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who raced to the aid of his ailing but very much still-living neighbours. As Tanimoto grasped one woman, “her skin slipped off in huge, glove-pieces”. Tanimoto “was so sickened by this that he had to sit down for a minute”, wrote Hersey. “He had to keep consciously repeating to himself, ‘These are human beings.’”

Hersey’s contemporaries understood the significance of these accounts. The New Yorker dedicated its full issue to Hersey’s article, and within an hour sold out its entire newsstand print run of 300,000 (plus another 200,000 copies to subscribers). Knopf published it as a book, which eventually sold millions. The text was reprinted in newspapers from France to China, the Netherlands to Bolivia. The massive ABC radio network broadcast Hersey’s text – with no commercials, music or sound effects – over four consecutive evenings. “No other publication in the American 20th century,” the journalism historian Kathy Roberts Forde has written, “was so widely circulated, republished, discussed, and venerated.”

Tanimoto, boosted to celebrity by Hersey’s reporting, made speaking tours of the US. By the end of 1949, he had visited 256 cities. Like Einstein, he pleaded for world government.

Rising tensions between Washington and Moscow erased the possibility of global government. Still, they didn’t change the fact: across the west, leading thinkers felt nuclear weapons to be so dangerous that they required, in Churchill’s words, remoulding “the relationships of all men of all nations” so that “international bodies by supreme authority may give peace on earth and justice among men”.

………………………………………   Maybe one could dismiss the fallout shelters as theatre and the films as fiction. But then there were the bomb tests – great belches of radioactivity that previewed the otherworldly dangers of nuclear weapons. By 1980, the nuclear powers had run 528 atmospheric tests, raising mushroom clouds everywhere from the Pacific atoll of Kiritimati to the Chinese desert. A widely publicised 1961 study of 61,000 baby teeth collected in St Louis showed that children born after the first hydrogen bombs were tested had markedly higher levels of the carcinogen strontium-90, a byproduct of the tests, despite being some 1,500km away from the closest test site.

Unsurprisingly, nuclear tests stoked resistance. In 1954, a detonation by the US at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific got out of hand, irradiating the inhabited atoll of Rongelap and an unfortunate Japanese tuna fishing boat. When the boat’s sickened crew returned to Japan, pandemonium erupted. Petitions describing Japan as “thrice victimised by nuclear bombs” and calling for a ban collected tens of millions of signatures. Ishiro Honda, a film director who’d seen the Hiroshima damage firsthand, made a wildly popular film about a monster, Gojira, awakened by the nuclear testing. Emitting “high levels of H-bomb radiation”, Gojira attacks a fishing boat and then breathes fire on a Japanese city.

…………………..  Hiroshima occupied a similar place in public memory to Auschwitz, the other avatar of the unspeakable. The resemblance ran deep. Both terms identified specific events within the broader violence of the second world war – highlighting the Jews among Hitler’s victims, and the atomic bomb victims among the many Japanese who were bombed – and marked them as morally distinct. Both Hiroshima and Auschwitz had been the site of “holocausts” (indeed, early writers more often used that term to describe atomic war than European genocide). And both Hiroshima and Auschwitz sent forth a new type of personage: the “survivor”, a hallowed individual who had borne witness to a historically unique horror. What Elie Wiesel did to raise the stature of Europe’s survivors, Tanimoto did for Japan’s. In their hands, Hiroshima and Auschwitz shared a message: never forgetnever again

.…………The whole idea is to kill the bastards,” said US general Thomas Power, when presented in 1960 with a nuclear plan designed to minimise casualties. “Look. At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win.” This is the man who led the US Strategic Air Command – responsible for its nuclear bombs and missiles – during the Cuban missile crisis.

Generals like Power, tasked with winning wars, pressed often for pre-emptive strikes……………………..

Today, knowledge of the Holocaust is kept alive by more than 100 museums and memorials, including in such unexpected countries as Cuba, Indonesia and Taiwan. But there is no comparable memory industry outside of Japan to remind people of nuclear war.

The result is a profound generational split, evident in nearly every family in a nuclear state……………

 the dispelling of dread has made it hard for many to take nuclear war seriously…………

With nuclear threats far from mind, voters seem more tolerant of reckless politicians. ……..

Nor is it only Trump. The nine nuclear states have had an impressive string of norm-breakers among their recent leaders, including Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Kim Jong-un and Benjamin Netanyahu. With such erratic men talking wildly and tearing up rulebooks, it’s plausible that one of them might be provoked to break the ultimate norm: don’t start a nuclear war.

………… how guided are leaders by such fears? In the past 20 years, the US has pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and two of the three main treaties restraining its arms race with Russia (the third is in bad shape). Meanwhile, China has been developing aggressive new weapons……… India’s its prime minister, Modi, declared. India has the “mother of nuclear bombs” ……

The cost of the shredded norms and torn-up treaties may be paid in Ukraine. Russia invested heavily in its nuclear arsenal after the cold war; it now has the world’s largest. The worse the war in Ukraine goes, the more Putin might be tempted to reach for a tactical nuclear weapon to signal his resolve.

………………  we can’t drive nuclear war to extinction by ignoring it. Instead, we must dismantle arsenals, strengthen treaties and reinforce antinuclear norms. Right now, we’re doing the opposite. And we’re doing it just at the time when those who have most effectively testified to nuclear war’s horrors – the survivors – are entering their 90s. Our nuclear consciousness is badly atrophied. We’re left with a world full of nuclear weapons but emptying of people who understand their consequences.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/12/forgetting-the-apocalypse-why-our-nuclear-fears-faded-and-why-thats-dangerous

May 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, psychology - mental health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Militarism in the USA on the rise, with the Ukraine war

The U.S. public largely endorses these policies, with a majority approving of or wishing to increase weaponry shipments. (Further, a remarkable 35 percent favor direct military action — “even if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia,”

Antiwar Groups Protest Defense Industry Profiteering in Ukraine, Tyler WalicekTruthout, 3 May 22, The war of aggression that Russia has perpetrated in Ukraine has rightly generated widespread condemnation, both among Russia’s Western critics and the world at large. On the war’s obvious heinousness, almost all of the U.S. political spectrum is in agreement. However, opinions as to the appropriate Western response proceed from vastly different premises.

The predominant left position is, on the whole, resolutely antiwar. U.S. activists of all stripes have been rolling out ambitious organizing efforts in the hopes of nudging the conflict towards diplomacy and an eventual ceasefire. Given the considerable death toll and the millions of refugees the war has produced — to say nothing of the threat of conventional or nuclear escalation — the matter is an urgent one.

In the process of organizing opposition, there has, of course, been much in the way of internal debate among various left factions. More contentious dimensions include the question of arming Ukrainians, the comparative moral weighting of nonviolence and self-defense, and the degree of culpability that should be attributed to NATO for its demonstrable role in decades of ratcheting tensions.

Whatever their perspective on the circumstances, organizers from left-liberals to communists are calling upon the means of protest at their disposal, from media initiatives to global rallies to demonstrations at the thresholds of the military-industrial complex. To mount an effective confrontation with the U.S. empire and defense industry and influence a far-flung conflict is a daunting prospect. Yet despite the historic scale of the challenge, coalitions of antiwar activists are striving to realize their vision of the end of imperial aggression — perpetrated by Russia and the U.S. alike.

Defaulting to Militarism

Antiwar organizers generally share a conviction that diplomacy should take precedence in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The vast majority are vehemently opposed to any form of active U.S. military intervention — a prudent stance for those who wish to avoid a hot war with a nuclear power. Unsurprisingly, the same cannot be said for the U.S. political establishment, which has seized upon the opportunity to vilify Russia, seemingly eager to court a clash between the two deteriorating superpowers. Right-wing war fervor, always simmering below the surface, has boiled over; Republican jingoists (and a number of foolhardy op-eds in major mediaespoused everything from a no-fly zone to refusing to rule out the deployment of U.S. ground troops.

These lawmakers’ martial fantasies are more than a little cavalier about the potential for Great Power conflict. Comparatively less reckless centrists, for their part, mostly favor a two-pronged approach: the imposition of devastating punitive sanctions on Russia and the delivery of vast amounts of weaponry to Ukrainian forces — stopping short of outright U.S. military intervention.

Democrats have leaped to snipe at the right by demonstrating who can demand the larger flood of weaponry, while leveraging the conflict for all manner of political purposes. By any measure, it has been a field day for fawning, ham-fisted propagandists like noted stenographer Bret Stephens. (“The U.S. stands up to bullies!”) Both parties are unequivocal in their shared support for an overflowing bounty of war materiel and other assistance. As of this writing, the White House is requesting a stunning $33 billion for Ukraine. The number keeps climbing.

The U.S. public largely endorses these policies, with a majority approving of or wishing to increase weaponry shipments. (Further, a remarkable 35 percent favor direct military action — “even if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia,” speaking poorly of their aptitude in risk assessment.) NATO has held out against calls to impose a no-fly zone; at least the military alliance sees the wisdom in avoiding a shooting war with Russian forces.

The shooting will instead be done by Ukrainian hands with plentiful Western arms — very much to the benefit of the U.S. defense industry. It is no coincidence that we see such an eagerness to fortify Ukraine among the government and media. Not only is the state keen to see Russia battered and chastened, but conflict and arms deals, as ever, mean profit.

Antiwar activists perceive the inundation of Ukraine with armaments as yet another round of war profiteering — one that risks precluding diplomatic solutions. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy petitions the world to arm Ukraine and intervene militarily, antiwar groups, in contrast, have spoken out in strident opposition to the staggering influx of Western arms, as well as the Cold-War style bellicosity that U.S. power has again taken up with gusto.

Antiwar Coalitions in Action

In the meantime, large-scale real-world protests against the war have erupted on numerous fronts — both within Russia and Ukraine and across the globe. Progressive, pacifist and anti-imperialist groups in the U.S. are no exception, having mobilized their considerable institutional resources to voice their own opposition. Given the unlikelihood of influencing the actions of the Russian government, they’ve targeted the realm in which they are mostly likely to have an impact — namely, U.S. policy. Because of its deep entanglements in the war, the U.S. response could easily be a critical determining factor on the outcome: either negotiation, drawdown and eventual peace, or escalation and sustained bloodshed………………….. https://truthout.org/articles/antiwar-groups-protest-defense-industry-profiteering-in-ukraine/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=77e07376-4f26-4746-9b6e-12d42fb0f129

May 7, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear future and the dread factor

The nuclear future and the dread factor, Cape Cod Times,  Brent Harold, Columnist 31 Jan 22, ”…………………  The struggle over the nuclear future is still on. The movement to overcome public dread and get nuclear back on track is hot in the U.S, fueled by the idea that only nuclear power will slow climate change and the self-fulfilling prophecy that even a concerted commitment to solar, wind and water will never get the job done.

(The nuclear power optimists who dismiss those they see as irrationally fearful of nuclear technology are themselves irrational pessimists when it comes to the less fear-inspiring technologies of solar, wind, hydro and — often overlooked — conservation.)

Whether nuclear power ends up playing a large role in the energy future depends on how we as a society end up answering the questions: What should be the role, if any, of human feelings about this or any technology? Should we overcome and suppress fear of nukes and let technology decisions be decided by the for-profit industry?  Perhaps turn the decision over to AI?

Or, should we, on the contrary, listen to and respect that fear? Should we in fact insist that judgments about this and any technology be based at least in part on the feelings — instinctual, commonsensical — of the vulnerable creatures we are?   https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/opinion/2022/01/31/criticism-over-proposal-dump-radioactive-water-into-cape-cod-bay/9240645002/

February 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Horrors of Hiroshima, a reminder nuclear weapons remain global threat

UN News,    15 January 2022, Peace and Security, Despite the annihilation of two major Japanese cities in 1945, atomic bombs have not been relegated to the pages of history books, but continue to be developed today – with increasingly more power to destroy than they had when unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki back in 1945.
 Those first nuclear weapons deployed by the United States, indiscriminately killed tens of thousands of non-combatants but also left indelible scars for the immediate survivors, that they, their children and grandchildren still carry today.

“The Red Cross hospital was full of dead bodies. The death of a human is a solemn and sad thing, but I didn’t have the time to think about it because I had to collect their bones and dispose of their bodies”, a then 25-year-old woman said in a recorded testimony, 1.5 km from Hiroshima’s ground zero.

“This was truly a living hell, I thought, and the cruel sights still stay in my mind”

To highlight the tireless work of the survivors, known in Japanese as the hibakusha, the UN’s Office for Disarmament Affairs, created an exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York which has just come to a close, entitled: Three Quarters of a Century After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Hibakusha—Brave Survivors Working for a Nuclear-Free World.

It vividly brings to life the devastation and havoc wreaked by those first atomic bombs (A-bombs), and their successor weapons, the more powerful hydrogen bombs (H-bombs) which began testing in the 1950s

Quest to save humanity

In the aftermath of the bombings in Japan, the hibakusha, conducted intense investigations with the aim of preventing history from repeating itself.

With an average age of 83 today, the dwindling band continue to share their stories and findings with supporters at home and abroad, “to sav[ing] humanity…through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they say, in the booklet No More Hibakusha -Message to the World, which accompanies the exhibit.

Recounting the day in Hiroshima that 11 members of her family slept together in an air raid shelter, a then 19-year-old woman spoke of how three small children died during the night, while calling for water.

“The next morning, we carried their bodies out of the shelter, but their faces were so swollen and black that we couldn’t tell them apart, so laid them out on the ground according to height and decided their identities according to their size”.

These brave survivors testify that peace cannot be achieved ever, through the use of nuclear weapons.

‘Absolute evil’

A group of elderly hibakusha, called Nihon Hidankyo, have dedicated their lives to achieving a non-proliferation treaty, which they hope will ultimately lead to a total ban on nuclear weapons.

“On an overcrowded train on the Hakushima line, I fainted for a while, holding in my arms my eldest daughter of one year and six months. I regained my senses at her cries and found no-one else was on the train”, a 34-year-old woman testifies in the booklet. She was located just two kilometres from the Hiroshima epicentre.

Fleeing to her relatives in Hesaka, at age 24 another woman remembers that “people, with the skin dangling down, were stumbling along. They fell down with a thud and died one after another”, adding, “still now I often have nightmares about this, and people say, ‘it’s neurosis’”.

One man who entered Hiroshima after the bomb recalled in the exhibition, “that dreadful scene – I cannot forget even after many decades”.

A woman who was 25 years-old at the time, said, “when I went outside, it was dark as night. Then it got brighter and brighter, and I could see burnt people crying and running about in utter confusion. It was hell…I found my neighbour trapped under a fallen concrete wall…Only half of his face was showing. He was burned alive”.Uniting for peace

The steadfast conviction of the Hidankyo remains: “Nuclear weapons are absolute evil that cannot coexist with humans. There is no choice but to abolish them”.

In August 1956, the survivors of the 1945 atomic bombs in Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki three days later, formed the “Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations”.

Encouraged by the movement to ban the atomic bomb that was triggered by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru disaster – when 23 men in a Japanese tuna fishing boat were contaminated by nuclear fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1954 – they have not wavered in their efforts to prevent others from becoming nuclear victims.

“We have reassured our will to save humanity from its crisis through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they declared at the formation meeting.

The spirit of the declaration, in which their own sufferings are linked to the task of preventing the hardship that they continue to carry, resonates still in the movement today…………………………………………….

The hibakusha became more and more vocal in the suffering that was inflicted upon them, hoping that it could help create a road map towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In oral testimonies, they shared their experiences both during and after the bombings and sent written messages to the NPT Review Conference in 2010 appealing to the world.

In July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which complements the NPT, was adopted and came into force last year on 22 January……………………

the UN is committed to ensuring their testimonies live on, as a warning to each new generation.

The Hibakusha are a living reminder that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat and that the only guarantee against their use is their total elimination”, Mr. Guterres stated. “This goal continues to be the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations, as it has been since the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946”.

While the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT, which had been scheduled for January, has been postponed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to urge world leaders to “draw on the spirit of the Hibakusha” by putting aside their differences and taking “bold steps towards achieving the collective goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons”. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/01/1109602

January 17, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, depleted uranium, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb?

Will Santa Fe “fold up,” democratically and spiritually, when this new “Manhattan” fully appears? Is the faith of that man of peace, St. Francis — the very name of this city — obsolete to political leaders in the city and the state?

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb?  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/can-santa-fe-survive-as-a-nuclear-weapons-suburb/article_b6ab8ce8-7556-11ec-b47a-57273af4ebbc.html, By Greg Mello, 16 Jan 22,

Many Santa Feans understand that Los Alamos National Laboratory, the most lavishly funded nuclear weapons facility in the world, has embarked on a new mission: making plutonium warhead cores (“pits”) on an industrial scale, to involve 4,000 full-time personnel and 24/7 operations.

It’s among the dirtiest and most dangerous missions in the nuclear weapons complex, not seen at LANL since the 1940s. It’s centered in an old facility built for research and development, now to be driven far beyond its original capacity.

LANL predicts it will spend $18 billion to start up production over this decade. In constant dollars, this is 15-fold what the Manhattan Project spent in New Mexico — indeed it dwarfs the cost of every other project in New Mexico history.

The pits will cost at least $50 million apiece, 200 times their weight in gold. A single LANL pit, assuming all goes well, will cost as much as the combined annual salaries of 1,000 New Mexico teachers, or the equipment for 5,000 residential solar systems. A major reason our society is failing is because it is kept on a war footing.

This huge program has nothing to do with national security, except in the negative sense. It is not needed to maintain any stockpile weapon. As military planners say, it’s (very) “early to need” and there are now perfectly sound, cheaper plans to do without LANL’s production should something go wrong. Why wait?

After extensive analysis under both the Obama and Trump administrations, the National Nuclear Security Administration in 2017 firmly rejected what is now LANL’s pit plan. The New Mexico delegation fought back, enlisting congressional hawks to help blackmail the Trump administration into building an unheard-of two pit factories. Up to now, a barely functioning Congress has gone along with the game. Time will tell just how long this scam holds up.

LANL’s pit production, for all its cost and danger, just isn’t enough to support any foreseeable U.S. stockpile. If LANL is a pit factory, there will be two.

What about Santa Fe, then?

On July 18, 1945, Harry Truman wrote in his diary, “Believe [Japan] will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland.”

Will Santa Fe “fold up,” democratically and spiritually, when this new “Manhattan” fully appears? Is the faith of that man of peace, St. Francis — the very name of this city — obsolete to political leaders in the city and the state?

What exactly would Santa Fe stand for or mean if nuclear weapons — the ultimate in human disposability — became its main tangible product? When our schools and community colleges direct our young people into LANL’s “pipeline” of plutonium minions? Or do you suppose their potential for creativity, compassion and wisdom could be better developed in other ways, as the region faces the towering crises of the 21st century?

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb? It certainly can, as a kind of nuclear “Pottersville” — a sprawling, increasingly ugly “city” with growing inequality, a vacuum where shared ideals should be, with no real urban center or shared human purposes, its most cherished traditions washed away by too much money given to too few people doing “work” society doesn’t need or want. It would be a city divided against itself to be sure, with plenty of poverty, human tragedy and crime.

Santa Fe could be a city that aims for justice and peace, where the obligation of respect binding us together is fostered, where the potential of every child is honored. Those political values are incompatible with manufacturing more nuclear weapons.

Greg Mello is executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, social effects, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sydney Poitier film ”The Bedford Incident” was based on true nuclear war near misses.


Sidney Poitier’s Most Frightening Role Was as the Conscience of Nuclear War 
 DEN OF GEEK, By Tony Sokol|January 11, 2022
The Bedford Incident is one of the most underrated nuclear nightmare movies, and one of Sidney Poitier’s least known classics………………..One of Poitier’s greatest roles is as a costar, not only taking second billing to Richard Widmark in The Bedford Incident (1965), but to the premise of the movie itself: World War III in the Atomic Age. It may sound like a sci-fi setup, but the science was not fiction.

Poitier, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1964 for Lilies of the Field, plays magazine reporter Ben Munceford in The Bedford Incident. The Cold War thriller isn’t as well-known as Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb or Sidney Lumet’s Fail-Safe, but it is as chilling as any apocalyptic vision ever put on screen.

The Bedford Incident was directed by James B. Harris, who had been Kubrick’s producer until he turned Peter George’s 1958 novel Red Alert into the over-the-top farce of Dr. Strangelove. Harris was terrified of a nuclear standoff, and saw Mark Rascovich’s 1963 book The Bedford Incident as a powerful celluloid deterrent……………..

Historical Close Calls with Nuclear War

Part of the reason The Bedford Incident so successfully plays into the terrors of global atomic warfare is because it is so meticulously crafted. It is not a fast-paced film. It is a realistic enactment told in a leisurely fashion so all the details can be put in their proper place, like the machinery of a submarine. This tinge of cinematic verité underscores what is so frightening about the movie. Complete global devastation can be triggered in the course of ordinary actions.

But the main reason The Bedford Incident is the stuff of recurring nuclear nightmares is because it is based on real incidents.

During the Cold War, U.S. Navy captains were trained to presume any Russian sub they encountered was equipped with nuclear torpedoes. A single Soviet nuclear ballistic submarine could carry over a dozen Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles armed with hydrogen bombs capable of destroying cities.  

In August 1957, the USS Gudgeon was monitoring Russia’s Pacific naval base, Vladivostok, when it triggered an alert on Soviet radio channels. Eight destroyers set out in pursuit. After the sub’s captain, Lt. Cmdr. Norman B. ”Buzz” Bessac, failed to lose the ships by ordering the sub to “go quiet,” the Gudgeon dived 200 feet beneath the surface, well under periscope depth. Russian destroyers dropped depth charges. The Gudgeon shot decoys from its garbage tube, and submerged past the 700-feet maximum depth the ship was designed for to escape sonar.

The hold-down lasted over 30 hours before the sub requested backup from U.S. 7th Fleet headquarters in Japan. When the Gudgeon finally surfaced, its torpedo tubes were at the ready. After accepting the nautical intrusion as a navigational miscalculation, the Soviet ships allowed the Gudgeon to sail.

The second incident happened at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In October 1962, U.S. Navy destroyers in the Atlantic Ocean pursued the Soviet submarine B-59, which was armed with a T-5 nuclear torpedo. When the sub failed to surface, the destroyers dropped depth charges. The submarine captain was set to launch the T-5 but flotilla commander Vasili Arkhipov overruled the decision, and the standoff was handled diplomatically. The U.S. didn’t learn the submarine had nuclear capability until after the fall of the Soviet Union…………………………………………………

The Bedford Incident, distributed by Columbia Pictures but filmed at Shepperton Studios in the U.K., was made without Navy cooperation. It reflected the changing attitudes toward the military. It was co-produced by Widmark, who infused his Capt. Finlander with elements of Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate voted most likely to start a nuclear war in the infamous “Daisy Girl” commercial. Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke (Eric Portman), a former Nazi U-boat commander onboard as a NATO attaché, says Finlander is “frightening.”…………………………………

In the pantheon of apocalyptic cinema, The Bedford Incident is highly regarded, but sadly underseen. It is more frightening than more epic doomsday films because it shows how realistically simple it could be to trigger armageddon. Poitier brings the universal appeal of unreasoning terror by playing the ineffective everyman. If he can’t stop the madness, none of us can.  https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/sidney-poitier-frightening-role-nuclear-war/

January 13, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, media, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greta Thunberg mocks world leaders’ words at Youth4Climate

The Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, used her speech at the Youth4Climate conference in Milan to mock the words of world leaders, including UK PM Boris Johnson. The 18-year-old used soundbites from Mr Johnson, such as “expensive bunny hugging” and “build back better”, to highlight what she called the “empty words and promises” of politicians.

Later in the speech, she urged people not to give up hope, saying that change is “not only possible, but urgently necessary”. Many countries have announced ambitious targets to reduce their emissions to tackle climate change.

Analysts say some recent announcements, such as China’s statement that it would not build any more coal plants overseas and the US, EU and others pledging to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030, are signs that progress is being made. But they caution that some major challenges remain.


The UK, for example, has pledged to cut 78% of its emissions by 2035, from a 1990 baseline. But the government’s current plans are projected to deliver less than a quarter of the cuts needed to meet the goal.

 BBC 28th Sept 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-58726531

September 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts | Leave a comment

North Korea, nuclear proliferation and why the ‘madman theory’ is wrong about Kim Jong-unç

North Korea, nuclear proliferation and why the ‘madman theory’ is wrong about Kim Jong-unç  https://theconversation.com/north-korea-nuclear-proliferation-and-why-the-madman-theory-is-wrong-about-kim-jong-un-167939, Colin Alexander, Lecturer in Political Communications, Nottingham Trent University 15 Sep 21,  The two missile tests conducted by North Korea in recent days have reopened discussions about the country, its leadership, its foreign policy, its perception around the world and the use (and usefulness) of nuclear weapons as an option within global politics.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency announced on September 12 that it had test-fired a new long-range cruise missile, believed by analysts to be the country’s first missile with the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.

Three days later the South Korean military said the North had launched “two unidentified ballistic missiles” into the Sea of Japan, prompting Japan’s outgoing prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, to order his country’s defence agencies to investigate.

North Korea usually makes grand nuclear statements like the ones we have seen in recent days during early September to mark the founding of the DPRK on September 9 1948. As such, these tests are as much about domestic propaganda and internal regime prestige as they are about threat to the outside world.

More broadly though, North Korea’s advance of its nuclear weapons technology – off and on since the 1950s – has made its integration with the rest of the international community much less likely. This is primarily on account of its development coming at considerable cost and sacrifice to the small nation.

No moral high ground

It can be argued that, given the indiscriminate barbarity of the destruction that a nuclear attack would cause, no state has a moral right to nuclear weapons over that of another state. But countries which already have a nuclear arsenal will often push the line that while it’s OK for them to have a nuclear stockpile, other countries do not necessarily have that right. These communications often rely on a manufactured sense of who is responsible and stable-minded and who is irresponsible and unstable. In short, it is an attempt to create a polarised world of good and evil.

This simplistic polarisation is encouraged through government communications regarding foreign policy. But they also depend on wider more implicit perception management strategies. These include harnessing the agendas of global mainstream news media and exporting popular culture products, films, television programmes and the like, that seek to encourage certain worldviews and to marginalise ones that are undesirable to the world’s most powerful nations.


It should always be remembered that the United States is the only state to have used nuclear weapons as an act of war (twice during 1945). Yet it declares North Korea to be a nuclear threat based on its “madness” (Donald Trump repeatedly called Kim Jong-un “mad”). But if we are to believe revelations from the upcoming book Peril by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, America’s top military personnel had to take action in the final months of the Trump administration to limit any risks of a nuclear showdown with China.

It’s probably true to say that few aspiring candidates for high office are going to say that they would never use their country’s nuclear capability in any circumstance. But it could also be said that any head of government who boasts of their readiness to use nuclear weapons is demonstrating their lack of fitness to govern. But, as the first part of this paragraph suggests, no candidate is likely to make this assertion.

Madman’ theory wrong

There is no evidence that the previous leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il, were assessed by psychologists and found to be suffering from mental ill health. This is also true of Kim Jong-un, the country’s current leader – in fact before Kim’s summit with Trump in 2018, a former State Department psychiatrist, Kenneth Dekleva, who creates psychological profiles of foreign leaders, told America’s National Public Radio that: “I think the madman theory was wrong.”

I would say he’s smart, that he’s a very, very savvy diplomat, a leader with a sense of gravitas. He wants to be a player on the world stage.

For Simon Cross, a colleague of mine at Nottingham Trent University, “madness” is an imprecise term and a cultural construct that does not require a trained medical professional to identify it, but it resonates with ease with audiences when uttered by someone they trust. Stephen Harper at the University of Portsmouth, says our perception of what represents “madness” is based on uncritical interpretations of the past and fantasies and inclinations within the human mind towards what he calls “self-haunting”. These tropes are perpetuated, confirmed and even encouraged at the persuasion of powerful individuals reinforced by mainstream media content.

So, for example, the Hollywood films Team America: World Police (2004) and The Interview (2014), despite being satires of North Korea’s leaders, promote this idea of the North Korean leader and his senior advisers as mad.  And Trump kept hammering at this with his regular references to Kim as a “madman”, as “crazy” and as a “little rocket man”.

North Korea’s prevailing international image of being mad is thus predominantly the creation of hostile external parties. But Pyongyang has also played up to it at times when it has been deemed useful – as the psychologist Dekleva said earlier in this article, it could be a useful tool of diplomacy. This is a theme explored by Niccolo Machiavelli in his book The Prince in 1517.

That said, what is perhaps most interesting is the extent to which recent US administrations and their allies appear to have come to believe the madness story – despite the fact that they are largely responsible for it. This has been the case with successive US administrations – but whether they genuinely believe it, or perpetuate it because it is convenient to their wider foreign policy ambitions to do so, remains to be seen.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | culture and arts, North Korea, politics, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Growing aggressive behaviour by nuclear proponents – is nuclear facing obsolescence?

Nuclear Engineering International 29th April 2021, Extract from Letter Andy Stirling, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex.

It is reasonable to give particular scrutiny both to the style and content of a commentary by Jeremy Gordon published on an article issued last year in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Energy. This is sadly especially so, because what we see as Jeremy Gordon’s aggressive tone and superficial arguments display behaviour that is sadly growing among nuclear proponents.

These are worrying signs of a wider malaise in current nuclear debates. It is a growing problem in nuclear advocacy that those holding contrasting informed and measured views – or who simply question the comparative merits of nuclear power – are so often smeared as ‘anti-nuclear’.

 It is hysterical to brand someone raising evidence of a problem with something, as being somehow intrinsically ‘anti’ that thing. Yet on nuclear, this is a norm. Even to raise questions about relative pros and cons of nuclear versus renewable based strategies is treated by Gordon as if inherently biased.

Gordon criticises us for not analysing coal, oil or gas. Our purpose is to examine associations between carbon emissions and the uptake of two families of technologies that are variously claimed as “zero carbon”: nuclear and renewables. We are ourselves clear in urging further more specific work addressing finer details and wider dimensions  

But it is not unreasonable that this pioneering study focuses specifically on technologies for which zero carbon
claims are actually made. Whatever ‘side’ one is on, it is striking that as the relative position of nuclear power deteriorates, the invective grows more intense. But perhaps all may agree (on any side), that spurious caricatures and personal attacks undermine themselves?

No technology is entitled to immunity either from criticism or obsolescence. Whether nuclear power faces this latter fate is unsure. But if (like many earlier technologies) its time has come, then this past quintessential icon of scientific prowess should not bring down with it the reasoned policy discourse that forms the lifeblood of democracy itself.  

https://www.neimagazine.com/opinion/opiniontowards-more-reasoned-debate-about-nuclear-and-renewables-8709792/

May 3, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Scientists must tell the truth on our consumerist, ecology-killing Ponzi culture

Scientists must not sugarcoat the overwhelming challenges ahead. Instead, they should tell it like it is. Anything else is at best misleading, and at worst potentially lethal for the human enterprise. 

Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp , The Conversation, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Matthew Flinders Professor of Global Ecology and Models Theme Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Flinders University.  Daniel T. Blumstein, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, Paul Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology, Bing Professor of Population Studies, January 13, 2021 

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

The research published today reviews more than 150 studies to produce a stark summary of the state of the natural world. We outline the likely future trends in biodiversity decline, mass extinction, climate disruption and planetary toxification. We clarify the gravity of the human predicament and provide a timely snapshot of the crises that must be addressed now.

The problems, all tied to human consumption and population growth, will almost certainly worsen over coming decades. The damage will be felt for centuries and threatens the survival of all species, including our own………

academics tend to specialise in one discipline, which means they’re in many cases unfamiliar with the complex system in which planetary-scale problems — and their potential solutions — exist.

What’s more, positive change can be impeded by governments rejecting or ignoring scientific advice, and ignorance of human behaviour by both technical experts and policymakers.

More broadly, the human optimism bias – thinking bad things are more likely to befall others than yourself – means many people underestimate the environmental crisis.

Numbers don’t lie

Our research also reviewed the current state of the global environment. While the problems are too numerous to cover in full here, they include:…………

A bad situation only getting worse

The human population has reached 7.8 billion – double what it was in 1970 – and is set to reach about 10 billion by 2050. More people equals more food insecurity, soil degradation, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss.

High population densities make pandemics more likely. They also drive overcrowding, unemployment, housing shortages and deteriorating infrastructure, and can spark conflicts leading to insurrections, terrorism, and war.

Essentially, humans have created an ecological Ponzi scheme. Consumption, as a percentage of Earth’s capacity to regenerate itself, has grown from 73% in 1960 to more than 170% today.

High-consuming countries like Australia, Canada and the US use multiple units of fossil-fuel energy to produce one energy unit of food. Energy consumption will therefore increase in the near future, especially as the global middle class grows.

Then there’s climate change.  Humanity has already exceeded global warming of 1°C this century, and will almost assuredly exceed 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052. Even if all nations party to the Paris Agreement ratify their commitments, warming would still reach between 2.6°C and 3.1°C by 2100.

The danger of political impotence

Our paper found global policymaking falls far short of addressing these existential threats. Securing Earth’s future requires prudent, long-term decisions. However this is impeded by short-term interests, and an economic system that concentrates wealth among a few individuals.

Right-wing populist leaders with anti-environment agendas are on the rise, and in many countries, environmental protest groups have been labelled “terrorists”. Environmentalism has become weaponised as a political ideology, rather than properly viewed as a universal mode of self-preservation.

Financed disinformation campaigns against climate action and forest protection, for example, protect short-term profits and claim meaningful environmental action is too costly – while ignoring the broader cost of not acting. By and large, it appears unlikely business investments will shift at sufficient scale to avoid environmental catastrophe.

Changing course

Fundamental change is required to avoid this ghastly future. Specifically, we and many others suggest:

  • abolishing the goal of perpetual economic growth………..

Don’t look away………

Scientists must not sugarcoat the overwhelming challenges ahead. Instead, they should tell it like it is. Anything else is at best misleading, and at worst potentially lethal for the human enterprise.   https://theconversation.com/worried-about-earths-future-well-the-outlook-is-worse-than-even-scientists-can-grasp-153091

January 14, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, culture and arts, environment | Leave a comment

Uranium Film Festival 2020 – a huge success under difficult circumstances

December 10, 2020 Posted by | culture and arts, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Britain, and other countries, got nuclear weapons for reasons of status and pride

October 27, 2020 Posted by | culture and arts, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment